Frugal Hound Costs $930.35 Annually
Pets are costly and while the most frugal option is not to have a critter at all, Frugal Hound (a rescued retired racing greyhound) brings so much joy to our lives and is well worth the expense. Though we love her dearly, we see no reason to spend serious dough; we care for her in a frugal, compassionate way. We believe in preventative healthcare and no spending on pet frivolities… yet, she still costs almost a thousand bucks a year! Here’s how we keep pet costs down.
Select a dog breed with frugality in mind. We chose a greyhound because:
- They’re lazy and happy to snooze all day while you’re at work. They don’t require a lot of exercise and aren’t likely to tear your house apart while you’re away.
- Greyhounds are easily, easily entertained. She exhausts quickly and doesn’t require complex toys.
- Greyhounds have minimal grooming needs–they don’t shed much, rarely need baths, and don’t require haircuts. We trim her nails monthly (using a dremel and sanding drum), clean her ears and brush her fangs weekly, and bathe her every few months.
- Greyhounds have a sweet disposition and they don’t bark (I’m not making this up), which makes for happy neighbors! Frugal Hound makes a low “roo” noise when she’s excited, but she doesn’t yelp or emote loudly. It’s just not in her nature.
- Retired racing hounds need loving homes and aren’t expensive to adopt from rescue organizations.
Here’s the breakdown of Frugal Hound’s annual $930.35:
- Food: $50/month (aka $600/year).
- Frugal Hound gets grain-free kibble, which is more expensive but supposedly better for her. Most importantly, it doesn’t give her gas (and greyhounds can have some GAS, let me tell you).
- Toothpaste and toothbrush: $10/year.
- Train your pup to allow you to brush their teeth. It’s one the most cost-effective things you can do for your animal. If you don’t brush the fangsies, you’ll likely need to pay for professional dental cleanings and extractions later on.
- Here’s how we brush Frugal Hound’s teeth:
- Tools: two humans, doggie toothbrush and toothpaste, nitrile gloves, headlamp, lots of patience and love.
- Mr. Tikhvinskoe holds Frugal Hound’s mouth open while I, wearing headlamp and gloves, brush every fang. It’s equal parts hilarious, tragic, and difficult.
- For us, it’s easiest to do this while she’s laying down on her doggie bed. We usually put her head in my lap so she’s calm and relaxed (relatively).
- Whatever you do, do not get the “chicken flavor” dog toothpaste. It smells horrific. The “mint flavor” is vastly preferable.
- Doggie Shampoo: $15/year:
- Turns out, human shampoo doesn’t work well on dogs–poor Frugal Hound got some righteous dandruff.
- After that mistake, we purchased Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo
- Toys: $10/year.
- This is definitely an area to save. Dogs don’t need tons of expensive, fancy toys.
- Frugal Hound has a few toys, but she’s also happy playing with an old hand towel–she doesn’t know the difference between that and a $20 custom crafted critter. She carries the towel around in her mouth like she’s found a real prize! More often than not, she steps on it while trying to carry it and plays tug-of-war between her feet and mouth…Like I said, greyhounds are easily entertained.
- Treats: $10/year.
- She likes Trader Joe’s “chicken sticks for dogs,” which are super cheap and can be broken into tiny pieces.
- Vet checkup: $55/year.
- This falls under the preventative maintenance category. Who knows if this is worth it, but we try to be good hound parents and it’s a chance to ask the vet our yearly list of questions.
- Vaccinations: $77/year.
- City Dog License: $8/year.
- Frontline Plus Flea and Tick prevention medicine: $65/year.
- Preventative measure that’s worth it. We don’t give it to her in the winter,which reduces the cost.
- Heartworm prevention medication: $80.35/year.
- Another preventative step. We’re big on avoiding major future costs.
- It’s not about being as cheap as possible in the moment, it’s about spending wisely to avoid mega pitfalls down the road.
Here’s what we DON’T spend money on:
- A dog walker or doggie daycare:
- We picked a breed that has no problem staying home during the day while we’re at work. When we first adopted her, we set up a webcam to see how she does during the day and, I am not kidding you, she sleeps the entire 8 hours. I actually made Mr. Tikhvinskoe bike home from work in the middle of the day once to ensure she was OK–she was sleeping so soundly that she hadn’t moved in hours! She rolled over when he walked through the door.
- Boarding at a kennel:
- We swap dog-sitting with friends and other greyhound rescue folks. Finding a good community with your pet is important for this. We’re happy to watch our friends’ hounds and, in addition to it being free, we vastly prefer for Frugal Hound to stay at someone’s home than in a kennel where diseases can spread.
- See above for details on our in-home doggie spa techniques.
- Doggie outfits:
- Let’s just say her grandparents keep her well outfitted without us even asking… 🙂
She’s a luxury, but she’s darned hilarious.
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