Dog Owners – What’s Worth Splurging On and What’s Not?

cute dog in purse

Having a dog in the household is almost like caring for a small child—one that has unique needs, likes, and dislikes. It can be tempting to shower your four-legged friend with everything they want (or, everything you think they want) and more—but not all toys, treats, services and clothing are worth it.

Most new dog owners will probably recognize themselves in this scene: wandering through the aisles of a local pet store, grabbing up bones, special grooming instruments, a plush doggy bed bigger than their own, and a dog-sized tutu fit for a queen. It’s not until they reach the register that they realize they’ve forgotten the bare essentials, prompting a reevaluation of some of the more frivolous items in the cart.

Whether it’s your first time adopting a dog (hopefully through!) , or you’re just stuck on what to spend your money on, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s worth splurging on, and what’s not:

Worth it

Training classes. If you’re a first time dog owner, or you’ve just adopted a new puppy, it may be a good idea to invest in some formal training. Having a professional teach your pup basic commands can be an extremely valuable investment, and one that will last a lifetime.  Spending early on training could mean the difference between having a well-mannered dog or having one who requires re-training to break stubborn habits.

Dental care. Proper dental care is something many dog owners don’t initially consider when budgeting or preparing for their new pet, but it should be. Dental care and preventative maintenance may not be as glamorous as a doggy dress, but it can save you big time in the long run. If left untreated, dental issues can worsen, causing painful, costly, and even life-threatening problems down the road. The bottom line: if you’re going to splurge, and you want your pooch to live a long and happy life, then put your money where their mouth is.

Quality food. Though some argue that “food is food,” no matter the ingredients, we disagree. Choosing the right brand and type of food for your dog is extremely important, as not all kibble is created equal. It’s best to splurge on a brand of dog food that contains quality ingredients, provides adequate nutrition, and that is best suited for the age, health, and activity levels of your dog. You may find that these are not always the cheapest option on the shelf, but your pup will thank you for it for years to come. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on what diet is best for your pet.

Not worth it

Couture doggy wardrobe. We’ve all seen those adorable little pups in their fancy dresses and matching hair bows. The reality is that these elaborate outfits are often uncomfortable, a bother to get on and off, and expensive. Your pooch might look red carpet-worthy in her bright pink tutu and matching slippers, but it’s best to save your money in this department.

Over-the-top toys. It’s easy to be seduced by all of the squeaking, talking, sparkly, jumbo, light-up play things at the pet store, but we promise your pooch will be just as happy with the classic tennis ball, stick, or Frisbee. Dogs aren’t picky when it comes to toys; they just want to play! If money is a concern, it’s best to forgo all the bells and whistles, and stick with the basics. After all, quality time together is far more valuable than a quality ball—even if it does have your dog’s name embroidered in gold.

It’s worth noting that these guidelines are simply that—guidelines. Every dog owner has their own budget and financial situation, and these are not a measure of your love or devotion to your pet. Be honest about what you can afford, but if you want to splurge and spoil your dog, then we give you two paws up.