5 Paw-some Tips For New Pet Owners

Katsu is my English Labrador puppy.  He was born in April 2015 and finally made his way home a couple months later in June!

And the truth is, I’m a dog mom who loves spoiling this little big guy!  We all love our pets unconditionally!  And with that love…comes a price tag.  (Sorry, just stating the truth!)

Luckily, I’ve got 5 tips for you to help you through these costs!  I also want to share a great infographic which has some interesting facts about the amount of money people spend on their pets.

(Follow him on Instagram! @katsu_the_lab)

I mean…can you really say “no” to this face?!


Because labs are such a big dog breed, I was particularly concerned with Katsu out growing basically everything that puppies need AND eating through 20+ lb dog food bags quickly.  I’ve had big dogs my whole life (all lab mixes) and I know how quickly these cuties inhale their food!  Needless to say, I had to find some creative ways to try to manage his costs (and I got lucky, too!).

Here are 5 things that REALLY REALLY helped me:

  1. Borrow or buy a second hand crate and/or exercise pen for your puppy or check for sales
    My mom has a friend who also has a Labrador Retriever, and still had all of her puppy stuff!  She gave us her puppy crate and exercise pen because she’s not anticipating getting any other puppies or small dog breeds that can use them.  I was SOO thankful for this, because…Katsu could only use the crate for about 2 months before he completely outgrew it!!  (I also found a crazy deal at the pet store for his XL crate, at less than $50 on clearance!)
  2. Size up on a collar and leash
    Lucky, again!  My mom’s friend gave us her puppy sized harness and a thin, lightweight leash to start off with!  These were a little big when we first got them…buuut we only got a couple of uses out of it before he outgrew them.  I also picked up a medium and large sized 6 ft leash.  I knew that I would need to size up to the large leash quickly because big breed puppies gain about 10 lbs PER MONTH.  (That is NOT a typo!  We were at about 75-80 lbs at around 8 months)  Katsu started using his large 6 ft leash when we started obedience school at around 3.5 months old!
  3. Order repeat delivery for food
    Shop around online and look for reputable stores that have programs where you can automatically order the dog food of your choice and have it shipped to your house.  There are many sites that have promotional offers with these repeat order programs.  I’ve seen some that give you a dollar amount gift card when you first sign up, and others that reduce the cost per bag (either by % or dollar amount) for the duration of time that you continue to repeat your order automatically.
  4. Subscribe to pet subscription boxes for short periods of time
    I wanted to spoil my dog (lucky him!) and have always wanted to try subscription boxes!  I’ve tried both PupBox and BarkBox for 3 month periods.  The reason why I only signed up for 3 month periods is because, in my opinion, they send a lot of products and toys.  Katsu is playing with about 6 different toys and has a variety of 3 bags of snacks…and I’m honestly stocked for a few months!  (No joke…there are about 5 BRAND NEW toys, and around 5-7 UNOPENED snacks that I have in a closet just waiting to be used!)
  5. Look for free activities – hiking, the beach, walking
    In the end, what your spoiled puppy really wants is one-on-one time with you!  Go for a walk, hike, swim at the beach, hang out at the dog park, etc.!  We love going for walks in our neighborhood.  There are some hills involved, so we both get some good cardio 🙂


If you’re planning to get a pet in the near future (or am thinking about doing some other financial planning), the infographic below from Personal Capital shows a lot of great information about the amount of money people spend on their pets on average!  (Cats included!)

PC_economics_ofpets_v05 (1)

Personal Capital has some great financial tools to help plan for these paw-some life events!  The infographic also gives great insight into things that pet owners should expect and prepare for JUST IN CASE!  You never know when there might be an emergency!

There’s also has a nifty phone app to help you track your finances on the go.  Pets aren’t the only responsibilities in our lives, and as responsible pet parents, we need to make sure we’re keeping the lights on and ourselves fed as well!

Hope this post was educational and helpful!

Don’t forget to stop by and say hi to @katsu_the_lab!


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