3 Great Freebies for Your Dog

Pets are expensive, so it pays to get as much free stuff for your pooch as you can.

Caring for Fido is so doggone expensive these days. The ASPCA says the minimum annual budget to care for a small dog is about $1,300 -- and bigger dogs cost even more. Plus, when you factor in other expenses such as unexpected veterinary care and boarding fees for when you’re on vacation, the costs can really add up.

Luckily, there are certain goods and services that dog owners can take advantage of that require no cash at all. Here are three of them:

Free grooming

Just as beauty schools offer discounted services for human customers willing to take a risk with student practitioners, veterinary schools do the same for pets. Some offer free basic grooming services including tooth and hair brushing, as well as nail clipping. Donations are generally encouraged but not required.

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Free training

Is your newly adopted dog in need of training? Petco’s Unleashed stores offer a free, 30-minute session for adopted dogs and their owners. Training includes basic commands such as “sit” and “down.” And owners can even learn how to provide positive reinforcement to correct behaviors common in rescued dogs. You should be prepared for an upsell pitch for one of the store’s six-week paid training classes.

Free health advice

There’s no substitute for regular visits to the vet, but in between appointments you can keep track of your pooch’s health by using free online resources. WebMD’s Pet Health Community, for example, has an A-to-Z directory of conditions and symptoms afflicting dogs plus discussion boards where licensed vets respond to questions. Of course, in the event of an emergency contact your veterinarian immediately.

Looking for more free stuff for your pet? See our complete list of freebies for your dog.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Contributing Editor

Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.