Dogs can be expensive. Once you factor in food, vet appointments, toys, bones, bedding, and all the little treats and gifts you shower over them every week, the costs can really add up. Having said that, taking a little time to modify your home to better suit their needs could be the best gift of all — and it doesn’t have to break the bank in the process. Here’s how to tackle dog-related home improvements on a budget.
Dog-Proof Your Entire Home
Your home is filled with doggie dangers, especially if you have a puppy. Just like you must protect a child from themselves and their curiosity, you must protect your dog as well, especially if they’re young and haven’t yet figured out when they’re in a precarious situation. You’ll need some quality electrical tape (to tape down electrical wires), childproof cabinet locks, and some cheap, sealable plastic crates to store things like toxic chemicals and cleaning supplies, human food (especially chocolate, which is poisonous to dogs in high quantities), children’s toys and holiday decorations. Don’t forget to keep toilet seats down and trash cans secured, as a thirsty pooch won’t think twice about drinking chemical-laden toilet water, and a hungry mutt is liable to eat anything in an open trash can, even if it’s not food. As long as you make sure they don’t have access to anything they could eat that’s poisonous or that could give them an intestinal obstruction, you should be set. This project will only cost you between $50 and $100.
Install a Doggie Door
Unfortunately, your dog’s potty schedule doesn’t always match up with when you’re home. Beyond that, it’s just nice for a dog to be able to go outside and run around whenever they get a burst of energy. With a new dog door, you can give your dog all the freedom they need for less than $50.
Repair Your Fence
A common fear for many dog owners is that their beloved friend will get out of their backyard and run away or, worse yet, another dog might get in and cause trouble. If you have an existing fence that’s not quite up to snuff, you may choose to limit your dog’s outdoor time. This is detrimental to your pup. Outdoor playtime is vital for a happy, healthy dog. If you’re on a budget, you can make some cheap repairs to shore up your fence (you don’t have to pay for a whole new fence!). Repairing a wood or chain fence is easy and fairly inexpensive. Also, for extra protection, consider using chicken wire.
Build Them a Chillout Space
Many homes have small, unused spaces under the staircase, in a reading nook, or inside a pantry or closet. You can easily turn these spaces into a chillout space for your stressed-out dog to go during scary events like thunderstorms, parties, and more. Nearly one in three dogs are triggered by loud noises. You can give them some comfort with cheap, polyester acoustic tiles (they’ll run you about $2 a square foot) and an extra-padded dog bed for less than $100. To help you save money on materials, look for online deals through sites like Groupon.
Fill Those Holes in the Yard
Even if your dog doesn’t like to dig, your yard may be full of dangerous holes. These holes are like landmines to a playing dog. If you’ve ever seen a vet bill for a broken leg, you’ll know just how much of a money-saving tip this is, so get your hands dirty and repair those holes. If you want to get fancy, you can go the sod route, but for pennies on the dollar, you can simply fill the holes with quality soil and still prevent costly injuries.
You want to make your home and yard as dog-friendly as possible, because you want your critter to be healthy and happy. However, the thing about making your home better suited for dogs is that it will save you money in the long run. This, coupled with the fact that these are all fairly inexpensive home projects on their own, makes it a truly cost-effective endeavor.
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