dog treats

How to get free dog stuff and save money

Ohh yeah free stuff! Who doesn’t love it? It’s always great if you can find something for free that you were planning to buy anyways. No matter how deep your pockets are. As any dog parent knows, there are many costs associated with caring for your dog and they can add up fast. If you are a dog parent on a tight budget, a few free things here and there can really make a big difference. You might be surprised how much free dog stuff is actually available to you if you know where to look.

Free dog stuff in online groups

My personal favorite place to find free stuff for dogs of all kinds is in local pet Facebook groups. Just type “your city name” and “your type of pet” in the search bar on Facebook to get started. Here in Toronto, there is one called “Bunz Pet Zone” that I have been a fan of for years.

Often, people have purchased toys or food their dogs don’t like and group members are looking to give them away. I have met up with other dog owners, who have given me dry and wet food that their dog doesn’t like. Once I met up with a facebook group member to pick up a large brand new bag of organic dry food. She purchased two bags, and learned her dog did not enjoy it. She wanted to pass along the unopened bag to another dog owner instead of letting it go to waste.

I have also given away toys that my dog Thor received as a gift in this facebook group. He is a real power chewer and makes mincemeat of most toys in a matter of hours! So I generally post toys that could be a choking hazard for him. Pet owners use Facebook groups to trade or give away items they don’t need for items they know their pet will enjoy. I have exchanged toys for liver treats or other items that Thor loved.

Craigslist, Kijiji, and Groupon are a good way to find free pet supplies and discounts too. It may take some time. These types of sites have a lot of items. You may have to search a bit to find what you are looking for.

dog toys

Free dog food samples

Many pet stores offer free samples with purchases. My local natural pet food shop, and PetValue have always offered me free samples. This is particularly great if you are looking to change your dog’s food, but you are unsure if they will like the new one. Even if you are not changing your dog’s food, you can always use the sample food as a treat. If you have a neighbourhood shop you frequent, chances are they have some samples on hand. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask.

You can even find many promotions online with a quick and simple google search. Here are a couple examples that I found. Free dog or cat food available here. Free samples of dog food for readers from Canada. Free dog food samples or free essential oil dog collar for readers from the USA. Free dog food samples for readers from the UK here. You can also easily find some online coupons, like this one for Petcurean dog food. (Please note: this article is from July 2020, and any promotions may change over time.)

You will often find coupons inside of large bags of dog food, and they are easy to miss! Be sure not to throw these out.

Free dog stuff from restaurants and cafes

Depending on the size of your pup, you may be able to bring them into restaurants and cafes. As the owner of a larger dog (Thor is a black-lab mix), I don’t always have this luxury. Many local coffee shops don’t mind if he stands in line with me though. Sometimes they have some treats behind the counter. In my neighborhood, there are a few restaurants and bars with outdoor dining. They all allow dogs on their patios. If a dog is there, the staff will bring out some water and a couple treats for the dog. I do live in a very dog-friendly area, so always use your discretion and ask ahead of time if you are unsure.

dog leaning against bench with starbucks cups

Some fast food eateries have dog options on their menu, “secret menu”, or at the drive-thru. Famously, Shake Shack has a doggie menu at most locations. There is also the starbucks pupperchino (a little cup of whipped cream for your pooch). I’ve experienced Tim Hortons drive-thru offer a (free) sugar-free timbit in the past too! I never feel shy asking if there is anything available for Thor. I know this is a great way for restaurants to market to dog owners and I will let other dog owners know. Check out Canadian restaurants that allow dogs or American dog-friendly restaurants.

Free dog treats from shops

Many shops will offer your pup a treat. A few of my personal favorites include the Wine Rack (here in Ontario, Canada), Lush, and Anthropologie. It’s always a surprise how many shops are actually dog-friendly. The list includes big chains like The Gap, and luxury retailers like Sacks and Tiffany’s. Usually, as long as a shop doesn’t sell food items and your dog is calm it’s no problem. I like to take a look at the store pet policy online before I shop if I am unsure.

woman holding small dog

Free services for dogs

Many organizations offer free services. My local PetValue offers free nail trims for dogs and cats. A pet groomer in my neighborhood offers the same free service. In the US, petsclinic offers free nail trims too. If you are in the US, you can order a pet safety pack, completely free of charge from the ASPCA.

Local humane societies and SPCAs offer cat and dog spay/neuter clinics at a lower cost than most vets. This is to encourage pet owners to ensure their pets are fixed. Check out details here (for services in the US). For services in Ontario, Canada click here (as the SPCA varies provincially).

Summary

Once you know where to look, you will be surprised by the bounty of free dog stuff in your community and online. Many online shops and local pet shops provide free samples. There are sites where you can connect with other dog owners to exchange items. When you are out and about with your four-legged friend, don’t hesitate to ask. Your favorite neighborhood spots may already be dog-friendly, and ready to pamper your pal with treats.

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