15 affordable ways to spoil your dog on National Puppy Day

Your puppy is an adorable, sweet, delightfully rowdy creature with a smile that always melts your heart — even after chewing a hole in your favorite pair of shoes. On March 23, celebrate the unconditional love this little furball gives you by finding a way to pamper your dog on National Puppy Day.

Not only is puppy day a great excuse to spoil your dog, it’s also designed to create awareness for dogs across the globe who aren’t fortunate enough to live in loving homes. Colleen Paige, a celebrity pet and home lifestyle expert and author, founded the holiday in 2006 as a way to help save homeless puppies and to highlight the horrors of puppy mills. National Puppy Day 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the occasion, so be sure to join in the celebration by sharing pictures of your dog on social media using #NationalPuppyDay.

Celebrating your dog on National Puppy Day doesn’t have to involve spending lots of money. No matter what size your budget is, there are plenty of fun and affordable ways to make your puppy feel special and loved.

1. Adopt a Puppy

Get your dog another best friend — in addition to you of course — by adopting a puppy from a local animal shelter or rescue. Not only will you be saving a life, you’ll also cut costs. Generally speaking, it costs an average of $250 or less to adopt a rescue dog — who will typically be spayed or neutered, microchipped and up-to-date on shots — as opposed to paying $500 to $1,000 for a puppy from a breeder, plus the cost of shots, microchipping and spaying or neutering. Plus, now your current pup has a new brother or sister to play with.

2. Head to the Dog Park

Taking a trip to the dog park is free and your pup will have a great time running off-leash and making friends with all the neighborhood pooches. This is especially fun for puppies that live in an apartment or a house without a yard.

3. Pamper Your Pup at the Spa

Treat your puppy to a day of pampering at the groomer for a haircut, ear cleaning, nail cleaning and a bath. Costs can vary greatly by location and the size of your dog, but typically range from $30 for a small dog to $90 for larger breeds or ones with lots of hair.

4. Buy Your Puppy a New Toy

Your puppy is your furry child and kids are always excited to get a new toy. Dog toys are available in a variety of price points, but start as low as $1, so you can even work this fun surprise into a limited budget. Alternatively, you can also look up how to make some easy DIY dog toys for free.

5. Brush Those Puppy Teeth

Your dog has a strong set of teeth, so it’s important to work hard to maintain his good oral health. He might not make brushing his teeth too easy, but stay strong because this simple act can help prevent gum disease, tooth loss, chronic oral pain and more as he ages. A dog toothbrush and toothpaste can be purchased at major pet stores for under $10.

6. Update Your Dog’s Wardrobe

Anyone who claims puppies don’t need to wear clothes clearly hasn’t seen the American Apparel line of dog clothing. Choose from a variety of t-shirts and hoodies for your furry friend, priced from approximately $10 to $30.

7. Get a Puppucino

If your dog doesn’t have a sensitive stomach, add a puppucino — a cup with a little bit of whipped cream inside — to your Starbucks order. This treat is free at participating Starbucks locations, and your puppy will eat it up — literally.

8. Buy a Puppy Car Seat

Your dog goes everywhere with you, but buckling him into the back seat of your car with a seatbelt doesn’t work. Keep him safe on the road by investing in a car seat specially made for puppies, which can be purchased at major pet stores starting at approximately $35.

9. Make a Steak Dinner

Supplement your dog’s dinner with a few bites of steak — just be sure to trim the fat and remove the bones first. T-bone steak currently averages $7.93 per pound at major retail supermarkets across the U.S., making this special treat more than worth it.

10. Purchase a New Dog Bed

Even the highest quality dog beds can become worn out over time due to wear and tear, so give your puppy an upgrade. New beds average in price from approximately $30 to $100, so find a comfortable option you can afford.

11. Spend Quality Time Together

You are your puppy’s hero and he wants nothing more than your undivided attention. Spend at least an hour of one-on-one time with your dog to make him feel special and loved. Going for a walk together, playing fetch in the yard or hanging out on the couch won’t cost you a dime, but it will make him feel like a million bucks.

12. Splurge for a Day of Doggie Daycare

Instead of leaving your puppy home alone while you’re at work, drop him off at doggie daycare where he can spend the day playing with new friends. The cost for this services varies by location, but ranges from $12 to $38 for a full day of care.

13. Go on a Road Trip

For most dogs, there are few things in life more exciting than a car ride. Celebrate the holiday by hitting the road with your puppy for a fun road trip. Dogs stay free at La Quinta Inns & Suites, Kimpton hotels and Red Roof Inn, so it won’t cost you any extra to have your pooch in tow.

14. Microchip Your Puppy

Your puppy relies on you for everything, so it’s devastating to think about what would happen if he gets lost and doesn’t know how to find his way home. If he doesn’t already have one, take him to the veterinarian to be microchipped. This procedure costs approximately $45 and offers a lifetime of protection.

15. Donate to an Animal Shelter

As a dog lover, it’s only natural to want to do everything you can to give all puppies a loving home. While it won’t directly benefit your dog, making a National Puppy Day donation to the Humane Society, Best Friends Animal Society, the ASPCA or a local organization in your area can literally save a life. No amount is too small or too large to donate, so just give what you can.

From GoBankingRates.com: National Puppy Day: 15 affordable ways to spoil your dog