We all love our dogs. But some of us can let our love for our pets get a little out of hand. Just like kids, dogs can be spoiled rotten. In their love for their four-legged fluffy friends, some pet owners can lavish their pets with excess that knows no bounds.

We in the UK can all be guilty of over-indulging our pets and our cousins across the Atlantic can take it one step further, lavishing tens of billions on their pets ($70 billion to be precise) as a nation

Of course, all dogs deserve a treat every once in a while, either to However, to quote the immortal words of Jennifer Lopez “Your dog’s love don’t cost a thing!”. At least, we’re pretty sure that’s how the song goes. Pets of all shapes and sizes need more than just the basics like food, water, and shelter. They also need love, affection and to feel valued. They’re living creatures, just like us. They feel emotions just like us. They feel affection and attachment like us and they feel stress and anxiety like us.

However, unlike human children, your fur babies will never pester you for the latest gadget or plump for the most expensive toy because their best friend has it. There are plenty of ways you can make your dog feel happy, loved and valued with a minimum of expense or even no expense at all. 

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we have your back! Here are some pointers...

Give them affordable food that’s delicious and nutritious

nutritious pet food

It’s an unfortunate myth that decent quality pet foods are prohibitively expensive. We work hard to bring pets across the country nutritious foods made to the highest standards at a cost that will appeal to even the most restrictive household budget. 

Great dog food should be delicious and nutritious for our beloved pets and affordable for their hard working human owners.

Look for dog treats in the butcher’s window

dog loves meat

We stock a wide range of delicious and affordable dog treats, but don’t forget that some of the best dog treats can be found in your local butcher’s shop. Stop by to ask if they have any old bones you can take home for your dog. Pop them in the oven for just a few minutes and you’ll have a delicious roasted treat that they’ll love to nibble on. The same goes for pig’s ears and rawhide. 

Most butchers will be happy to sell these to you for a negligible cost or even give them away for free.

Swap out their lead for a harness

dog harness

All dogs love a nice long walk. It’s one of the most enjoyable and intimate ways in which you and your beloved pet can bond and enjoy one another’s company. If we’re talking about free ways to show your dog some love, a long walk goes right to the top of the list. But as enthusiastic as your dog may be for walkies, if you notice that your dog strains and chokes on their lead, you may want to consider swapping it out for a harness.

This distributes the force of their enthusiastic pulling more evenly to keep them comfortable when they’re not walking to heel. There are lots of adjustable dog harnesses on the market, many of which cost around £5 or less. These can make walkies much more enjoyable for both of you without putting too much strain on the purse strings!

Treat them to a nice long game of fetch

game of fetch

As well as walkies, all dogs enjoy a nice long game of fetch. It’s a great way for you and your dog to bond together while ensuring that they stay nice and active, getting plenty of exercise along with their fun. 

However, we advise against picking up any old stick you find in the park and playing fetch with it. Many a pleasant game of fetch has been ruined by dogs picking up injuries from sticks that their owners find lying around in marks. From splinters in the tongue and mouth (ouch) to poked eyes and even puncture wounds to the chest and abdomen, a stick may seem like a fun toy but it can be hazardous to an excited dog. 

Fetch is more intuitive for the dog and enjoyable for dog and owner alike if it’s played with a familiar ball or toy. Ever wanted to know why your dog won’t go tearing after the stick you’ve thrown for them? How do they know that you’re throwing it for them?

Give them love and fuss

love your dog

Petting your dog is one of the most effective ways to show them you love them and it can even be therapeutic for you, too! When you stroke your dog, rub their tummy, or simply snuggle up close to them, you’re sure to set that tail wagging.

And while it may be less obvious, your heart rate will slow a little and your blood pressure will ease off. The act of showing a pet love is calming and meditative. Why else would pet therapy and emotional support animals be a thing?

Use your dog voice with pride

who's a good boy

Altogether now… “Whooosagoodboiiii? Whoooosaboooodboiii?” We’ve all been caught using our “dog voice” in private or in public and felt a little bit embarrassed about it. However, studies show that when we talk to our pets in our dog voices they actually understand us better than we may think. Dogs not only understand our vocabularies better than we initially thought but they also understand tones very well.

Think about the urgency of a bark or the menace of a growl. Dogs use tones in their own communications all the time. When we use our dog voices, they tend to associate this with accomplishment and feeling loved and valued. So when you use your dog voice with pride you’re making your dog happier and strengthening your communication with them. 

As you can clearly see, you don’t need to spend a fortune to show your dog how much they’re loved!


Asking the important question, does my dog suffer with separation anxiety? Read more here by Dog Behaviourist Adem Fehmi and Barking Heads.


*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health*