The Costs Of Owning A Dog
Can you afford a dog?
How much does it cost to own a dog and care for it properly? The cost of owning a dog is about more than just the expense of food. The cost of owning a dog can be estimated between $1400 to $4300 per year. Financially providing for your dogs is a big part of being a responsible dog owner.
Many of these initial costs may be irrelevant, depending on where your dog comes from. Many shelters, for instance, will make sure their dogs are spayed/neutered and vaccinated before becoming available for adoption. Bottom line, the first year with your new dog can cost twice the typical annual cost of subsequent years, so be prepared.
Adoption fees: Most shelters and rescue organizations charge an adoption fee. It takes a lot of money to run an organization that rescues and cares for animals and many of them heavily depend on these fees and donations to keep doing the important work they do. If the dog you’re adopting has had medical care, vaccines, or has been spayed/neutered while in the shelter’s care the fee will help cover those costs as well. The adoption fee for dogs is $100 at the Porter County Animal Shelter.
Spaying or neutering: Most shelters will make sure their dogs are spayed or neutered before becoming available for adoption. If not, this cost will fall on you. Spay/neuter not only reduces homeless dog population, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs, and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed female dogs. All of the adoptables at the Porter County Animal Shelter are spayed or neutered before they leave the shelter for their new forever home.
Vaccinations: Many shelters will vaccinate their dogs before making them available for adoption, but you will be responsible for keeping up with a routine vaccination schedule. Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccines are recommended for your dog. All adoptables at the Porter County Animal Shelter are are vaccinated and microchipped before they leave the shelter for their new forever home.
Initial Wellness Check: The Porter County Animal Shelter requires that you take your new dog to a veterinarian for an initial wellness check WITHIN ONE WEEK OF THE ADOPTION at your cost. You are responsible for providing the Shelter with proof of the initial wellness check.
Home set-up necessities: There are some core supplies you’ll need before bringing your new dog home. These include dog food, leashes, collars, beds, toys and so on. You also need to think about obedience classes and/or training resources.
Ongoing basic costs
These are the costs most people associate with adopting a dog. Still, many people underestimate how quickly these costs add up over the course of a year.
Food and Treats: It is important to feed your dog a high-quality dog food and healthy dog treats. This typically costs somewhere from $20 to $60 per month. Food expenses vary based on the size and energy level of your dog as well as the quality of the food. Be aware that special foods, like veterinary therapeutic diets or freshly-made special-order food, may cost $100 or more a month.
Toys: Dog toys are an important part of your dog's mental stimulation and exercise. Though some of us may indulge, you can probably plan on spending $25 to $150 per year. If you are like those of us who cannot resist a cute toy, this figure can become several hundred dollars higher. Another reason you may spend more on toys: a very destructive dog may go through toys faster, so if you have one of these dogs, invest in the toys designed for "tough chewers".
Beds: Every dog deserves a cozy bed and keeping one or two around the house will cost you $50 to $200 a year. Prices go up in relation to size and quality. Getting durable, high-quality and easy-to-clean dog beds can extend the life of the beds and keep costs down in the long run.
Leashes and Collars: Your dog must have at least one leash and one collar (with ID tags). Depending on the size and quality, most dog owners spend $20 to $50 per year on leashes and collars. However, you may be able to make one leash and collar set last for several years.
Grooming: Your dog's grooming needs are largely based on the type of hair coat he has. Smooth coated, short-haired dogs require little more than basic grooming while dogs with constantly growing hair will need to visit the groomer on a routine basis. Between the cost of grooming tools and visits to the groomer, you can plan on spending anywhere from $30 to $500 a year.
Routine Veterinary Care: Routine veterinary care is a huge part of keeping your dog healthy. Plan on going to the vet for wellness checkups once or twice a year at a cost of about $200 to $300 yearly. Annual lab work can add about $100 to $300 and should not be skipped as it's an important part of preventive health care. Dental cleanings may be recommended as often as once a year and generally range from about $300 to $800. Of course, vet costs will be higher if your dog develops a health problem. This is more likely to happen as your dog grows older. Consider purchasing pet insurance for your dog, which will cover a percentage of vet expenses. Overall, you should budget about $700 to $1500 per year for veterinary costs, and that does not include emergencies. It also excludes preventive medications and supplements.
Preventive Medications and Supplements: All dogs need medications to prevent heartworms, fleas, ticks and other parasites. Your veterinarian will guide you towards the best products based on your climate and your dog's needs. Some dogs will also benefit from vitamins and supplements. In general, you will probably spend $100 to $500 per year for these items depending on the size of your dog and his specific needs.
These are the costs that people often forget about when adopting a new dog. Some of them can be quite expensive, so it’s a good idea to take them into account before committing.
Obedience Classes or Training Resources: Though most dogs will only go to obedience school in their first year or two, training is something that should be ongoing throughout your dog's life. Whether you are buying books and DVDs for at-home training or you enroll your dog in obedience classes, budget at least $25 to $300 per year for training needs.
Pet Sitters or Boarding: Most people will need to leave their dogs behind once or twice a year. Typically, this will cost about $100 to $300 a year. However, if you travel frequently, expect to spend much more. Boarding tends to cost less than hiring a pet sitter, but many dog owners prefer the individual attention a pet sitter can offer and think it is worth the extra expense. Alternatively, if you decide to travel with your dog, you can expect your travel fees to increase.
Emergencies and Other Unexpected Expenses: No one can predict the future; the unexpected occurs in life all the time. As a good dog owner, you should do your best to be ready for life's little surprises. Emergencies, chronic illnesses, disasters and other unplanned expenses can amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. The cost of an emergency vet hospital visit can start around $500 to $1000 and go well beyond $2000 to $5000. Advanced surgery is anywhere from $2000 to $5000 or more. If your sick pet needs to stay in the ICU, you could be looking at $200 to $500 per day and up.
In a perfect world, dog owners would never have to make choices for their dogs based on money alone, Instead, it should be about what is best for their dogs. With proper financial planning you can provide for your own dog and live a long and happy life together.
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