Anyone who is reading this is likely considering adding a dog to their family. While bringing a pet into your home can bring joy and companionship, the decision does not come without financial responsibility. Before bringing a pet into your home, ask yourself if you are ready to handle all of the responsibilities that come with pet ownership.
Feeding a Dog
The most obvious and ongoing expense for your dog is food. While the pet aisle in the grocery store offers many low-cost options, these choices are not always best for your dog. Like people, dogs need a balanced diet and one that is full of nutrients and proteins. Many cheap dog food brands are loaded with fillers and do not provide the nutrition that your dog will need to thrive. Since the dog is not getting what it needs from the food, it will likely eat more of it. This can end up costing the dog owner more in the long run.
Instead, a quality dog food should be selected. Ask your vet for recommendations. While it may cost more, your pet’s health is worth it.
You should also keep a supply of healthy treats on hand. Treats are great for training and rewarding your pet.
Vet Bills – Consider Pet Insurance
All dogs will need to visit the vet at least once a year to receive vaccinations. The cost of vaccines will vary. If you get vaccines at a vet’s office, expect to pay between $90-$150. Many rescue groups, such as the SPCA, offer low-cost vet clinics which may cost as little as $30 for annual shots. Also, check your local pet stores as some may offer a lower cost option for routine pet care.
Also, heartworm prevention medication must be given monthly at a cost of around $5 per month. In most of the country, flea prevention is a good idea and costs approximately $10 per month.
In addition to routine preventive care, vet visits will be necessary when your pet becomes ill. There is no way to estimate how much a visit to a vet will cost when your pooch is under the weather, but you should consider the possibility of this extra expense before adopting or purchasing a dog.
For peace of mind, health insurance is available for dogs. Pay a monthly premium and the insurance company will reimburse you for most of the expenses if your dog becomes ill or is injured.
Hardware and Dog Toys
Dogs need stuff! They need crates, collars, leashes, food and water dishes, bedding and toys.
If you plan to leave your pet outside all of the time (not recommended), then additional items such as shelter and hay for warmth must also be provided.
Plan to spend $50-$100 before bringing your pet home. This should be enough to cover a collar, leash, food bowls, a bed and toys. If you plan to crate train your dog you will also need to purchase a quality crate. A good crate will cost between $45-$125 depending on the size that is needed.
A word on toys: Toys are not just a nice extra, they are necessary. Dogs need to chew and if toys are not provided then furniture and shoes will be used in their place.
Traveling with a Dog
If you travel, dogs are an extra expense whether you bring them along or not. If traveling without your furry friend, plan to spend between $15-$30 per night to board your pet. If your bring him along, you’ll have to consider the cost of shipping your pet on the airplane and/or paying a non-refundable pet deposit at the hotel. Be sure to call ahead for airline requirements and hotel policies before planning your trip.
While there is a cost to owning a dog, the rewards of being greeted by a happy, healthy dog each evening is worth the expense!