Guest Post By Dr. Susan Wright – Learn more about Susan at the end of this post
Animals are really unique and can add a lot of love and fun into your household. Although it may sound simple to just go adopt a pet, there should be a lot of thought and consideration taken before you actually adopt. On top of the commitment that comes with taking care of another life, there can also be a large financial factor to owning a pet. Depending on your animal of choice, it has been estimated that owning a pet can cost between $4,000 and $35,000 over a 13 year life span. To take a closer look we will review costs associated with dogs, since they are one of the more popular pets.
The first initial cost of getting a dog is the price you pay to receive the dog. If you are interested in a pure breed, this cost will be much higher than if you were to adopt. Either way, this initial cost is just the beginning.
If you are looking at a puppy and didn’t adopt through a shelter that provides the necessary shots with the adoption, you will need to get your puppy the proper shots to ensure they are protected from illness and disease. These are shots that you will need to keep up with yearly as part of a maintenance plan. Call a local veterinarian to see what this annual cost would run, or contact the Humane Society to see about low-cost shot clinics as a way to save money. Another procedure highly recommended is to spray/neuter your animal to help reduce overpopulation. This is a one-time cost, but definitely something to look into as part of the initial adoption/purchase of an animal.
Once you bring you dog home, you will need to have the basic supplies to provide a good life for your animal, food being the most basic and important. The price of food can have a wide price range, with the bare minimum being found in your local grocery store to the more nutritious and elite being found at your veterinarian’s office or online. The type of food you buy is a personal choice, but remember a healthy dog can make a big difference on your wallet in the long run. You will also need to consider the cost of buying food and water dishes so your dog has access to clean and sterile bowls to eat and drink out of. And if you want to provide somewhere special for your dog to sleep, you may want to consider the cost of a dog bed and any toys and snacks to spoil your dog with.
Day Time Care
If you work and don’t have someone to take care of your dog during the day you will need to figure out if your dog will stay inside, in a crate or if you will need to take him to doggy day care. If you stay home of have children, they can definitely help be responsible for your animal, but keep in mind if you dog will be staying home alone, they will need to be let out for bathroom breaks during the day and have time to run around and be rambunctious. Another option if you work, is to look into is hiring someone to help you walk your dog during the week. Even if you do stay home typically, think about what will happen to your dog when you go on vacation. Will you take your dog with you? There are hotels that allow pets to stay at a higher cost. Or will you lodge your dog for your vacation?
If you have a new puppy you will definitely need to train them, and you have two options. Either do it yourself or hire someone to train your dog for you. On top of proper obedience training you’ll want to train them to stay in your yard, so they do not run away, and when it is appropriate to bark and when it isn’t (your neighbors will thank you). On the barking front, you’ll want to check out a bark collar to help train your dog.
Depending on the breed of dog you have will make a big difference on how often and intense of grooming they will need. The short answer, are you able to groom your dog by simply brushing weekly or daily or will you dog require to be groomed by a professional groomer?
Expect the unexpected. At some point your dog will have a medical emergency that will require a visit to a clinic or your veterinarian. This could be minor or a major medical issue and could range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. While many people create a savings account for their pet in case of these emergencies others have looked into pet insurance to help cover the costs. Either way you will need to research both to weigh the factors and figure out what option will work best for you.
While pets really do offer a lot of intangible benefits to your family, you really should consider the financial factors of taking good care of your pet as well. If more people understood the true costs of caring for an animal, there would be less abandoned, poorly-cared for and abused animals in our world.
Guest Author: Dr. Susan Wright is a veterinarian of more than ten years. Dr. Wright is a staff expert on dog bark collars for Dog Fence DIY. Susan has authored many articles on proper pet care and pet health.