A dog is one of the most important pets for homeowners. Besides offering companionship, they can scare away potential burglars and even stray dogs that might bring harm to your home. But how much does a dog cost? And how can you take care of it properly? You might have heard before that the cost of a dog is high, and it’s true; you will need some investments to cater to your dog’s expenses.
Most people usually fail to plan for the cost of owning a dog and assume that food is their only necessity. This has led to many problems, especially for first-time dog owners. When most couples are moving to a new home, they don’t hesitate to get a puppy and probably a cat. But contrary to their expectations, they may spend hundreds of dollars on the pet on food, medical care, and grooming. We also need to keep in mind there can be unexpected and emergency vet bills as well. Check our guide below to know what the average cost of owning a dog can be.
Lifetime Costs of Owning a Dog
There are three types of pet costs you will have in your dog’s life. These are:
- Initial Cost – Initial costs are the expenses you will incur when you first own the dog. These include the adoption fees, training, vaccinations, etc.
- General Expenses – These costs are the ones you will cater to during the dog’s lifetime. They include foods, routine veterinary visits, and toys.
- Emergency Expenses – I would like to hope that you don’t have any emergency expenses with your dog, but it is something you need to plan for. Emergency expenses are they things we don’t think about or hope will never happen. It could be an unexpected injury, surgery, or health problem.
By checking and estimating the total costs, you will know the total amount of money you can spend in your lifetime. Besides, before you even go to general expenses like food, initial costs such as vaccination, adoption, toys, and training could cost you about $700 or more. Now, add some regular expenses like food ($1000- $2400 per year) dental care ($75-$100), and grooming ($50 – $75 per visit), and you will need to cover more for any medical expenses. Of course, all expenses depend on the breed of dog you have.
The dog supplies will also occupy a large chunk of your budget. These include leashes, toys, collars, beds, food, and dog training resources. When you want to spade or neuter your dog, you will spend between $350 to $700. In general, the first year with your dog is going to be about double the expense as the subsequent years will be, if they have no health problems or emergencies.
Dog Food Costs
It is always important to feed your dog with healthy & high-quality dog food. Typically, you will spend between $50 and $200 each month to feed your dog. The food costs vary based on the quality of food and the size and energy requirements of your dog. If you prefer feeding your dogs with special foods, then expect to spend more.
Toys are an essential component of any dog’s life for exercise and mental stimulation, so must include toys in the cost of owning a dog. You can expect the dog’s annual costs for toys to range from $100 to $300. But if you like spending money on expensive high-end toys, then you’ll cough up hundreds of dollars for the toys. If your dog is the destructive type, then they will likely chew the toys leading to you spending money on toys for “tough chewers,” which costs a little higher.
An animal house is one of the essential things to consider before buying a dog. You can decide to get a crate, and though some dog owners think it’s not kind for dogs, they are a favorite among many dogs due to the security and coziness they provide.
According to Travis Brorsen, a dog trainer, crates range from $40 for the small size to $200+ for the larger ones. You can use a dog bed inside the crate, and they range from $30 to $100+ based on the material type and its size. I would recommend going for a crate that will adapt to your puppy’s growth, and you only need to add a dog bed and some blankets to make the dog crate warm and comfy for your fur baby.
These paws were made for walking
Exercising will not only help improve your puppy’s health but also get rid of some behavioral issues. Most dogs that aren’t taken for walks usually get bored and they tend to chew your clothes, shoes, and even furniture (that can raise the dog-owning costs substantially). You should take 2-3 walks each day to ensure the dogs maintain healthy bonding and socializing skills. You’ll also need to take them outside to relieve themselves every 3-4 hours, and more often during the puppy house training phase.
If you spend most days in the office and want to find a professional dog walker. They charge from $10 to $30 depending on the city you live in. To lower the costs of owning the dog, you can decide to go home and walk your dog during lunch breaks or, if allowed, you may be able to bring your dog to work with you.
How to reduce the cost of owning a dog?
Before owning a dog, save some money so that you won’t be stressed when catering to some of the costs. Just like you would set an emergency fund for yourself, have another one for your dog.
Contribute little amounts of money to the fund, and depending on the cost you have computed, have a higher initial investment. For instance, if you expect to spend a total of $1500 during your first year with the dog, then invest at least $500 in the emergency fund accounts. You may want to consider Pet Health Insurance. Although it is an additional expense, it could save you thousands in an unexpected emergency.
Also, compute the additional essentials for your dog, including the food, grooming, and vaccination. This way, you will plan how to set aside funds to your emergency fund better. Visit a local veterinary clinic and check their charges for vaccinations, medications, and different medical procedures. Don’t forget to ask questions about the possible maintenance that puppies will require. Keep in mind, the breed of dog you get may be prone to specific health problems. You can talk about these with your vet.
Once you calculate all the dog expenses, incorporate them into your emergency funds and save at least four months before buying a dog. You may want to look for ways in which you can reduce the costs, and if there are some items or practices, you can factor out, then proceed to do so. For example, you may skip getting a dog walker and do the walking on your own. You can also look for more affordable but nutritious dog food and treats. In general, if you can save money by factoring some items from the budget, then do so.
I have completed over 30 house and pet sits in 8 countries and will be writing more about all of them. House sitting and pet sitting has brought me to England, Bulgaria, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain. You can read more about me here. House sitting has not only brought me to many great countries, cities, and countryside villages, I have also met some amazing people along the way.
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