A dog is so much more than just a pet. A dog is a playful friend, willing helper, fierce protector and full-fledged family member. But before we rush out and get one, it serves us well to be aware of the expenses involved in maintaining a heathy, happy canine. There’s quite a bit more to keeping a dog than throwing it table scraps. Not that they don’t LOVE those table scraps!
For most of us, the real cost of dog food is not a problem in terms of affordability. The most common (and some say healthiest) doggie diet is an unlimited supply of dry dog food and plenty of fresh water. According to experts at the ASPCA, dog food for a single dog costs anywhere from $55 to $235 a year, depending on the size of the dog. If you haven’t gotten your pup yet and you’re on a tight budget, consider a smaller dog.
Rawhide, pig ears and other chewables cost $3-10 apiece, and they’re a worthy investment Rawhide is an excellent way to maintain dental health, thereby saving you money on vet bills, not to mention replacing furniture. Ideally, a dog should be given one size-appropriate piece of chewable rawhide each day. This can easily cost a thousand dollars a year or more. If your budget is tight, you can probably get away with three or four rawhide chews each week, but be forewarned. Rawhide becomes very wet and sticky when chewed, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of a cold, clammy, dirt-covered rawhide strip placed on your face while you’re sleeping.
The cost of canine accessories will vary. However, of the many thousand products available, only very few are actually necessary. A dog needs a leash and collar (roughly $25 to $35) and toys, which can cost as much as $75 a year according to the ASPCA. Many dogs also need accessories like grooming supplies (especially for long haired breeds). Also keep in mind that accessories have to be replaced every now and then.
Yes, the costs can add up, but the overall expense of basic dog care is affordable for most people who really want a dog. However, other, greater expenses must also be considered before deciding on adding a dog to your family.
Traveling with your pup can also become expensive, between airline fees and the cost of a cage or carrier (at least $60). And once you arrive at your destination, pet friendly hotels can be pricey! If you leave a dog behind when you travel, at-home pet care is by far the healthiest option. This can cost as little as five dollars a day, but many grateful dog owners pay more like fifteen to twenty-five. Ask your local vet for a reference or ask a pet-friendly neighbor you can trust.
Medical costs can be quite expensive, especially when you first get the dog. Spaying or neutering will cost you, but on the bright side, you only have to have it done once. The ASPCA will spay or neuter most dogs for around $200. Allow another $75 for rabies and distemper vaccinations.
Dog owners know that the financial burden involved in dog care is well worth having a dog. Those of us who cherish dogs as the loyal and intelligent creatures they are understand the tremendous emotional investment we put into them.
This article comes to you from NerdWallet.com, a quantiatively oriented, analysis-driven decision website.