It goes without saying that getting a dog is a massive commitment – they’ll need a healthy diet, a comfy bed and plenty of toys, and that’s without considering added expenses such as vet bills. With an average of $126.19 currently being spent each month per pet in the USA, it’s essential that you consider the costs of your furry friend before committing to giving them the healthy and happy life that they deserve.
That’s why in this article, we’re discussing the cost of owning a dog so that you can gain an accurate idea of whether you can afford to give your canine companion a healthy and happy life. From first getting your puppy to their average monthly cost and paying the price if your pet falls ill, we’re helping you evaluate the costs before purchasing a puppy.
The initial cost of your puppy differs from breed to breed. Pedigree breeds are always in high demand, allowing breeders to charge higher prices for their desirability. The beautiful Samoyed, for example, is currently one of the most expensive dog breeds in the USA at an average price in 2018 of $2,000 – $3,000 per dog. While mixed breed puppies are often cheaper to purchase initially, it’s essential that you weigh up the initial cost of your furry friend against their average monthly cost – after all, a dog is for life.
However, the cost of your canine companion isn’t the only thing you’ll need to consider. As part of the package, you’ll need to purchase a crate or bed, blankets, a collar, and a leash, to name just a few items. Though these can easily ramp up the costs, they are essential to keeping your puppy healthy and happy.
After purchasing the essential materialistic items, it’s time to consider the costs of vaccinations, worming, and flea treatment, to name just a few. Puppies require vaccination against diseases such as canine distemper, hepatitis, and leptospirosis to avoid higher costs in the long term, and while these costs are easy to forget about, they’re essential to giving your puppy the best start to their new life in your home. While you can’t put a price on the pleasure of owning a pet, it’s essential that you consider the initial cost, inclusive of all veterinary procedures and materialistic items.
To reduce the costs associated with vaccination, visit dog rescue centers or rehoming centers where you’re able to adopt a dog that has already been vaccinated. Often, they have also been neutered before adoption, which negates another additional cost.
An Average Yearly Cost
The average yearly cost is greatly affected by the dog’s size. After all, a bigger dog is likely to require more exercise, food, and could even be more likely to experience health problems. So if you’re feeling a little strapped for cash, it could be worth considering a smaller breed that could offer you a substantial savings each month.
The annual expenses of your canine companion will undoubtedly be less than the first year of ownership. Some costs to consider in your yearly expenses include dog food, annual medical examinations, and insurance, which can all mount up. The average cost of vet treatment varies greatly depending on the type of illness or injury, but a good estimation to budget for is one vet treatment every three years. Insurance can help with any vet bills that you may not be able to afford, however, so this is something always worth considering.
It goes without saying that as your pet gets older, it’s likely to require more veterinary examinations and visits. So, it’s essential that you read the small print to ensure that your pet insurance covers this, or that you’re financially prepared within your budget to afford these costs.
The average lifespan of a dog is 12 years, so in the latter years, it’s essential to prepare for health conditions such as arthritis (particularly in larger dogs), gum disease, and cancer, which all come hand in hand with high vet bills. On the other hand, while your dog is still a puppy, if they have any pre-existing health conditions, it’s essential that these are monitored as they’re likely to worsen as your dog ages and could create substantial long-term unavoidable costs.
When it comes to making sure that your pet always looks their best, they’ll need regular trips to the grooming salon. Prices are varied depending on the size of your pet and the fur which they require trimming. For example, breeds such as Poodles, Bichon Frise, and Afghan Hounds require regular coat maintenance, which is sure to increase the cost of upkeep. So, if your budget is looking a little tight, opt for breeds such as Labradors or Dalmations, which won’t require their fur trimming.
While in an ideal world, your dog would have endless toys to play with, toys can soon mount up in costs. However, on average, the cheaper the dog toy, the easier that it can be destroyed. So when it comes to dog toys, it’s best to invest to ensure that they’re high quality and well made. A great way to budget for pet toys is to set aside a small amount each month, which will help keep your dog’s toy collection fully stocked.
It’s likely that your puppy will require everything from tennis balls to dental chew toys and treat dispensing toys to ensure that they’re well entertained and, ultimately, happy. As such, budgeting for them is essential to the monthly maintenance of your canine companion.
If Your Pet Falls ill
In the unfortunate event that your pet has an accident or falls ill, it’s one of the most expensive parts of dog ownership. That’s where insurance comes in – however, the pricing of insurance is entirely dependent on the breed, age, and the animal’s susceptibility to illness, as this will require different levels of cover. It’s essential, therefore, that you understand all of the small print before purchasing your insurance and ensure that you choose the right one according to your pet’s needs.
While the cheapest insurance policies often cover ‘accident only,’ the most comprehensive cover is ‘lifetime.’ Lifetime cover offers insurance protection, which pays for chronic or recurring conditions during your pet’s lifetime up to limits specified by the insurance company. Non-lifetime insurance policies may cover your dog up to a certain point but may also include some exclusions – so it’s crucial that you understand these before purchasing this insurance.
Alternatively, you’ll always have the freedom to self-insure, but this is subject to your financial situation being able to afford it at the time of the accident or injury. This can, at times, be difficult to guarantee. If you’re self-insuring, it’s best to ensure that you’re always prepared for the unexpected with an emergency fund – it could be as simple as setting aside £50 each month to prepare for any costly eventualities.
Training and Behavioural Costs
If you’re working long hours throughout the week, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to spend enough hours training your puppy if they’re resistant to behavioral training. To combat this, you may need to turn to train or behavioral classes. On average, dog training and behavioral classes can cost between $30 – $80 per class on average for group training, and privately up to $120 per session. In the event that your canine companion is an avid barker or chewer then, you may also have to prepare financially for puppy training classes.
It’s undeniable that every dog needs proper training, and hiring a professional can work out extremely expensive. Some other cheaper options to consider are clicker training, which is a small device that makes a ‘click’ sound when the dog has done something wrong. Alternatively, you could invest in indestructible toys that can curb problem behaviors, offering mental stimulation and the ability for them to burn off energy without creating an excessive amount of damage.
If you work long hours, it’s difficult to keep your eye on your pooch all of the time, and ultimately, prevent them from destroying household items – so, an investment in some quality toys could prove very beneficial when it comes to keeping your chair or table legs intact! However, it’s crucial that you don’t avoid training altogether because of the cost, as dedication is essential to training your puppy – particularly if you’re choosing to rehome a dog from a rescue center.
When it comes to calculating the cost of owning a dog, it’s ultimately dependent on the size and breed of the dog which you’re looking to purchase. For smaller budgets, it’s best to purchase smaller breeds that require less maintenance and remember to always do your research to prepare for vet bills when your canine companion reaches later life.
Keith Harrison is a content creator and writer for Jolly Good Loans – your online personal loans encyclopedia.