To a new pet owner, a dog’s cute face and lovable personality can make even the most expensive veterinarian bills and daily kibble expenses worth every penny. But when that new dog owner has kids in tow, that seemingly small purchase can quickly become a family budget buster.
In fact, before you add Fido’s name to your shopping list of items like food, toys, and doggie daycare, it might be helpful to get an idea of just how much actual cash is going out each year for this furry addition to your family.
Smaller dogs tend to be less expensive when compared with larger dogs in terms of their initial purchase price plus annual expenses. However, when you calculate the total cost of dog ownership, you’ll find that every breed has an overall price tag that comes with it.
Things to consider when calculating the cost of dog ownership
1) Initial purchase price
Even though the initial price of a dog might be pretty steep compared with other pets, such as cats and fish, there’s more to consider than just this one-time expense.
If you adopt your pet from a shelter or rescue group, the initial cost is probably less than what it would be for an owner who goes out and purchases a purebred puppy from a breeder. Generally speaking, the more popular and sought-after breeds require higher prices due to their limited availability.
And while $500 to $1,000 dollars may seem like a lot of money upfront for that new addition to your family, don’t forget that some insurance companies offer reimbursement for veterinary care costs if you can prove certain are met regarding breed and age.
2) Annual expenses
Annual costs for a dog’s food, toys, and basic training can really add up over time. Think $300 to $800 per year. However, the cost of daycare for dogs can vary depending on the age and size of your pet as well as the level of care you provide.
Certain breeds require more intensive grooming than others that can increase or decrease your annual cost for doggie daycare and supplies. As with any item in your budget, be sure to compare prices among various sources such as supermarkets, specialty shops, and big-box retailers like Walmart and Target before making any final purchase.
3) Dog food
This is one of the top expenses that pet owners must prepare for.
If your pooch has a sensitive stomach or requires a special diet, this will factor into how much you spend each month on food. Furthermore, the amount of food he eats can also vary depending upon his breed and age as well as the level of activity he gets throughout the day. Many areas even have dog-food delivery services like PetChef and FreshPet for those who don’t want to deal with hauling bags home from the supermarket every couple of weeks.
Breed-specific food can cost up to 20% more than what you’d pay for a generic brand. But if your pet isn’t able to digest certain ingredients, the price of a specific brand might be worthwhile.
Some brands also offer coupons and discounts, so it pays to do your homework.
Depending upon the quality of dog food you purchase (organic, natural, etc.), the price can vary quite a bit from one brand to another. Don’t forget that some breeds like Great Danes, for example, will have much more expensive nutrition requirements than say, Boston Terrirers.
Keep in mind that by purchasing in bulk and signing up with automatic delivery services like Chewy, you can save anywhere from 15% to 30%.
4) Vet visits
The cost of your dog’s annual physical, shots and other preventative care will vary quite a bit depending on the breed. Routine check-ups can often cost around $75 to $100 for smaller breeds while more exotic breeds with unique needs could potentially incur expenses in the hundreds each year just for basic preventative care.
5) Grooming & boarding expenses
Just because Fido doesn’t require a trip to the groomer’s once per month doesn’t mean you should cut back on his overall care regimen. When your canine companion has a bad case of fleas or some unsightly mats in his fur, that is an emergency situation and professional grooming might be required. Depending upon the breed, your dog could require daily brushings or just a weekly trim and bath.
Additionally, you should also consider whether boarding him at a doggie resort is necessary during those times when you’re on vacation and can’t bring him along with you to the hotel or rental home where you’ll be staying. If so, this will add another $100 to $150 per week on top of his regular food bill if he has to stay for longer than 4 days.
6) Special medical issues/ emergencies
Although dogs are built with amazing immune systems that give them the ability to heal on their own, there will be times when your furry companion gets sick or injured and needs medical treatment. Some may even require ongoing special dietary requirements to match such as Anal Gland problems.
Veterinary care for dogs is very expensive, and while some dog insurance plans can cover a portion of your pet’s annual wellness and emergency vet costs, you may still be responsible for a significant out-of-pocket expense that could put a huge dent in not only your wallet but also the number of resources that need to be dedicated towards emergency savings.
There are, of course, other expenses such as monthly chew toys and treats that you might factor in as well should your budget allow it. Just remember – do not overspend when it comes to keeping Fido healthy and happy! What’s important is to find the right balance between the price tag and how much you love your pup. Happy dog-owning!