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Articles > Dogs

The Cost Of Owning A Dog

Topic: Is a dog right for me?

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Filed under Dogs
Tags: Grooming, Feeding, Health Problems

Free To A Good Home

1 year old Female not fixed Belgian malinois. She is great with kids and free to a good home


Acworth, GA

Belgian Malinois

As with any type of pet, there are costs associated with owning a dog. Not surprisingly, the cost of owing a larger dog is higher than the cost of owning a small breed, simply because the larger the dog, the more food they will typically consume. Regardless of size, the basic costs will be the same with regards to spaying and neutering, providing play things, bedding, housing as well as training and routine health issues. In addition, many owners now choose pet insurance, which is an excellent way to reduce vet bills by purchasing a small monthly or yearly insurance policy for your dog.

In order to understand how much it will cost to own a dog, it is first important to consider the one time costs, as well as the monthly or yearly costs. Typically, the first cost to owning a dog is usually the purchase price of the dog or puppy. Many owners mistakenly believe that there is no need to buy a health checked and vaccinated puppy for $250 dollars or more, rather they choose a "free" puppy or a very low cost puppy from a neighbor or friend. While there are some very good free and low cost puppies, you can also be getting into a lot of expensive medical bills, should that puppy have a genetically inherited medical condition such as canine hip dysplasia or progressive retinal atrophy. The very cheap puppy can quickly turn into the amazingly costly adult dog. Usually a puppy from a reputable breeder will have less overall health bills or possible health issues as it matures. Many breeders will also offer assistance with the costs of medical bills, should it be a genetic or inherited health condition. The same is true with adult dogs from a shelter or rescue. There will typically be the cost of adoption that is usually under $200, but this money will be used to help future dogs that are in need of re-homing and adoption, so it truly goes to a good cause. The dogs from the shelter will also be spayed or neutered, as well as vet checked and healthy.

After the cost of the dog or puppy, there is then the cost of supplies. Usually supplies will need to be purchased infrequently, and only replaced when they become damaged or worn out. For most dogs, the larger the toys the more expensive they will be, but typically toys, grooming supplies and a good leash or lead and collar will not cost more than $100. Of course, if you wish to get designer collars and leads, clothing or even fashion accessories for your dog then this bill can be considerably higher.

For basic living necessities, your dog will need a sturdy, non-tip and non-skid water and food dish, as well as a bed area. Again, the larger the dog the more costly these items will be. With careful shopping around either on the internet or at the larger pet stores, it is possible to pick up all these supplies for less than $50. If you wish to have a full dog bed or a specially made sleeping space for the dog, the price will increase. On the other hand, a dog bed is easy to make, with a folded old blanket or some pillows for the smaller breeds. Some dogs would just as soon sleep beside or on the bed with you, saving all the cost.

After the one time costs, there are many different ongoing or reoccurring costs to owing a dog. These are largely costs associated with feeding, medical costs, flea and worming treatments and pet insurance costs. Although the food costs are rather variable based on the size and type of dog that you own and the type of diet the dog is on, it will still be relatively consistent throughout the dogs life. For most average sized dogs, feed a premium kibble as recommended by most breeders and experts. The cost of food will be approximately $25 to $40 per month, or up to $500 per year. Larger dogs will have a much higher food bill, and with some breeds and some high quality foods costing double or more this amount.

Vet bills will vary from dog to dog and breed to breed, but usually the initial puppy vaccination will cost between $200 and $260 for the series of shots. In addition, spaying and neutering will typically range from about $125 up to $250, depending on the size of the dog and if they are required to stay overnight for observation. Regular flea treatments will cost about $20 per month if you use a liquid "spot on" treatment, as well as spray treatments for the bedding and furniture, which will average out to about $240 per year. Heartworm medication, which is absolutely necessary in many areas, will typically cost approximately $10 per month, provided the dog does not develop heartworms prior to the start of treatment. Worming costs are about $6 to $10 per quarter or up to $40 per year. After the puppy has completed the vaccination series, the cost of yearly vet check ups and boosters is usually between $60 and $200.

Some dogs will also have grooming costs, which typically range between $40 to $200 dollars per visit, depending on the breed of dog and what the services are that the groomer will offer. Dog insurance to protect against health issues and medical bills will vary based on the coverage, but will usually cost between $130 to $300 per year per dog, again depending on the type of dog, overall insurance coverage and any conditions that may already exist for the pet.

What does this all add up to? It really depends on the type of items that you purchase, as well as all the little extras that you choose to get for your pet. Most owners of small to medium sized dogs can anticipate spending about $600-$800 per year just on the basics. Additional "extras" will all add to this cost. Owners of medium to giant breeds of dogs will spend $600 to $1100 per year per pet. Over the average 12-year lifespan for dogs, this comes to a total of between $7200 and $13,200 per dog! Vet bills can dramatically increase these totals, and breeding dogs will be much more costly to raise and care for than spayed or neutered animals.

Other articles under "Is a dog right for me?"

Article 1 - "Your Commitment To A Dog"
Article 3 - "Dogs For Families"
Article 5 - "Purebred Versus Mixed Breed"
Article 6 - "The Cost Of Owning A Dog"
Article 7 - "Responsibilities of A Dog Owner"

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