Do you have to be rich to get a dog? The short answer is no. But you do need to be mindful of the expenses that come with adopting a pooch. That’s because, if you don’t pay attention, you’ll find your wallet will feel a lot lighter than you expect.
We often think about the many benefits of bringing a dog home. Not only are they great and loyal companions, but there have been actual studies that show that they can have a positive effect on your immune system.
However, these thoughts alone can distract us from the fact that it does take some financial preparation and consideration before we go out looking for a pet to call our own. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider financially before getting a dog.
The Cost Of Adoption
You have a lot to think about when it comes to adopting a dog. Choosing the size, breed, and which shelter to get your dog from can already have a great effect on your wallet.
Some might consider going to a breeder as an option, but that cost can start from a whopping $500 and sky rocket towards $2000 or more.
I recommend going to an animal shelter and adopting a dog, as the price drops to an average of around $250 for the adoption fee depending on the organization, and some even have events or sponsorships that waive the fee.
Most rescue and shelter groups will also cover the costs of initial veterinary expenses which include neutering and general vaccinations. Plus, a lot of these wonderful pups really need a home.
The Cost Of Medicine, Supplies, Food, And More
Adoption fee aside, once you actually adopt a pet, you’ll now have to consider a lot of their basic needs, as this is a living, breathing animal.
The first things are vaccines and preventative medicines. Even if you adopt and the shelter covers the initial cost of vaccines, you would still need to have follow-up visits and possibly more vaccinations, especially when they’re young puppies.
These veterinary visits can range from $100 to $300 depending on your puppy’s health and where you go.
The next step to consider is lifelong care and dog supplies. There are two types of expenses we need to think about: one-time expenses and annual expenses.
One-time expenses are things we will usually purchase once in our dogs’ lifetime. These can be neutering, initial medical exams, collars, leashes, crates, and so on.
You may need to purchase some supplies again over the course of your dog’s life as needed, so they may not really be “one-time” expenses. However, they aren’t necessarily things you need to worry about through the whole year–probably only once a year at most.
The total cost of these one-time fees is usually in the range of $600.
The other expenses are ones you will buy year-round. These can be dog food, annual or follow-up medical exams, toys and treats, grooming, training classes, and insurance just to name a few. The total for annual costs can be about $700.
All in all, you could be potentially spending at least $1,000–often more–for the first year and more than $500 or so every year after that. That depends a lot on where you live, where you shop, and what kinds of products and services you buy.
Expect The Unexpected
Life can be unpredictable, not just for us humans, but for our dogs as well. Pair this with the fact that dogs are curious animals by nature, and you’ll realize anything can happen. This is something we as pet parents need to be wary of.
Dogs tend to eat some things they’re not supposed to or get hurt while chasing a bird or a cat. Accidents happen, just like they do with human kids.
When these types of emergencies happen, we need to make sure we are financially ready for unplanned expenses. Depending on the situation, a visit to your emergency pet clinic can cost upwards of $500 to $5,000.
It’s always best to make sure you set aside savings for emergencies. Investing in an insurance policy for your pet is also worth looking at, as they might cover or at least cut some of these expenses in half. However, be careful to read the fine print and check reviews of any insurance company before you buy a policy.
Be mindful of your dog and their surroundings in order to prevent any mishaps like swallowing a toy or foreign object.
If You’re Financially Responsible, Is It Worth It?
Yes, it is definitely worth having a dog as long as you are financially stable enough to support them. And like all expenses, there are many ways to cut costs and save money.
You can learn to train your dog, yourself, and look for deals at pet stores when it comes to food and other items you need to buy. You can also learn to groom your dog instead of paying a hefty price at a grooming salon.
Some shelters and rescue run low- or no-cost spay/neuter clinics and provide veterinary services to those in financial need. Check your local shelter’s community outreach programs to see what they offer.
It might sound like a lot of money, but having a loving and faithful pup by your side is priceless. They’re life companions who will always be there for you, no matter what.
They can bring you joy and laughter, even when they misbehave. I mean, there is a reason we call them our best friends, right?
Do you think you need to be rich to own a dog? What sort of expenses did you have when you adopted your pup? Let us know in the comments below!
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