If you have been reading our articles, you have by now seen that owning a dog requires a lot of time and energy. It also requires money. Dogs are expensive because they need many of the same things that we need. Owning a dog is a regular expense too. Not just a one time purchase and then it’s over.
1. Vaccinations – Dogs require vaccinations and boosters from the time they are small. Much like an infant, they are not protected from major diseases until they have had all of their booster shots. This means, much like a human baby, limiting their exposure to other dogs and other people outside their home. It’s critical that they not contact wild animals during this phase as well.
2. Preventive health care – Dogs should been seen by the vet annually. This allows the vet to run heartworm tests, among others. There are a number of canine diseases and some breeds are more at risk than others, but heartworms affect all breeds if not prevented. We will discuss this in detail in another article because it is such a big risk but easily prevented if the right steps are taken.
3. Food – which food to buy, which to avoid, what is best for which breed, is a hot topic. Owning a dog means feeding them the right nutrients. Dogs were domesticated from wild animals but they no longer eat like their ancestors, the wolves. There is a lot of controversy about how, and what, a dog should eat. Much of it depends on how your dog lives. Active dogs, such as those participating in sports, hunting, swimming, etc, will require a much different food source than a dog that spends much of its day laying around the home.
Many experts believe you should feed your dog only raw food such as fresh or cooked veggies and raw meat. Others frown on this which is why there are hundreds of dog foods to choose from on the market. We will discuss this in a separate article, however, know this – dog food is expensive if you want a healthy dog, free from health issues, with a healthy coat and less vet bills. Food is more than half the battle. Again, we will dive into this controversy in a later article so you can learn how to find the best solution for your dog.
4. Crates, Leashes, Toys & Other Items – Crate training is a great way to house train your new puppy. A crate also provides him/her a safe place to rest. Many dogs like the “den” feeling so having a quiet place of their own where they can curl up or stretch out and rest helps calm them from learning to be in a new environment. When you first bring home a new puppy or grown dog, he will likely be apprehensive at first. This is all new to him. Give her time to acclimate to the new place, walking around and smelling things. If you have another dog, there are ways to introduce them so that neither is threatened. We will address that in the next section. You will also need to have toys for your dog. Dogs need stimulation for their brain and body. You can find some great affordable toys and treats at: http://bit.ly/dogtoysbox where they do all the thinking for you!
5. Emergencies – Owning a dog is like having a child in many ways. There will be emergencies. The dog may come to the door with a large cut that requires a trip to the vet for stitches. Your dog may eat something that you did not intend (such as chocolate which is toxic to a dog) and you have to take the dog to the emergency vet after hours. Your dog may get out of the fence and become injured in some manner and require surgery. Or your dog may have allergies and you spend money at the vet trying to learn what is causing your dog’s hair to fall out in large clumps.
To better prepare for the types of things that can come up, set back a little money each pay day. This allows you to have a budget for your dog so that you are ready for the annual vet visit and any unforeseen problems. You can contact your vet and get an estimate of what the charges will be each year for their annuals.
Once you determine the food, you can budget that into your grocery bill or your dog budget. Toys can be purchased as needed or on a subscription as listed above where it is affordable, safe and tailored to YOUR dog.
The biggest issue dog owners have relating to finances is underestimating the cost of caring for their dog. Talking to dog owners, we often hear that they may need to “give up their dog” because it is too expensive. Plan up front and you can know that your furry friend will always have the best of care.
When you adopt a dog, he or she should know that he can rely on you for a safe home. At Canine Inspired, we believe that a dog is a member of the family. We know there are extreme circumstances that warrant re-homing a dog but if planned correctly, finances shouldn’t be a bar against having a happy, healthy dog. With a bit of planning, owning a dog doesn’t have to be a financial strain.
Next time we will discuss the how to introduce your new dog into your home with your existing dog(s).