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Costs Of Owning A Dog

Updated on September 18, 2007
Fido isn't a one time purchase. He's going to cost you money on a regular basis, just like a child would. You are going to have feed him, keep him clean and free of parasites, and you are going to have to keep him safe. If you answer no to any of the following questions, you are probably better off waiting until you can say yes.

Can you afford a good dog from a good breeder?

If you can’t, any other source you purchase a dog from is a big risk. Character and temperament are genetic. Reputable breeders take good care of the mother and good care of the puppies until they have new homes. Mom and Pop breeders are backyard breeders just trying to make a buck. Their puppies may look cute, but they might be downright dangerous in terms of personality – you won’t know until they pass socialization age.

Note: I’m all for taking a dog from the pound, but realize these dogs often have socialization issues or housebreaking issues and it isn’t easy to re-train an older dog. Make sure you have the patience for this kind of thing, it’s not fair to the dog if you don’t.

Can you afford quality pet food?

If you want a healthy dog, you need to feed it quality food. Click here to find out why. This means avoiding all those cheap brands you see in Walmart and your local puppy-mill-supporting pet shops. Depending on his size, Fido’s food could cost you $40-$60 bucks a month.

Can you afford to spay or neuter your dog?

If you get a puppy from a breeder, you’re going to have to cover this expense yourself. It can cost several hundred dollars. If you don’t, you are putting your animal at risk for unplanned puppies and a number of diseases, including cancer.

Can you afford monthly heartworm, flea, tick and other parasite prevention?

Some parts of the US have fleas and parasites all year round, and if that's the case, Fido will need this every month.

Can you afford quality dog toys?

Your dog should only have access to well-made toys. And you should expect to replace them periodically, when they begin to show wear.

Can you afford yearly vaccinations and trips to the vet?

Dogs require rabies and distemper vaccinations yearly – and depending on where you live, there may be other recommended vaccines as well.

Can you afford emergency surgery?

Dogs have been known to swallow things. Things that won’t come out on their own, and have to be removed immediately – or cause death. This could cost 500-1000 bucks.

Can you afford grooming?

This one you can do on your own, but remember quality products cost money.

Can you afford the medical bills if your dog attacks someone else’s child or pet?

This last one is a biggie and one I hope none of us ever needs to experience. But just imagine it for a moment. If your dog is not trained correctly, things like this happen – and it doesn’t have to be a Pit Bull (which, btw, are perfectly nice dogs when raised by reputable breeders and owned by responsible owners.)

So think about your bottom line. If you decide you can afford it, see my next article, in which I’ll be discussing the needs you’ll have to be able to meet.

xx Isabella

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