The Cost of One Dog vs Two
Dogs are social animals, and are often happiest when they have another canine to keep them company. However, they are also expensive animals. When considering adding a second dog to your family, knowing the additional costs involved is essential to making an informed decision.
To accurately budget a new family member, however, you must first know what your current dog is costing you, what type of dog you wish to own and whether or not you want a puppy.
How Much Does One Dog Cost Per Year?
The primary expenses associated with dogs are food and veterinary care, along with small additional purchases throughout the year. Calculate these individual costs and then combine them for an average annual estimate.
You may or may not keep track of dog food purchases. If you do, you should have a good idea of how much your dog is eating. If not, however, here is a rough guide to the caloric needs of an active dog at various weights.
Daily Calories (kCal)
Assuming a good bag of dog food, at 30 lbs, contains approximately 50,000 Calories, and costs around $50.00:
Divide 50,000 by your dog's daily caloric needs. This number is the amount of days the bag of food will last. Dividing 50 by this number will give you your cost of dog food per day. Multiply this by 365 to get the cost of dog food per year.
$/yr = ( 50 / ( 50,000 / (daily calories needed) ) ) * 365
Assuming the dog is a healthy adult and already spayed and neutered, you will need to visit the vet once or twice a year to keep up on vaccinations and annual exams. Such an exam will likely cost around $200 for shots, medications, and various fees.
Assuming two vet visits per year, as well as heart-worm and flea preventatives, expect at least $400 per year in vet bills. It is wise to plan for $1000 a year, instead, as emergencies can and do happen at the most inopportune times.
Finally, budget in another $200 or so for treats, toys, and other small items. Dogs have a tendency to be spoiled by their owners, after all!
So, all in all, a dog can cost anywhere from $700 per year to $2000, barring major medical disasters. Size is a big factor in expense, obviously, as very large breeds will not only eat more but tend to be more prone to health problems.
Remember that dogs, like humans, will develop health problems as they age. Elderly dogs may cost several thousand a year in basic care. Many, many senior dogs end up with a sad fate, dying in a shelter because their owners could no longer take care of them. Plan ahead and save up to avoid this!
The Cost of an Additional Dog
It would be overly simplistic to say that a new dog will double your current costs. Obviously, if you own a Great Dane and want a Chihuahua, such a rule would be absurd. However, for two adult dogs of the same general weight, you can expect a rough doubling of expenses. If your new dog is of a different weight, you must calculate its cost above and add it to what you are already paying.
Puppies add new expenses to the list. They need several rounds of vaccinations, deworming, new collars as they grow, a crate, and countless other things. Most spend about $1000 for the first year of a puppy's life, regardless of size, although with bad luck the bills can quickly spike high into the thousands.
Every dog is different, and the numbers provided in this guide can only ever be a rough estimate of the true costs of owning dogs. New owners must do their research and know exactly how much they can afford to spend on another dog. If the numbers add up, it's best to wait. An uncountable number of dogs have been abandoned because their owners could no longer afford them. Always think before you take the plunge!