Cost of Owning a Dog

Dogs are one of the most popular companion animals worldwide. This series of articles will discuss the basics of feeding, habitat, health, lifespan, size, grooming, time, breeding, equipment, and cost of caring for your dog. The focus of this article is cost.

There is plenty of information out there about how to care for and train your dog. However, most neglects a very important factor: what it will cost!

The estimates below are expressed in US Dollars and based on prices of food, accessories, and veterinary care in the Pacific Northwest, USA; your expenses may vary. However, they are excellent guidelines. This article covers initial cost (when you first buy your dog), and maintenance cost (which you will pay year-round).

These are also minimum figures -- you can, and are likely to, pay much more for any pet. All dogs need toys, bedding, and food, but pampering them with expensive pet beds, large cages or kennels, and an abundance or variety of treats, toys, and foods will increase the costs below considerably.

The biggest expense is also the most important. It is essential that you budget for veterinary examinations! No dog should be a "throw- away pet," and all should receive proper medical care. Illnesses and accidents are a part of life, and will occur. Even the healthiest dog needs annual vet exams, to catch potential health problems before they become serious (and more expensive to treat).

It's important to keep these figures in mind when checking out the darling puppies being given away for free outside of the grocery store. Thousands of pet owners acquire what they consider "free" pets, only to find out later that they are paying hundreds of dollars on care. You should also note that the costs listed here are purely money out of pocket, and do not include the amount of time you will need to spend training, grooming, and interacting with your dog. Time is, after all, money.

INITIAL COST: Bringing home a new puppy will cost you about $335. This includes $10 for puppy food, $150 for shots, $25 for sundries such as collar, lead, tag, and food dishes, $30 for toys, $20 for treats, $20 for grooming supplies, $30 for licensing, and about $50 for the puppy itself.

MAINTENANCE COST: Each year you will spend about $120 on dog food, $250 on vet bills, $15 on sundries such as collar, lead, and tag, $60 on toys, $130 on treats, $30 on licensing, $70 on medications like flea treatments or ear mite oil, and $55 on a short kennel stay, for an average of $730 per year, or $14 per week.

Keep in mind, these figures are for one dog only, and do not include the cost of pampering him, as many owners choose to do. That free puppy can easily run you $1,000 per year! Before committing yourself to dog ownership, be sure you can afford it.

Steph Bairey is a web developer and pet owner, with 25 years of pet care experience and 30-40 pets at any one time. Get immediate, reliable answers to your pet care questions at Steph's website, Practical Pet Care, located at
Copyright © 2001, Steph Bairey -- All Rights Reserved

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