Owning a pet can cost money and I’m not talking chump change neither. There are significant start-up and ongoing costs that should be factored in to your decision to be a pet owner. So often I see people who get googly-eyed over a small kitten or a small fluffy dog and jump right in and adopt one or take one on for free. Impulse purchases are the worst and are often the expenses that will cost you most out-of-pocket. Dogs depending on size can live 8-14 years and the costs of owning a dog can mount up according to Dr. John Williams at petplace.com.
Dr. Williams goes on to say
Small to Med dogs
- Estimated lifespan 14 years
- Start Up costs $740-$1325 (first year)
- Annual Costs $500-$875
- Lifetime Costs $7240- $12,700
- Estimated lifespan 8 years
- Start Up Costs $1020-$1825 (first year)
- Annual Costs $690-$875
- Lifetime Cost $5850-$7950
There are reasons people offer their pets for free, mainly costs they never considered but other reasons such as allergies, not getting on with other pets or family members, scratching, illness (which they may not even tell you about) and the list goes on.
A great example and I’m always going back to our mate (good thing she doesn’t read this blog) who is struggling to pay her bills and keep a roof over her head due to a large debt load. We bumped into her last week and as we were catching up about what’s been happening in our lives she goes on to say she took on a baby dog. Don’t ask me what breed the dog is as I was more in awe about why on earth she would commit to a owning a dog. Her fiancée who has kids wanted this dog to love and to take care of she tells us. They live in an already busy apartment with no space that is practically falling down around them. They can’t save money, they are in debt, hardly able to buy groceries and they bought a dog. Are you shaking your head yet? If not, now’s a good time.
I’m not saying that people who are in debt aren’t able to care for a pet as that is not the case. The problem is when your budget is already stretched to cover the roof over your head and food on the table it’s not likely you can handle ongoing costs of the pet which can add up especially if your pet gets ill. As a dog owner since his birth our pet gets all the love and attention he needs and is well taken care of with a staggering 3 walks per day. He’s a lucky boy! He is part of our family and we know we will be devasted when he is no longer with us. They sort of grow on you and you treat them as part of the clan.
Another example is our neighbours who have a dog and seriously are that lazy to walk the dog around the block to do his business. They literally walk the dog out the front door and tell him to hurry and do his business on the front lawn and then cleans it up. The dog is a young, vibrant dog that always wants to play with our dog when we walk by, but that would never happen. Although not everyone may not be able to walk a dog due to illness or disability a back yard where the dog can run free is always good or simply paying someone to walk the dog daily is also a good idea. There are many benefits to adopting a pet and for some a companion or someone just to be at the front door when they come home from work is all they need.
One of the young girls in our neighbourhood put up a sign on the mailbox looking for work walking dogs. I thought, brilliant a young entrepreneur at her finest starting at the age of 7. She also delivers flyers on a weekly basis as is never late. You can tell this child is in it for the money and is grasping what responsibility and saving money is all about. She told me the other day when I asked her what she does with all her paper route money and she responded that she is saving it for her future. Sounds to me like her parents have taught her about finance from a young age.
We’ve been lucky with our dog as he has given us no problems over the years and has always had good check-ups at the veterinarian every year. Sure a pet costs money but if you can’t invest the time, money and love a pet needs… don’t bother getting one. You may just end up frustrated and it’s not the pets fault who simply wants to be in a loving home where he/she is safe.
Costs Associated with owning a pet can vary depending on the kind of pet you have such as ferret, snakes, rabbit, fish, guinea pigs, dogs and cats. For the most part costs are inevitable and should be included in the budget in projected expenses if something should happen. There’s nothing worse than having no money to pay for your pet’s illness or emergency operation.
Ways We Have Saved Money With Our Pet
Our pet can run us around $800-1000 a year factoring in expenses and potential emergency expenses so we need to make sure that we set this money aside. We have been fortunate to have used pet coupons for treats and pet food the past year which greatly reduced costs with our pet. Since we are now paying for food and treats we have had to make changes to our budget. We now save $83.33 a month for the dog. Some people include pet in their grocery budget but we are not sure if we can do that yet. We may give it a try once we see where our new budget takes us as we are already pushing the envelope with our grocery shops as it is. If we don’t use all the pet savings at least we know the money will be there. We pick up pet toys for free at garage sales as well as other items like a dog bowl etc. Sometimes when pet owners have a pet who passes away they often donate or give away their pets belongings.
Can You Afford To Own A Pet?
Below is what we typically would pay for or save for each year to own our pet. Everyone may have different needs for their pet but the bottom line is, pets are not free or cheap to own especially if they get ill or have a disease. I know cleaning our dogs teeth ran us around $700.00. So think about what responsibilities you are taking on and whether you are able to take care of ongoing costs associated with being a responsible pet owner. Love sometimes is just not enough.
Typical Costs Associated With Owning A Dog
- One time fee -Adoption Costs can vary depending on breed (unless you get your pet for free)
- Food-Monthly We feed our pet dry food from the local shops. Speciality, diet or adult food can run you more money especially if it’s vet food.
- Dog Treats/Dog Cookies- Monthly and these can get costly depending on what you buy.
- Toys – Typically we get them free but they can be costly
- Poop Bags- Monthly
- Poop Bin- Buy when needed.. ie: wear and tear, goes missing (we’ve lost ours in rain storms, wind)
- Accessories ie: water bowls, booties, jackets,walking lead, dog/cat bed,blankets, cushions, scratching posts
- Annual Licence
- Pet Insurance
- Medical Costs- including dental work and for any other illness, medications
- Crate for travelling- one time cost
- Dog Bed- One time cost
- Dog Pillow- We buy this once per year. Just like we need a new mattress or pillow so will your pet.
- Travel Bag- One time fee to carry items when travelling
- Dog Training – Our dog went through training in the early years
- Spay/Neutering- One time fee
- Micro-Chip- Our dog is micro-chipped -a one time fee
- Blood Tests- When needed by Vet
- Vaccinations- Heart worm, Flea and Tick Control- We do this every year
- Pet Sitting- If you are going on vacation this can run you about $25- $50 or more depending on if your pooch is dropped off at the Posh Pet Hotel or a friend’s house.
- Grooming Costs (our neighbour has the travelling spa come to his house)
- Dog House- Our dog stays indoors
How much does it cost you to own your pet annually?
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- Reader Question: How Much Debt is Too Much Before You Need To Budget? (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- 5 Reasons You Won’t Get Out of Debt (canadianbudgetbinder.com)
- Premium Pet Food: Is It Worth The Extra Money? (denver.cbslocal.com)
- Pet boarding: What to consider (confused.com)
- The Benefits of Adopting a Pet (home.arlboston.org)
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