Whether it’s truly realistic or not, the fact remains that many of us want to welcome a dog into our lives. The joy they bring is incomparable. From providing companionship to reducing causes and symptoms of mental health problems like anxiety and depression, dogs are wonderful to have around in more than one way. They have also been proven to do wonders for our physical health. For a start, they get us up off the sofa and out walking – an activity that comes with numerous benefits to our physical and emotional health. It also involves more trips to the park and just a significantly larger amount of time outside undertaking new activities.
We don’t need to convince you that owning a dog is great, you know that, we know that, everybody knows that. We’re here today to get into the nitty-gritty of the expenses involved in bringing a dog into your life. Obviously there’s the cost of actually buying/acquiring the dog, vet bills and the cost of toys, beds, bowls and food. Then there are a few other things that pop up that no one really thinks about in the beginning. For example, when you go away you need to find someone to take care of your dog, like a pet sitter, or organise housing at a pet hotel or kennel and you might want to start forking out for a service like pet insurance. The other thing is that we come to love our dogs very much, which means we constantly want to spoil them with new things and treats that aren’t necessarily in the budget.
With all of these things aside, we’re here to show you that as long as you have a little bit of money in your budget that could be allocated to a dog, you should be able to afford one with relative ease. Hooray!
So let’s not beat around the bush any longer. There are basically three types of costs to consider, even if you’re being quite frugal about the whole thing, and you need to ask yourself some honest questions and give yourself some honest answers. If you answer yes for all three, then adopt a dog without hesitation. If you get a “no,” then you might want to reconsider the timing.
1. Do you have enough money coming in each month/week/year (disposable income) to care properly for a dog?
We took a look at a few sources, such as the ASCPA, before coming to our conclusion on the estimated annual costs involved in taking care of all of your dog’s needs. So, for a medium sized dog who won’t miss out on anything, you’re looking at a minimum of about $800. To put that a bit more immediately into perspective, that’s about $66 a month. If you’ve got at least that much left at the end of each month then you should be in a position to bring a furry friend into your life. Remember however, this is only an estimate, so it’s of course safer to have more than this. We would recommend a minimum of $100 a month available for the needs of your dog, particularly in the case of unforeseen issues, but that’s a whole individual category that we will address in the third point
2. Am I able to afford the actual cost of buying/adopting a dog?
The cost of buying/adopting varies drastically depending on where you are intending to adopt/buy from. We always recommend adoption from shelters and rescue organisations, which is not only a moral choice but a much more affordable one. If you want to buy a purebred puppy then the reality is that it will be extremely expensive, likely starting at around that $1000 mark. Dogs up for adoption however can start from as low as $50 and often come with much of their vet work already done. An added bonus of adopting is that they money you give goes back into the rescue organisation and towards helping other dogs find families and avoid fates that none of us want to think about. We recommend checking your local pounds or taking at look at the Animal Welfare League, RSPCA and Pet Rescue. There are hundreds of organisations that have many dogs available and are in need of support, try a google or Facebook search for your local area or even for the breed you might be after.
Also keep in mind that during this process you’ll need to pay for all the items that your dog will require when they move into your home; the essentially like bowls, toys, beds and anything that will help with creature comforts and relaxation.
Basically what this means is that you will need to accept that dogs require upfront cash as well as ongoing, monthly or weekly investment.
3. Are you prepared/do you have a savings account to help deal with unforeseen expenses?
None of us want to think about anything drastic happening to our beloved pets. Unforeseen incidents don’t always have to be life and death but the reality is that things to pop up and they often cost a relatively large amount of money. This can be from the requirement of scans to a tick bite to needing a surgery of some sort. Anyone who loves dogs wants them to remain active and happy and for them to enjoy their lives to the fullest. This means they have to be in full health, but it also means that injuries and accidents may very well occur. Like we said, it doesn’t need to be a terminal case, it can be as simple as a broken bone of a ligament problem to rack up hundreds of dollars in vet costs. If you’ve got savings or are willing to put some money aside for these purposes, then there’s no problem, but if not, it might not be fair on you or a dog.
For the most part, it comes down to good planning. As long as you’ve got the potential to afford the financing of a dog then you can probably figure it out. After all, you can’t put a price on the love we receive from our loyal best friends. However, one must make realistic and appropriately timed decisions.
What do you think? Do many people have dogs they can’t really afford? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!
Tiahn Wetzler is a journalist, writer, editor and animal lover. Follow her on Instagram @tiahnwetzler