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Budgeting for Rover
Research of all kinds shows the many benefits of dog ownership, ranging from getting you off the couch to providing hours of cuddling and companionship. But those benefits are not free. So after you ask, “How much is that doggy in the window?,” ask yourself if you can afford it.
Kiplinger lists nine expenses every potential dog owner should understand and be prepared to pay:
The initial costs, including the purchase price, the initial medical exam, spaying or neutering, and basic supplies. These costs can vary widely, of course. If you buy a rare breed from a top breeder, you can expect to pay $1,000 or more – maybe lots more. On the other hand, if you adopt from a shelter, you probably will pay only a few hundred dollars or less, and that might include spaying or neutering. You also will need food and water bowls, a collar and leash, perhaps a crate, food and treats, and a variety of toys. And you might want to invest in professional training. These costs can run up to $1,625 or more, depending on the type and size of dog and where you live.
Food. Basically speaking, premium dog foods are better for your pet because they are made from high-quality ingredients. But they also cost more. Kiplinger says to figure on an annual cost of at least $55 for a small dog, $120 for a medium-size dog and $235 for a large dog. However, be aware that if your dog is a picky eater or develops allergies or other health conditions that require special food, your tab can be a lot higher.
Toys. Toys encourage your dog to interact with you, and they also keep it interested and give it something to chew on other than your couch or your shoes. In general, the cost of toys increases with the size of the dog. You should count on spending at least $40 a year on a small dog, $55 a year on a medium dog and $75 a year on a large dog.
Routine vet care. Your dog should see the vet at least once a year throughout its life. This will set you back about $210 a year for a small dog, $235 for a medium dog and $260 for a large dog.
Emergency vet care. This includes both sickness and accidents, and it can be very expensive. The average cost for cancer treatment for your dog is $3,500, while the average cost for surgery if your dog is hit by a car is $5,000, according to Kiplinger.
Pet insurance can help pay these costs – at an average cost of $225 year. Before you buy pet insurance, though, make sure you understand what it covers – and doesn’t cover. If your dog is a breed that is prone to cancer, for example, cancer treatments might be excluded.
Grooming can run from $265 a year for a small dog to $410 for a large one. Know before you buy whether your dog requires professional grooming. And learn to do things like clip its nails yourself.
Kenneling when you travel can set you back hundreds of bucks. You might want to find a friend or relative who will watch your pup when you are gone.
Dog walking. If you have to hire someone to walk your dog during the day while you are at work, that can add more than $5,000 a year to the cost of your dog ownership.