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Four Dog Expenses to Consider Before Adopting Fido

Posted By Crystal Stemberger On 07/14/2011 @ 1:42 pm In Personal Finance | 10 Comments

When my husband and I got married, the first big decision we made together was to adopt our first dog, Miss Doxie.  A few years later, we adopted another dog, Mr. Pug.  We knew these were big decisions because dogs, and pets in general, can be expensive.  They cost money from the day you get them to the day they go to doggy heaven.  I personally think that each dog I ever have in my life is more than worth it [3], but here are the costs to consider before getting a dog.

Adoption Fee or Purchase Price

Each of our dogs was a rescue.  Miss Doxie came from the Houston SPCA and Mr. Pug came from Pughearts.  Rescue organizations charge an adoption fee so that they can afford to continue rescuing animals.  Miss Doxie was $75 in 2005 and Mr. Pug was $200 in 2008.  Based on what I can see online, general rescue organizations like the SPCA have fees around $100-$200 right now and breed-specific rescues are $200-$400 right now.

If you decide to purchase a dog instead, you will be looking at anything between $50-$4,000 depending on the type of dog and who is selling it.  My husband’s cousin spent more than $1000 on a Border Collie puppy last year from a breeder in Dallas.  Seeing that their puppy and our rescue Pug ended up having the same allergies, I am more a fan of rescues.  If they’ll end up having the same issues, I much rather adopt a rescue dog than buy a puppy and take a chance.

Food

Compared to your own food budget, dog food doesn’t have to cost much at all.  You can even make your own dog food [4] if you’d like.  That said, I will be quoting prices for bagged, dry dog food.  If you don’t have to buy specialty foods for medical issues, you can find good quality food for $30 for a 30 pound bag.  Depending on the size of your dog, that means you may be spending $15-$60 a month on dog food. 

If you do end up with a pup with medical issues, you could end up paying $50 for a 16 pound bag of food like I do.  My Pug is allergic to meat, dairy, soy, wheat, and corn.  His vegetarian dog food is $50 a bag and lasts about 6 weeks.  His food and the senior blend we buy for Miss Doxie runs us about $45 a month overall.

Emergency Care

Simply put, emergency care for a dog is expensive.  A broken leg can cost thousands of dollars to fix.  Our rescue Pug had bad teeth when we got him, so we immediately were hit with a $400 bill for a teeth cleaning and the removal of 6 rotten teeth.  Once he developed food and environmental allergies, it cost $1500 over 18 months to get him better.  In short, if you have a dog, you may want to keep a few thousand dollars set aside for any emergency issues that may pop up.

Monthly Medicines

Healthy dogs do not need many maintenance medicines, but you will want to keep in mind heartworm prevention and flea prevention.  These can run about $20-$40 a month total.  As your pup gets older, you may also want to keep in mind vitamins or joint medicines which will run another $5-$10 a month.  If you and your dog are unlucky, they will have additional maintenance meds like Mr. Pug.  His daily eyedrops, steroids, ear meds, and medicated shampoo cost us an additional $20 a month.

What other costs should you keep in mind before getting a pet?

(Photo: chris2907 [5])


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[3] worth it: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/five-life-lessons-my-dog-has-taught-me.html

[4] make your own dog food: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/make-your-own-dog-food.html

[5] chris2907: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris2907/2442963694/sizes/l/in/photostream/

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