Buying a Dog? Figure the Cost BEFORE You Shop
Let’s face it…puppies are adorable. One look, one lick, can send common sense right out the door. But, buying a pet on a whim is not advisable. Pet ownership is a serious, and costly, responsibility. Estimates set annual costs from nearly $800 for small dogs to as high as $1,500 for the larger breeds. Multiply those costs by 15, an average life span for a dog, to help you decide if you’re ready for pet ownership. Here is a breakdown of costs:
Purebred or Pooch
A show quality purebred will cost you about $500 for a Labrador retriever, the most popular breed, to as much as $1,500 for a Chihuahua (this year’s fashion-accessory dog), according to an article by Sam O’Neill in Kiplinger’s May 2006 magazine. Sure, you can find a less expensive dog, but dealing with a reputable breeder gives you more assurance of getting a healthy dog that has been screened for inheritable diseases. But, remember, mixed breeds are often healthier than purebreds, and you can find great dogs that really need good homes at any animal shelter or dog sanctuary. The $50 – $150 you will typically pay usually covers initial vaccinations for pups and spaying or neutering costs.
Food for Fido
Costs will vary, depending on the size of your dog. Estimates range anywhere from $10 – $100 a month. And, cutting costs by buying the cheaper brands that lack important nutrients can cost you more in vet bills down the road, contributing to allergy problems, gastrointestinal distress, poor immune system due to lack of nutrients, behavior problems and more.
Keeping Your Hound Healthy
Every dog needs basic health care – puppies even more than adult dogs – including vaccinations, dental care, annual exams and neutering. A conservative estimate is $150 – $200 each year for adult dogs. Illness or accidents can drastically increase those costs.
Grooming costs, toys, collars, carriers and other miscellaneous expenses can add up to hundreds of dollars.