The costs and benefits of the family dog

This is a guest post by Justin Reames, who blogs at The Family Finances.

Growing up, I remember watching shows like “Lassie” and movies like “Old Yeller” and “Where the Red Fern Grows”. These were old movies when I was a kid, but they were free to rent from the library, so we watched more than our fair share of old movies.

Because of those shows, I always thought it would have been nice to have a dog. The closest thing we had to a family pet was a turtle that my grandfather and I caught on a fishing trip. I had to keep it outside in a small tub, and after a week or two he ended up missing. Fast forward to adulthood. After buying our house in the fall of 2008, we soon decided to get a dog.

After researching different breeds online, we decided to adopt a retired racing greyhound. He's been a great dog, and we have no regrets about getting him. He's well-trained and gets along great with our baby boy. The adoption fee was something like $250, and that included neutering, three months of heart-worm pills, a leash, and a collar. I thought this was very reasonable. We knew there would be some upfront costs, such as a bed, crate, and some toys. And we knew he would need food and vet checkups.

I “knew” that we would have all these expenses. But we were so excited about getting a dog and didn't really think too much about the long-term costs. I think a lot of people tend to follow that same thought process about getting a pet. It seems like a really good idea, and the upfront costs aren't too bad. But for a lot people the recurring costs of pet ownership are enough to stretch their monthly budget over the limit of what they can really afford.

The True Costs

I just reviewed the final figures for our 2011 expenses (I'm an accountant; I just can't help myself), and the line item for pets is pretty steep indeed. We spent just over $1,300 on our dog, or around $110 a month. Here is the breakdown:

  • Food: $912/year ($76/month)
  • Medication (heart-worm and flea preventative): $176/year ($15/month)
  • Toys and treats: $100/year ($8/month)
  • Vet bills: $120/year ($10/month)

Our annual expense runs a little higher than the national average. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the average annual cost for a large dog is around $900. What drives our cost higher is food. Our dog has some kidney issues and is on special food to help process the nutrients in his food. Needless to say, this food is substantially more expensive than the Purina we used to buy him. The point is that you never know when something like this will come about and drive up your monthly expenses. Another example? In 2010 we found our dog had a small lump growing on his belly that cost $400 to remove. Thankfully that was only a one-time thing, but again you never know what's going to happen.

The Benefits

While the costs are certainly significant, there are also great benefits to having a dog. We love our dog and would no sooner give him up than we would our son. He's a great companion and greets me at the door with his tail wagging every evening. When it's nice outside, he forces us to exercise by taking him out for a walk in the evenings. He even provides some security as he can look pretty intimidating (though he wouldn't hurt a thing). As our son gets older, it's nice to know that he'll have a dog to keep him company. They can play together out in the yard, chase each other through the house, and all those other things little boys do with their dogs. I remember going to my friend's house and playing with his dogs and what fun it was.

Even going beyond the intangible benefits of pet ownership, there are actual physical benefits as well. A number of studies have shown that pet owners are less stressed, have lower cholesterol, and can even live longer. See this article at WebMD for 27 such benefits. Our dog greatly enriches our lives. To us the benefits definitely outweigh the costs.

The Bottom Line

This is not to say that everyone should or shouldn't get a pet, but before you actually go and get one you need to seriously look into the future costs and make sure there is room in your monthly budget to handle it. The last thing anyone wants is to bond with a pet for a year or two, then realize that it's just too difficult to make ends meet from month to month.

How much do you spend on your pets each month? Do you budget for regular pet expenses and unexpected bills?

More about...Budgeting

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Leah
Leah
8 years ago

I should probably tally it up and see how much we really spend on our cat. She has a once a year vet visit around $100, and then there are the regular expenses of litter and food. I know it is little enough that we don’t really notice it in our cash flow. One caution I want to add, for anyone trying to do a pet on a budget, is to be careful about what kind of food the pet receives. Your pet certainly can survive on cheap pet food. If you’re lucky, the pet will even do fine and… Read more »

Vicky
Vicky
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

Mutts are not always healthier than purebreds. Most mutts are a result of someone taking two dogs and sticking them together, or someone’s dog simply escaped. Breeding two dogs of unknown health to each other does not always end up so well – mutts can have just as many health problems as purebreds. However, badly bred purebreds have TONS of inherent problems. If you want to get a purebred, that’s fine – but it really is better to do the research and find a breeder who has a history of healthy dogs. I’ve rescued dogs my whole life until I… Read more »

Leslie Rene
Leslie Rene
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

Agreed. Backyard breeders who sell “designer dogs” like to use hybrid vigor as a selling point, saying that the hybrid pups get all of the best genes from both breeds. And I’m not dissing mixed breeds. Absolutely not, I love them and this is often the case.

It is just as likely that a mixed-breed pet will inherent all of the predisposed genetic diseases and temperament issues from BOTH breeds. The dogs who suffer from these issues are heartbreaking cases to see.

You’re not buying a puppy or a dog. You’re buying a breeder.

Dawn
Dawn
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

I completely agree that just because a dog is a mutt and not purebred doesn’t guarantee it will be healthy. But I do believe that as Leah said, statistically, mixed-breed dogs have less breed specific problems than purebreds. I also believe there is a big difference between a mixed-breed with 2 or 3 breeds involved, and one with numerous breeds. I’ve had 2 purebred dogs and several mixed-bred dogs. Both purebred dogs had numerous health issues that were breed specific and cost by far the most in vet bills. Out of the mixed-bred dogs, one of them has had multiple… Read more »

Dog Lover
Dog Lover
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

Great point about the dog food. Our 5.5 year old American Staffordshire has never been given “grocery store” pet food. She has had high-quality food her whole life, and zero health issues. She only goes to the vet for vaccinations and check ups. And I know this will get a lot of eye rolls, but we don’t give either of our pets tap water. It’s not very high quality where we live, and the cat actually refuses to drink it. Finally, with a 28-year-old cat in the house, I feel like someone needs to mention that you never really know… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

What about the cost of putting up a fence? Home repair from damage? I know dogs can chew baseboards and furniture, damage carpet, and scratch nice hardwood floors. Cats can tear up all kinds of things as well (like furniture or the thin material called cambric under boxsprings, chairs, and couches).

Jill
Jill
8 years ago
Reply to  Leah

One advantage of going purebred is that you can research potential costs for maintenance. I grew up with American Cocker Spaniels and have always had at least one in my life recently. They’re expensive to keep if you keep them well. They need to be groomed every 6 weeks at about $45 a pop if they have a heavy coat. But more than that, they have a very long, extensive list of genetic health problems. After the heartbreak of glaucoma and renal failure, my husband and I decided it was time for a healthier breed. The health issues were expensive,… Read more »

Marianne
Marianne
8 years ago

Our expenses are similar to yours except for food. We used to buy a more expensive food (about $50/ month) but then switched to a less expensive food that our kennel uses. It costs a bit less than $30/ month. We hesitated to switch to the less expensive food for the same reason that Leah mentions above. When we first had our cat we fed him inexpensive grocery store catfood and he has had recurring UTIs ever since (even now that we feed him good, vet approved food). The ingredients on the cheaper dog food are the same as the… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Marianne

If your cat has UTIs just say no to kibble, even the “vet approved” kibble will promote dehydration. Feed him canned food only, and avoid fish/seafood as they are supposedly high in magnesium which causes urinary problems. Also, if you want to avoid diabetes stay clear of foods high in carbohydrate– even grain-free Wellness is made with things like carrots and pumpkins and sweet potatoes, and our cat got sick on it. We currently feed the brat “Before Grain” cans which claim to be “96%” animal and helped him go into remission– keeping fingers crossed. Raw homemade foods are better… Read more »

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

What he said! Kibble, vet approved or no, is an inferior food choice. It has it’s time and place, necessary for the huge convenience and mess factor over raw/homemade, but if you’ve a cat or a dog with health problems, particularly kidney/bladder issues, there simply is not enough moisture inherent in a kibble diet for proper processing. That said, all kibbles are not created equal. In case you haven’t gotten the memo, skip the grocery store. In fact, skip most big box in general. At all costs. Purina, Beneful, Pedigree, Iams, Ol Roy, etc, etc, etc. Garbage. Filler. If you… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

In the case of my (temporarily) diabetic cat, even top-quality kibble like Orijen was made with too many carbs, in spite of the “primal” claim (they’ve recently increased their animal component from 75 to 80%, but still…) Dogs can have a more flexible diet but cats are really exclusive carnivores and don’t need “20% fruits and vegetables” even if they are “high quality” pumpkin, apples, carrots, spinach, etc… see: http://orijen.ca/products/cat_kitten/ingredients 20% fruits and vegetables and that’s a top of the line kibble. I’m sticking to the 96% carnivore product for now and trying to switch to raw homemade, but it’s… Read more »

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago
Reply to  Marianne

Marianne, I also come from a farm and recently had to euthanize my 18 year old cat due to a cancerous tumor. At that point or age, nothing can be done since (a) they probably won’t survive the surgery and (b) the 2 vets I saw (I got a second opinion) won’t attempt to treat cancer on a cat that’s over 10 years old – 18 is way past their threshold. This might be different for dogs. At some point you know what you have to do because you feel horrible and selfish for not doing it. It’s still the… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

I really love country vets, who have large animals in their practices. After I moved to the city, it took several vet-practice jumps to find a vet who didn’t treat me like a monster for considering cost when thinking about treating my animals.

We currently have a 20 year old cat who cost practically nothing for the first 15 years of her life, and 10 year old cat that had expensive early medical problems – if the 10 year old cat had been in my life 10 years earlier, I would have had to euthanize her instead of treating.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
8 years ago

Here’s the thing. The quantitative costs of a dog were laid out, but for benefits, only the qualitative benefits of a dog were laid out. So it’s relatively easy to say that having a dog is no great benefit becuase it’s only costing you money. I think this article could have tried harder at quantizing the benefits of dog ownership. Owners are less stressed and more happy? What’s the savings on medication that goes along with that? etc.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

I’m not sure you can quantify the benefits of pet ownership. I grew up with dogs, but I couldn’t put a price tag on the benefits. It’s not like I can compare my life now to what it might have been without dogs — I just know my life is richer for having shared it with four legged friends 😉

Robyn
Robyn
8 years ago

I think I used to spend about $20-$30 a month on home security monitoring before we moved. Burglars are less likely to break into a home with dogs (not always, but I’ve read that in more than one article). Right there is about $240-360 savings/yr. Also, I live in a rural area with small children. Our dogs have killed snakes in our backyard. You could look at this as a cost aversion for medical bills or even the cost of my child’s life, for which nobody can put a value on.

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago
Reply to  Robyn

Yeah our current dog killed a rat that my husband discovered on the front porch. He started yelling to keep the kids away, the rat made a break for it and it was game over. Maybe he has some rat terrier in him!

Zach
Zach
8 years ago

One thing I notice you don’t mention is boarding. Especially for large breed dogs (we have a Boxer) where you cannot easily take them on trips with you. If you don’t have a friend who can watch your dog the expense can be substantial. We just went on a week long family vacation and the cost of boarding was $360, and that’s a bargain for my area. I take my boxer to a farm turned kennel where she can run and play with other dogs, but boarding her at a vet would cost more once you add in the extra… Read more »

betsy22
betsy22
8 years ago
Reply to  Zach

That’s the major reason that I don’t have a dog. I travel for work frequently enough that a. it would be quite expensive and b. it doesn’t seem fair to a dog to board it 5-6 weeks per year, every year. Oh well, someday.

Jean
Jean
8 years ago
Reply to  betsy22

Betsy, while I don’t travel extensively, I find myself with lots of long days, between work and volunteer commitments. SO, I have cats. They can stay by themselves for longer periods of time than dogs, and I can even leave them for a weekend without having to get someone to come & check on/take care of them – extra litter in the box and extra food & water, and they’re good to go. Not always happy about being left alone, but they survive.

Sara
Sara
8 years ago
Reply to  Jean

On one unforgettable weekend, I had a sitter who came in for an hour a day to feed and play with my two cats while I was out of town. Unfortunately, it was in the evening that one of my cats managed to turn on my kitchen sink full blast and turn the spout so that it was no longer over the sink basin but instead over the countertop. Several hours later, water started dripping through my condo to the floor below and around 4 a.m. the building concierge called the cops to my place (because I was not there… Read more »

Zach
Zach
8 years ago
Reply to  betsy22

Betsy, I will say i dont travel 5-6weeks per year but that doesnt seem like a lot (well the expense could get up there at $400*6weeks = $2400 per year). If that’s the one thing holding you back you could look for a place that your dog would get to play and exercise like the one i found. I def agree though that sticking them in a standard kennel that leaves them in a crate just about all day every day would be a crappy experience for the dog. My dog loves to go where we take her and in… Read more »

Kristen
Kristen
8 years ago
Reply to  betsy22

Betsy- Why not put the word out with family and friends (Facebook?) that you are looking to form a petsitting group for pet owners? There would be administrative details to figure out, and you’d need to get the pets (and pet guardians!) together regularly to get to know one another and make sure everyone gets along, but you and the pooch could both make friends. My sister and I get our pooches together for regular visits, so if one of us travels, the other always has a loving home for our dog to visit. You would need to build trust… Read more »

j
j
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

You have to be extremely careful with this–I have known pets to get lost or worse(slipped their collars or ran out the door in a flash and disappeared or worse). You need to have a signed statement at your vets giving them permission to treat in the event of an emergency and a phone number that you can be reached at reliably while traveling(I worked for a vet for a time and most will not treat without owner’s permission due to legalities). I have also seen instances where the pets became upset and had behavior issues that they normally did… Read more »

razorbacks92
razorbacks92
8 years ago
Reply to  Zach

Unless we are going to be gone for a long trip, I almost always use a pet sitter. They take good care of the animals (2 dogs, 2 cats) and they bring in the mail and rotate lights as well. The cost is typically a lot cheaper than boarding, and the animals prefer being in their own place when we are gone, if they can’t go with us!

Eileen
Eileen
8 years ago

We recently adopted another puppy from the shelter (our prior dog died 2 years earlier) and while the costs are definitely there (I have to call the vet today actually), I agree on the benefits as well. With 2 teenagers in the house, it’s definitely nice to have the dog’s unconditional love, lol. On the health side, we find that we seek out long walks/hikes on the weekend for us (and the dog) to enjoy. We didn’t do that as frequently as we’d like prior. It’s good exercise and give us (parents) a chance to chat and catchup w/o interruption… Read more »

Becka
Becka
8 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

“With 2 teenagers in the house, it’s definitely nice to have the dog’s unconditional love”

HA! Love it! 🙂

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Eileen

Eileen, you are *so* right! I was just thinking the same thing. Of course, we love the dogs in a different way than the teenagers, but you can count on a dog’s constancy – once he loves you, he loves you every day, and it’s almost impossible to destroy that. I got a border collie for my dad, who lives with us, and that dog is, on the whole, the happiest thing in my life. It helps me through a lot of teenage drama, etc.

Becka
Becka
8 years ago

Indeed, one of the reasons we haven’t gotten another dog since mine died is the money. We still have my husband’s dog, though, and we spend maybe $500-600 a year on him (as I write that I’m thinking, “Really, was money REALLY the reason for not getting another dog?” Of course, we also planned to install a fence if we got another dog). He’s fairly cheap. We buy high quality food for him, but that’s still less than $250/yr, plus a couple hundred in vet visits. We don’t buy toys for him, because little makes him happier than chasing the… Read more »

Karla
Karla
8 years ago
Reply to  Becka

For those who have had pets, this is sort of like asking them, how do you compare the quantitative cost of raising a child as compared to the qualitative costs?

If you have an affinity for either you can’t/won’t put a price tag on it.

Jill
Jill
8 years ago
Reply to  Becka

When my dog was diagnosed with chronic renal failure, he was nearly 15 years old. The condition was very advanced; his prognosis for survival was slim. But I spent the $$$ for treatment and hospital stay, then continued to spend $$ on blood tests, meds, special food, etc. We had the money in savings for “a rainy day”. As I told my husband (but mostly myself), “If it isn’t raining now, then when? What kind of storm would it take to justify spending the money?” I have never missed the thousands that I spent prolonging his life, but I still… Read more »

Megan
Megan
8 years ago

I have two dogs that we “inherited.” I can tally up the expenses, but I can’t quantify the unconditional love and companionship they give. Not every expense can be expressed in terms of numbers. 🙂

traderjoesreviewer.blogspot.com

Mitch
Mitch
8 years ago

My wife and I have had a dog for a little over a year. Our costs are in line with Justin’s, but for one huge addition: day care. We both have long workdays (about 12 hours start to finish), and take our dog to camp three days a week while we’re at the office. It costs $26 a day, which wouldn’t be bad once in awhile, but we end up buying packages of 20 visits every six weeks or so. We’ve spent a few thousand dollars on it so far. The expense was anticipated. Neither of us wanted to get… Read more »

Becka
Becka
8 years ago
Reply to  Mitch

Oh yes, quality dogsitting can be quite pricy. Normally we leave our dog with my in-laws (and their dog) when we go on vacation, but when ours coincided with theirs, we ended up spending about $400 for doggie hotel time. Totally worth it, and I actually love leaving my dog with them, but still, sticker shock!

King Daddy Dog
King Daddy Dog
8 years ago
Reply to  Mitch

Mitch….dude….I don’t know if there is such a thing but you–for sure— get dog owner of the year award. Scratch that. Your dog is the luckiest dog on the planet and totally scored when you grabbed his leash for the first time. Hats off to you.

Chasa
Chasa
8 years ago
Reply to  Mitch

Between training (I’ve started doing agility) and daycare (I also work 12 hr days once you factor in commute) I also spend an exorbitant amount on my dog. It’s averaged $350 to $500 a month for my dog over the two years I’ve owned him. I don’t like telling people because I feel I’ll get judged, but he’s my passion and my hobby. Some people have car payments, gym memberships an get their nails done. I have my dog, and I couldn’t be happier, although thinking about the yearly totals does hurt sometimes.

RS
RS
8 years ago
Reply to  Mitch

I don’t think you should feel guilty or crazy about paying for doggie daycare. This is very common in my area which is chock full of hard workers of long days at the office. I have paid about $300/month for the past 8 years for my dog to go to the park for a few hours and have a good old doggie time every day while I am at work. (I am pretty sure she must think that is what I am off doing when I leave her home alone..) It may sound like a lot of money, but every… Read more »

Corie
Corie
8 years ago

I volunteer with our local shelter, and we’ve seen a staggering increase in abandoned pets (cats and dogs) because their families couldn’t support the cost any longer. Also, an enormous rise in puppies and kittens, because spay/neuter is delayed. I know circumstances can change quickly, but I hope more people could make sure they can support the ongoing costs before they adopt.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Corie

Agreed! I think people also need to realize that a pet’s needs are going to change as they age. Friends of mine recently had to say good-bye to their 12 year old dog, and the costs associated with food, medications and more frequent healthcare were much higher than when the dog was young. They had prepared for these expenses and were able to keep their dog happy and healthy almost to the end. People also need to consider what would happen to their pet if something happened to them. Another couple I know adopted the sweetest, most lovable dog who… Read more »

Bryan
Bryan
8 years ago

Also plan for emergencies. They happen. Our 11 year old basset had glaucoma costing us almost $5k after 2 surgeries to remove his eyes and almost a year of expensive medicine. The one year old puppy we had had a problem with his front leg that needed a $2k surgery. The hard part with dogs is there medical issues can be just as expensive as humans we don’t have insurance for these things. Does anyone have experience with pet insurance? About 10 years ago a relative who is a vet wasn’t recommending it because he said they weren’t worth it… Read more »

Vicky
Vicky
8 years ago
Reply to  Bryan

Pet insurance is very rarely worth it.

For example: I had a Great Dane. I looked into it – and they would not cover the most common health problems danes get – bloat, osteosarcomas, or hip displaysia. I found it better to have a Care Credit account handy, and save monthly.

Most times you often have to pay up front and then apply for reimbursement, too.

Sarah
Sarah
8 years ago
Reply to  Bryan

We have insurance through VPI on both our dogs and I would highly recommend it. We pay about $400/year for each, which I know is a lot, but under our plan it covers annual visits, partial shots, certain tests like heart worm, and flea and tick medication. We figure that’s money we’d be spending anyway so it’s worth it to pay a little extra and get the added security in case one of our pets gets hurt. Already we’ve used that coverage when one of dogs was hurt by another dog at a dog park (one of the reasons we… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Bryan

We got pet health insurance right after adopting our two shelter cats. Within the first month one of them broke a fang (furry paws, slick wood floor, jump down from a high perch, faceplant). The insurer wouldn’t cover it. We cancelled.

balancedB
balancedB
8 years ago

Trust me on this one, I know someone who went into foreclosure because of pets.$ 18.000 on one $8,000 on the other. I ask pet owners if there is a dollar amount they won’t exceed, and yes most have a set figure. Pets can be a good fit for many but are a drain on many who don’t get it. Savings, retirement and children come in second place to the Vet. bills.

Vicky
Vicky
8 years ago

Heh, I have three dogs. Let me just chime in here… I adopted a Great Dane from my local Animal Control for $75. She was spayed and vaccinated… and apparently had kennel cough. By the end of that week, kennel cough turned into pneumonia, and I spent over $600 on her at the ER. Fast forward to the next winter, where she again came down with penumonia, and at such an inconvenient time that I had to again to go the ER, costing another $500. She came down with an Osteosarcoma a year later. Surgery was not an option with… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

If you’re getting into debt for them, can you really afford so many dogs though?

Vicky
Vicky
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

People go into debt for houses, cars, and medical problems all the time. Does this mean they can’t afford those things?

No, not really. I used a Care Credit account for her medical problems, and I paid it all off interest free. I incurred a debt with her that I’ve since paid (and it was more than worth it), I didn’t say I went homeless or starved.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

People go into debt for houses, cars, and medical problems all the time. Okay, but the general GRS wisdom is that debt is money you don’t actually have, i.e., you can’t afford it, and yes you might be able to pay it back, but emergencies should come out of an emergency fund, else you’re unprepared. Also, you can’t rationally equate pets to a mortgage. Just because “everyone does it/has debt” or you don’t immediately go homeless or starve it doesn’t mean it makes good financial sense to have too many pets. And I wouldn’t say “get rid of your pets”… Read more »

katherine
katherine
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

I always knew I would get a pet, eventually, but I never really planned it. I didn’t have to: The minute I bought my house, (in a new subdivision) I kept finding stray (dumped) animals that followed me home when I’d go out for a walk. One dog and three cats later, I have a family. And, yes, they have very high medical expenses, but I know they add more value to my life than fancy shoes or a new model car. Since they claimed me, and even though back then I couldn’t afford it, there’s no way I’d turn… Read more »

Traci
Traci
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

No, you can’t equate a dog to a mortgage, because they give you SOOOOOO much. I think it is great you have three dogs, if it brings you joy and happiness. I would be insane right now if I didn’t have my dogS. I’d spend at least as much in therapy bills, I’m sure. 😉 They really bring a lot to my life.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

A colleague of mine said he would never get a pet because of the costs. He has 7 children. I pointed out that my 2 cats (my husband and i do not have children) were a whole lot cheaper than his 7 kids. I am not comparing children and pets – these are very different decisions, experiences, etc. But I did say that life expenses are often a matter of priorities and choices, and like kids, pets are a choice often made for non-financial reasons. He had to chuckle and admit I had a point ….

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

SEVEN CHILDREN?! someone get this guy a reality tv show!!! my husband’s friend has three kids, and if he gets a raise, his wife wants to hire a nanny and have a fourth (they earn a lot, but dude’s eyes look dead inside). thankfully my husband doesn’t have that problem… i keep waiting for my biology to come around to liking kids, but geez i really don’t like them or want them. interesting, a lot of my back-home friends have multiple kids, i guess there wasn’t a problem there. but there’s a problem here. i like things quiet and peaceful.… Read more »

Poor to Rich a Day at a Time
Poor to Rich a Day at a Time
8 years ago

While costs vary widlely depending on the breed you choose, their common health issues and the foods you feed them, anyone on a budget should stick to a medium to small dog. We have a border collie right now and I do not feed her any commercial foods, even the more expensive foods typically use meat by products not fit for human consumption, high amounts of corn as a filler, dyes and other things not really good for dogs. A homestyle diet costs me about $20 a month for our border collie that includes her meals and homemade treats, Getting… Read more »

Vicky
Vicky
8 years ago

There are commercial foods out there that are WONDERFUL.

If you check out http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com you can review dog foods based on the ingredients within. You’re absolutely right that $ does not equal value – Iams and Eukanuba are both fairly expensive…. but not really the best food out there.

Poor to Rich a Day at a Time
Poor to Rich a Day at a Time
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

While I am sure there are a few wonderful commercial foods (at a nice price I am sure) I actually enjoy cooking for my dog as much as I enjoy cooking for my family. I know it is a healthy diet (my vet approves and noticed a considerable improvement in her health and coat shine) When I make it myself, I know exactly what she is getting and she enjoys eating so much more than a commercial food.

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

I would not go so far as WONDERFUL for any kibble. Kibble is a highly processed meat cereal. Anyway you shake it. Some are miles better than others in regards to ingredient quality. Still, meat cereal.

Whole foods, real ingredients, moisture content. Always better.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago

Poor to Rich – my golden was destructive around that age too and caused about $3000 of damage in my house. What worked was 2 things: (1) no balls in the house – ever, and (2) 1.5-2 hours (twice a day) of fast walking and off leash play every single day up until about 18 months of age. I spent more time with that dog than I did with my kids.

Jill
Jill
8 years ago

Our dogs have been the hardest on the house while they were puppies. I think it’s a matter of boundless energy, teething, and curiosity. Keep durable chew toys available (cow hooves at about $0.90 each when bought in packs seem to be the best value) and and like Jaqu says, take up running, rollerblading, biking or some other vigorous form of exercise with your dog. I like biking because I can really work the dogs without exhausting myself. You also might want to start hiding her/his food in stashes around the house instead of feeding from a bowl. Border collies… Read more »

fantasma
fantasma
8 years ago

Just yesterday I was counting up the costs associated to having a dog.

I still want one but when I get a dog I want to make sure it has a backyard to run enjoy, especially since the type of dog I want is very active.

People should consider their environment before buying a pet.

walk the dog
walk the dog
8 years ago
Reply to  fantasma

This really depends on the personality of the dog. I live in a condo – no yard – with a large dog. I walk him 2+ hrs/day, which he loves. If I put him in a fenced in yard, he’d meander for a while, get bored, and lie down somewhere. He doesn’t like to play. He likes to go on walks. (And boy does it keep me fit!)

Jill
Jill
8 years ago
Reply to  fantasma

A fenced yard is a nice convenience for the pet owner, but no boon to the pet. It’s great to let them out by themselves for bio breaks (instead of having to take them out multiple times a day yourself), and it’s a nice place to leave them while you are at work or some other place that you cannot take them. But a backyard doesn’t provide a dog with the exercise they need and crave. Unlike humans, dogs don’t exercise themselves. They look to us to provide them with that direction. Hopefully you are a runner or someone who… Read more »

Opus
Opus
8 years ago

I have two big dogs, a Pyrenean Mountain dog and a Husky. The Husky got sick last year with an obscure disease (salivary gland necrosis) which left her with a huge hole in the cheek. It took three surgeries and a three weeks hospital stay to put her back on her feet. She lost 15 pounds during the ordeal and was very close to death at one point. As the cost was gradual over several weeks, we kept hoping that each expense would be the last one, thinking that we had already spent a lot so let’s continue, this time… Read more »

Justin @ The Family Finances
Justin @ The Family Finances
8 years ago

I want to give a big “Thank You” to J.D. and the folks at GRS for using my guest post. I’ve been reading the comments, and the readers bring up some good points: My wife is a stay-at-home mom, so we’ve never really had to board our dog. Additionally, the greyound rescue group we adopted him from has many great volunteers that will watch our dog for a few days if we’re ever out of town. But it sounds like boarding can really add up. It’s difficult to quantify the benefits of a dog, just like it’s difficult to quantify… Read more »

Leslie Rene
Leslie Rene
8 years ago

Justin, I also forgot to thank you for mentioning the greyhound rescue!

I’ve met many wonderful people who work with greyhound rescue. I absolutely fell in love with these dogs when I met a group of them at an adoption fair.

It’s a beautiful thing:)

Rachael
Rachael
8 years ago

My dog is also my hobby. I have a German Shepherd and compete with him. Last year I spent just under $5,000 between vet visits, training fees, trial fees, medicine and food. He even has his own jeep complete with crate and all training gear needed. My goal is to keep the dog costs under $4000 in 2012 and I am so far on track. As far as the food, another alternative to high quality kibble is to feed raw meat. I spend $27 a month feeding him human grade quality meat (with supplements) and would spend more than double… Read more »

Sheryl
Sheryl
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

Raw food diets for dogs are shockingly inexpensive. My fiance makes our dog’s food (a mix of ground chicken, berries, corn, and other supplements and approved by our vet) and while it’s a massive time commitment for him, not only do we save money, but also our dog is in better health than he might otherwise be.

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl

Commercially prepared raw diets are typically expensive. Certainly more so than you average kibble.

Home prepared raw can certainly be cheaper. Depending on your sourcing of ingredients, bulk buying, etc,. The time commitment and up front know how required are where it gets ya.

Erin
Erin
8 years ago
Reply to  Rachael

This is fascinating. I always just assumed it would be way more expensive. Our dogs currently eat Diamond Naturals. Our chocolate lab/red tick coonhound mix has really bad itchies if he eats cheap food, so we switched to this and he’s never been so soft and itch-free. I would switch to making their food if I thought the price was comparable as I wouldn’t mind cooking it on weekends. I’m going to look into the options.

Rachael
Rachael
8 years ago
Reply to  Erin

I started feeding raw because my last dog had severe allergies. I do not cook the food. Breakfast-
1 lb of chicken backbones
joint supplement

Dinner-
9 ounces of ground meat
joint pill
2 vit e
4 fish oil

This is what I feed my 90 lb dog to keep him at competition weight. I buy in bulk hormone and antiboitic free chicken from a farm and also supplement with venison during hunting season. He does have two freezers of his own though.

Leslie Rene
Leslie Rene
8 years ago

Thank you for writing this article as you have brought the discussion of pets beyond that of dollars and cents. Yes, budgeting is very important. When we bring these animals into our lives, we become completely responsible for their care. Those responsibilities have real costs that must be considered. For my tight budget considerations, I have found that I must do the following: 1. Budget for premium dog food. I’ve spent too long around the pet food industry to EVER shill out money for foods that can be purchased at the grocery store (or even most pet store foods). Yes,… Read more »

Jill
Jill
8 years ago
Reply to  Leslie Rene

I agree with your approach to pet insurance. I ran into a lot of expenses with one of my pets towards the end of his life and when I was ready to look at puppies again, I was curious whether pet insurance was worth it. All of my research left me with the conclusion that they were nothing more than a forced savings plan with zero interest and that they were extremely particular for what they would pay benefits. For a disciplined saver, budgeting is a better option, because YOU decided when you are going to dip into the pet… Read more »

amber
amber
8 years ago

I think this article is quite short-sighted for what we usually see here on grs and it is going to stir up a lot of trouble. Putting exact figures on what YOU spend is fine, but that is really the problem. It is what YOU decided for your dog. Every dog is different and every dog will come with different costs. Why was insurance not discussed? What about boarding? What about dog walks or daycamp? Just because you may not need it for your dog, another family will need to consider it. You will always have the freak accident or… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  amber

Yep.

And if you have a partner or children, you have to consider that you all might have different ideas about money and pets. I was absolutely shocked to find out my cheapskate partner would shell out $5k for cat surgery without even shopping around. It was OK, because we had the money – if we were looking at going into debt or (as I did when I was in my very early 20s) dumpster diving for people food to be able to afford pet food, there would have been conflict.

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago

I don’t break out pet costs from say our general grocery, medical costs. Our last 3 dogs were informal rescues so they were “free”. One of them had medical issues towards the end, and our current one had behavioral issues (due to being a rescue) which meant dog training (and lots and lots of patience). Now that he is doing better, the biggest downside: the hair. Walking into a pet-free home I’m amazed at how clean it looks. The biggest benefit besides the friendship and companionship: a feeling of security. He is protective of our children and house and lets… Read more »

Kate
Kate
8 years ago

A factor to think about is weight – nearly everything that a dog needs scales in cost with its size. Food is fairly obviously scaled, but so are other things, any medications required (you aim for a constant mg/kg) and even veterinary operating costs will often scale with weight. Boarding fees often depend on the size of the dog as well as do other one off costs like a collar. As a vet, I have quite strong views on dog breeding. I find dogs bred for short or chronically diseased lives just tragic. However, there is not a simple answer… Read more »

EMH
EMH
8 years ago

I agree animals are expensive but I find it to be worth it. I called Magoo, my beloved applehead siamese, the “Porsche of pussies” the “Ferrari of Felines” because that cat was high maintenace but a lot of fun.

Cindy@Rhinebeck
8 years ago

We spend a little bit less on our dog than you. The only difference is the food. We spend $22 a month ($264 a year) on Purina Beyond (lamb & rice). You can get caught up in all the other more expensive formulas (double & triple the cost) but Beyond is a very good dog feed IMHO. Also, our dog was a rescue from a kill shelter and the adoption fee was super high ($450). She’s a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog, practically unknown in the northeast. We wouldn’t trade her for all the tea in China. Having a great dog… Read more »

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago

Just remember getting ‘caught up’ in that double or triple cost food, it’s expensive for a reason. And that reason is quality and sourcing. Garbage chicken is a whole lot more expensive than human quality chicken. Simple as that. Yet, due to regulations the back of the bag will still just say “chicken”. Know where your dogs food is coming from. Is that company one that would buy garbage chicken, or one that discloses where they are sourcing their ingredients? We all do the best be can, and certainly what works for us. But those cheaper foods, often come back… Read more »

louisa @ the really good life
louisa @ the really good life
8 years ago

Our dog, Lily, has actually pretty much paid for herself in changing our spending habits. Before we got Lily, we used to go out most Saturdays for lunch in a nearby town and then spend the rest of the afternoon idly shopping – often in charity/thrift shops – but with lunch and perhaps coffee & cake mid-afternoon too, we’d *easily* spend £30 ($50) a week between us. That’s £1500/$2500 a year. These days, we’re much more likely to go for a walk somewhere free and even if we’re in a town/city centre, we’ll spend less time having a big lunch… Read more »

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

Another thing to consider are increased costs as pets age. We at one point had a senior dog and a senior cat–the cat is still with us–and the medications, twice-yearly physicals (recommended for older pets), vet visits outside of annual appointments and more are considerable costs.

Boarding, as some have mentioned above, is another expense to take into account. We add, on average, about $350-$500 extra to projected vacation costs for boarding.

We have the older cat and a puppy now–yes, the costs are considerable, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Meghan
Meghan
8 years ago

Just want to offer up a suggestiong for people who want to be pet parents, but don’t want all the costs associated with it. FOSTER. I know in St. Louis & Richmond, VA you can foster dogs and cats. I am currently fostering a puppy who is 14 weeks old. The organization pays for food, shots, medical care, heartworm, flea/tick, ect. I have to market my puppy and try to get her adopted. (Minimum 2 3-hr events a month). There are currently around 500 adoptable dogs in the organization. I do own a dog and have her costs down to… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago
Reply to  Meghan

You know, I didn’t think of this but this might be a good option for us. We go to petsmart with the kids to pet the dogs and play with the cats. But I don’t want a permanent second dog (really, its the hair). But my kids love animals and we could help socialize and train and take care of a dog while waiting for its forever home. Or am I fooling myself? I’ve never done this because I think I would get too attached to the animal.

EMH
EMH
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

You could also look into being a host family for a service dog in training. My parents host dogs that will go on to be Leader Dogs for the Blind. It is a great program and provides an invaluable service. My parents don’t do the training but host the dog until it is of age to do training. They love it because they know they will not be able to keep the dog so you don’t have to worry about attachment issues. Of course they get attached, but they know the dog will go on to do wonderful things which… Read more »

amber
amber
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

partgypsy you can definitely foster without adopting! The key thing is you will want to set firm boundaries for your kids (and yourself) regarding keeping the dog. The way to start is find a rescue group or a shelter that works with foster homes. You want to make sure they have high visibility in your community and are actively seeking to get dogs adopted. Many shelters and some groups, sadly, do not do this, so choose carefully. The more attention your foster pet gets, the quicker they will be adopted. I propose that you look at it as community service… Read more »

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago
Reply to  Meghan

Here in Hawaii, come Spring time and baby kitten time, the local Humane society is always looking for volunteers to foster baby kittens so they are used to humans handling them and good for adopting. ( Wild kittens get put down because they will not allow people near them.)

Marcy Blankenship
Marcy Blankenship
8 years ago

We just had to put our 16 and half year old beagle down last week. Over the years that “free” dog cost us a fortune, but he was worth it to us. He had ongoing respiratory problems costing hundreds of dollars per month on medications and just one summer he put of back $10,000 for surgery on his spleen and because of his coughing he had to be operated on 5 times to try to keep his incision closed up. Had to pay it, he was family to us.

cc
cc
8 years ago

we have a ferret- i am allergic to cats and dogs but lurve the animals and can’t live without one (i tried, it was lonely and boring). we also live in a big city-apartment situation, so he’s a great size for the space. the weasels sleep about 20 hrs a day, so he’s great for working schedules- he’s up when my husband leaves for work, he’ll pop in around lunch for a hello, then back to bed until my husband comes home and the dinner commotion starts. he is about 50% of our conversation topics, and we have a lot… Read more »

June
June
8 years ago

I have three small dogs (dachshunds) and I want to chime in on the pet insurance issue. I’ve been paying for pet insurance for all three. I choose one that does cover conditions common to the breed. Dachshunds often have back problems, so I didn’t want an insurance that excluded them. I made this decision after my brother’s bichon frise needed back surgery by a specialist and it cost my brother 4 thousand dollars. Since I have bought the pet insurance, my pets have been healthy. It seems like wasted money, but I know that wouldn’t have to make a… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago
Reply to  June

I always thought “hot dog” dogs were cute, but someone told me they are biters. Is that true?

mrs bkwrm
mrs bkwrm
8 years ago
Reply to  partgypsy

Dachshunds were originally bred to hunt badgers. Badgers are mean mofos, so you can imagine what kind of attitude they have to have.

What I have seen happen is that, because they are smaller dogs, oftentimes owners do not believe they need to properly train their Dachshunds and stop their aggressive behavior so they develop very bad habits that sometimes include biting.

You can’t treat a hunting dog like a lap dog and expect it to turn out right, even if it’s a small, cute hunting dog. Or that’s my opinion, anyway.

June
June
8 years ago
Reply to  June

Dachshunds can be a bit nippy, many end up in rescue because families with small children figured this out. Myself, I don’t recommend them as an ideal breed for people with small children.
They are a tenacious hunting breed. They are incredibly loyal and protective of their human family. They tend to be bossy, and you can’t let them be in charge.
They are also cute and funny and very cuddly

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago

Our German Shepherd is part of our family. That said, he’s not our child and we won’t pay for him as if he were. Our costs are pretty in line with the author’s although we do pay less for food. The companionship and peace of mind we have knowing our home and family are safe is worth many times what we have paid out for our dogs over the years. We would pay for a special diet if he needed one but $5000 in diagnostics? No way. However, if one of our kids’ mental health depended upon our dog’s survival,… Read more »

Doable Finance
Doable Finance
8 years ago

Only Americans would talk about their dogs and spending $1300 on them. People are dying of starvation and malnutrition all over the third world countries. They are humans just like you and me or may be you guys think they are not. Millions if not billions are living on less than $2 a day for their food, shelter and clothing. Share your wealth with humans. Even in America, many folks get by only on one meal a day. I bet you can tell the difference between a human and a dog just like you can’t tell the difference between your… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Doable Finance

Money doesn’t evaporate when you spend it. Vets and pet food manufacturers and pet shop owners and their employees and suppliers are people too, and they have jobs because of pets. Would you rather have these people out in the streets panhandling, instead of employed and living with dignity as they are? Why do you want to deprive people of their way to earn a living, just to satisfy your urge to lord it over others? And you can’t keep a human the same way you keep a pet– humans will bite the hand that feeds them, unlike a dog.… Read more »

jk64571
jk64571
8 years ago
Reply to  Doable Finance

If the reason that you donate to help other people in third world countries is just so that you can be smug and lord over everyone else how much “better” you think you are then you are the worse than the people that don’t donate anything. At least they are not disillusioned to who and what they are. Take you hate somewhere else.

Ned
Ned
8 years ago
Reply to  jk64571

Someone has something valid and convicting to say? Turn the hate back on them! Hate more, and change the subject!

Jill
Jill
8 years ago
Reply to  Doable Finance

Your statement is inaccurate, as often is the case when someone argues emotionally. The Japanese spend the equivalent of approximately $9 billion per year on pets. Germany spends around $5 billion US. US citizens are not unique in their devotion to their pets. If every cent spent on pets were re-directed to hunger relief, it wouldn’t change anything, because people are not starving because of a simple lack of money. The problem goes far deeper than that.

Kate
Kate
8 years ago

I’ve had quite a few dogs, cats, goats and now two horses due to rescues. I’ve had to learn to do a lot of the care myself. I give all shots (except rabies) myself. Ditto for worming. For heartworms, I mix up my own mix using common farm wormer (must be careful with the math!). Heartworm treatment for a total of nine animals costs less than $50 a year. Rabies shots are done via local $5 rabies clinics, etc. I do feed a very high quality pet food (Blue Buffalo). That’s my biggest expense.

WWII Kid
WWII Kid
8 years ago

Pets are like air, you really can’t put a price on them. if you have to, then you shouldn’t have one.

Lillian
Lillian
8 years ago

We got a golden retriever puppy three years ago. We did a lot of research on the right breed of dog for our family. With two small children I wanted a dog that would be very family friendly. I had no idea the amount of money it was going to cost us after the initial fee to the breeder for our puppy. The multitude of shots she needed, the spaying, and the trip to the ER when she ingested some aqauarium rocks, were not what I had intended on spending when owning a new puppy. I was disillusioned with the… Read more »

This Aggie Saves
This Aggie Saves
8 years ago

I don’t even categorize how much I spend on my cats. I’m sure it would be an eye opener. I have a general emergency fund that I would dip into for any unexpected vet bills, etc.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago

Im so glad you posted this article. I volunteer as a foster home for a rescue group, and it’s heartbreaking to see how many dogs end up as rescues because the previous owners didn’t think before getting a dog. It’s so worth it (I think) but its a big financial and time commitment that should be thought through well!

RobertM
RobertM
8 years ago

Time spent taking care of dog, walking dog, picking up poop from carpet, and allergies should also be included in the cost. Also waking up at night, and having to have a large yard to contain the dog.

‘Security’ can also be factored into the benefits of dog ownership, although more often than not, family dogs will not protect, only possibly deter a bad guy..

I believe dogs also carry human diseases, like autoimmune diseases and cancer.

laura
laura
8 years ago

Don’t forget the cost of an extra pet deposit on an apartment or other rental. Also, you will be limited in where you are able to rent if you have a dog.

amber
amber
8 years ago
Reply to  laura

indirectly I could say the dog cost me the price of my house since I wouldn’t have bought it if I didn’t have him …

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago

A complete breakdown of my pet costs, including saving for vet expenses can be found here

http://dogsordollars.com/2012/02/01/dog-spending/

Thoughts on quality food

Here: http://dogsordollars.com/2012/01/26/dog-food/

And here: http://dogsordollars.com/2012/03/20/making-food-for-dogs/

Even a little diatribe about pet insurance

http://dogsordollars.com/2012/02/15/pet-insurance/

Course, I have more dogs than your average Jill.

Beth
Beth
8 years ago

In January I totaled up my expense spreadsheet and noticed I spent over $4,000 on 3 cats and 1 dog in 2011. I couldn’t believe it. That included vet bills, high quality food, meds, groomer, doggy day care, teeth cleaning, cat litter, etc. This year I said I would be cutting that drastically (for example, Fenway now goes to doggy day care sporadically – once per month, if that). Unfortunately, one of my cats got very sick about 1 month ago and I spent almost $1,000 to get her better. It appears I’ll be headed to $4,000 again. I would… Read more »

Colleen
Colleen
8 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I liked your comment because my dog is also named Fenway! She is a 8 year old golden retriever rescue. I rescued her in Louisiana and no one had a dog named Fenway. When I went back home to Boston for a visit and brought her to a dog park, however, when I called her name, like ten dogs came running!

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago

We have two spayed/neutered totally indoor cats, both approximately 11-12 years old (rescues, so who really knows). We live in an area where, if you want good vet care, it is gonna cost you. Last year a “senior cat” workup for my Ragdoll, including blood tests and teeth cleaning (which has to be done under general anesthesia) was … $800. I spend easily $100/mo per cat when you average out the medical care they’ve each received. To me, $100/mo is a reasonable amount to spend on a pet, and I love mine. I don’t have infinite resources though, and I… Read more »

Erin
Erin
8 years ago

Try this on for size: 4 horses: 2 bales of hay a day, ($3.50 x 365 = $2,555), farrier 3x/annually ($30 per horse x 4 horses x 3x/annually = $360), grain 2 bags Sweet Feed, 1 bag Senior Formula/bi-weekly ($40 x 26 = $1,040), annual vet visit with shots for 4 horses ($600), miscellaneous treats, halters, lead ropes, tack, etc ($500/annually) = $5,055 2 cats: 1.5 bags of food/monthly ($21/monthly x 12 = $252), treats ($8/monthly x 12 = $96), flea/heartworm/vet appts ($200/annually) = $548 3 dogs: 2 bags of food/monthly ($34 x 2 bags x 12 months = $816),… Read more »

Mel
Mel
8 years ago

Oh I’m sure my dogs cost me a small fortune. I have two small dogs, with two totally different personalities. Dog #1 – lazy and mellow Dog #2 – hyper and destructive (like Marley from Marley and Me) They don’t cost me much in food/treats ($25/month), I live where they don’t need heartworm/flee meds,and annual vaccinations are $120/each/year. What does cost me a fortune though is Dog #1’s dental treatments ($600 a pop) because he can’t be bothered to chew a bone and refuses to let me brush his teeth. He’s had two dentals in his 7 year life already.… Read more »

Rick
Rick
8 years ago

Life with a Dog = $1300 per year (roughly)
Life without a dog = $2600 ( $50.00 per week x 52 weeks for psychotherapy ). I’ll take the dog, thank you.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago

Thanks for posting this! I’m 33 years old and never owned a pet aside from fish as a child and its nice to get a realistic breakdown of the financial repercussions of pet ownership. In other words, its not happening anytime soon – if ever!

Tonya
Tonya
8 years ago

I’m happy to see an article outlining the costs of owning a pet. My kids have bugged me for years to get a dog, but I just can’t. As a single mother of three kids, I don’t want or need the additional expense and obligation. I grew up with animals, but I don’t think they were adequately played with (tied up in the back yard for the most part) and don’t think that’s fair to an animal. I’m sure that I’d love an animal if we had one, but I do not miss having an animal around, and I don’t… Read more »

EMH
EMH
8 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

Perhaps your kids could look into dog walking. That way, they could experience what having a dog is like. If they enjoy it and are responsible about cleaning up after it, then they can save the money they make dog walking to use toward the purchase of the dog.

tjdebtfree
tjdebtfree
8 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

I just recently put down my 15 year old Siberian Husky – still devasted over it to this day. She cost me a lot of money over the years in various ways – however, she was still cheaper than raising a child and paying for college, clothing, food;etc. And she was my “child” – so I gladly paid for it.

Besides I’d still rather use my pooper scooper and clean up dog-do-do’s any day than wipe baby butt 😉

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

My partner really doesn’t want the extra responsibility of a dog, so we go to the Humane Society and play with kittens or puppies every once in a while. It helps socialize them, the HS claims it helps them get adopted (because they put “good with small children” on the info sheet) and unfortunately there are always more kittens or puppies to go visit.

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

+1. I deeply appreciate your honesty and responsibility. No (more) pets here until we’re able to really afford the expense and give them the proper care they need.

Nick
Nick
8 years ago

Funny you should write about this. I just bought a puppy 3 days ago. I knew it was going to be an expensive, and would prolong my debt-free living. But I had a dog growing up, and you cannot put a price on the kind of happiness a pet brings to your life.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

The cost of a dog scales directly with its owner’s income. The numbers in this article don’t mean much of anything except that Justin’s dog costs $1300. Homeless people keep dogs for essentially free (sure, they don’t get great food or vet care, but they are kept alive and healthier than strays) and rich people spend $5,000 on a designer puppy and then another $5,000 on accessories for it. You might as well ask how much housing or cars or children cost, which is pretty much almost “as much (or as little) as you are willing to spend”. The average… Read more »

Bella
Bella
8 years ago

Tyler – I would say that the costs of a pet are mostly dependant on how much the owner is willing to spend but not neccesarily directly related to income. I thought we spent A LOT on our dogs before I read this article. I have a line item in my budget – it was $130 a mo – it’s been $230 for the month for the month for hte last couple months but that is going back down to $130 in the next couple weeks. That includes food, vaccination, boardign for when we can’t take them with us on… Read more »

amber
amber
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

the coolest kind of dog

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  amber

we think so

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
8 years ago

I’ve written about dog spending all too often.

http://dogsordollars.com/2012/02/01/dog-spending/

Course, I’ve more than your average dogs, so my numbers are skewed.

gpjones
gpjones
8 years ago

“We love our dog and would no sooner give him up than we would our son.”

Gaacckk!! Children are NOT the same thing as pets.

It’s astonishing you would make them equivalent.

June
June
8 years ago
Reply to  gpjones

gpjones says:
17 April 2012 at 11:35 am

“We love our dog and would no sooner give him up than we would our son.”

Gaacckk!! Children are NOT the same thing as pets.

It’s astonishing you would make them equivalent.

I don’t think saying you would no sooner give them up as a child means you consider it equivalent.

I took it as the author’s commitment to her pet for its lifetime. (and one should never get a pet unless committing to it for life)

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