Be Honest. Can you really afford a Dog?
The purchase price of a dog, even if it costs only $3,000 up front, will be the cheapest part of your overall purchase. Your initial costs for crates, food, food bowls, leashes, collars and a vet exam will cost another $500. Annual costs for medical and food going forward will be approximately $1200 – $4000 per year. You can also expect at least one major medical expense in the dogs life of at least $6000 and 2 smaller medical expenses of $2,000. Ongoing home repairs for things like fencing, lawn, floor and furniture damage can add an additional $1000 per year. Consider additional costs like training classes and competitions.
If your dog lives to age 16 your total expenses can be as high as $35,000 to $45,000.
Are You Sure Your Home Is Ready?
Welcoming a dog into your home is an incredibly profound and loving experience.
However, it also means giving up some of your personal space and accepting that material things you value may get damaged.
Expect burnt spots and holes in your lawn. You may find your beautiful garden is being used as latrine. Your hardwood floors and deck will get damaged. You will have hairballs under your couch, under your bed, in your car and on your clothing. You will be cleaning hair out of your furnace, washing machine and dryer. You may find teethmarks in your furniture.
Another expense to the homeowner is putting things in place to protect your dog.
Ideally, you are in a detached home that has a fence. IF not, you may want to factor in the cost of a fence with the initial purchase price of your dog. Most breeders and rescues will not sell a dog to a family that does not have proper fencing in place. While electric fencing may keep a dog in, it doesn’t keep dog thieves and dangerous animals like coyotes out.
Good Breeders or Rescues typically sell their dogs as family pets which will be a part of the family home. Most will not sell to an owner who intends to warehouse the dog in an outbuilding or tie the dog outside.
You may also need to consider closing in the bottom of your deck, putting in baby gates or install locks on any gates to your yard.
Does this mean Breeders or Rescues won’t sell to owners in apartments?
No, but they will have a few more questions designed to measure your commitment. Having a dog in an apartment requires more effort. You will not have easy access to a back yard and may be taking the elevator 5 or more times each day for walks and bathroom breaks.
There is no doubt that the right family will find the love of a good dog worth more than any of these expenses. Do you feel you are ready to be the right family for some lucky dog?