What It Costs to Own a Dog

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Penlights that double as lug wrenches, the latest buffalo meat and chocolate cream pie diet book – ever wonder why all these questionable items are grouped together in the checkout lane?

The answer is pretty simple: all of them fall under the heading “impulse purchasing” – things we buy on impulse, without taking the time to consider their usefulness. We are all susceptible. If you don’t believe it, look in your garage or “junk drawer.”

While most impulse purchases are harmless enough, some are anything but trivial. Consider an addition to the family – of the four-legged variety. Often, well-intentioned people see a puppy that captures their heart and, without considering the ramifications, impulsively take the animal home.

The expense of owning a pet is probably the most overlooked consequence of any pet-owner relationship. Advances in pet care, especially in the development of pet foods and medical research, have caused ownership costs to increase over the last 10 years. Since it’s not likely that this trend will reverse itself any time soon, potential “pet parents” should consider their finances before taking home a new pet.

While it is certainly not necessary that a dog have a diamond collar or a Wedgwood china food bowl, all owners need to provide the basics of professional medical care, quality food and adequate shelter. The only other necessity for a responsible owner to provide is love – and that’s free.

Listed below are approximate costs of basic care for dogs. Costs can vary widely, depending on where you live and specifics associated with each individual pet.

The Cost of Caring for a Dog

The costs of a new puppy vary significantly. A mixed breed from a local animal shelter will be a lot cheaper than a pure breed, and the quality of the pure breed will push the purchase price even higher.

“Show quality” puppies with impressive pedigrees and desired conformation characteristics will be much more expensive than those designated as “pet quality.” In addition, the type of purebred dog will directly affect the costs. Common breeds, such as cocker spaniels, schnauzers and beagles will cost less than the same quality of rare breeds.

Life Time Costs of Dog Ownership

Small to medium-sized dogs

  • Estimated life span: 14 years
  • First year: $740 to $1,325
  • Estimated annual costs thereafter: $500 to $875
  • Total cost over a dog’s lifetime is about $7,240 to $12,700.

Large to giant-sized dogs

  • Estimated life span: 8 years
  • First year: $1020 to $1,825
  • Estimated annual costs thereafter: $690 to $875
  • Total estimated lifetime cost: $5,850 to $7,950.

Yearly Costs of Dog Ownership

The Cost of Puppies – The First Year

  • Veterinary Care/Laboratory Tests – $100 to $200
  • Physical examinations and Immunizations – $80 to $200
  • Internal/External Parasite Treatment and Control – $100 to $150
  • Spay/Neuter – $90 to $200. The cost often depends on the dog’s size and age.
  • Food – $150 to $250
  • Miscellaneous (collars, leads, crate, toys, bed, obedience training) – $250 to $285
  • Total: $770 to $1,285

Dogs – Annual Costs

  • Veterinary Care/Examinations/Laboratory – $150 to $255
  • Immunizations – $60 to $75
  • Internal/External Parasite Preventatives – $120 to $190
  • Food – $150 to $300
  • Miscellaneous – $100 to $125
  • Total: $580 to $945

NOTE: Amounts vary considerably, based on factors such as growth rate and size of the adult dog, types and quality of food and unforeseen medical conditions. Generally, puppies require more routine medical attention than adult dogs. However, statistics show that older animals (those over eight years old) will require more veterinary care than younger adults.

You should also note that costs vary between stores, veterinarians and by region.

Is Pet Insurance Right for you?

The best pet insurance offers coverage that’s broad enough for whatever care your pet needs and with enough options to get the perfect coverage for you and your pet.

As one of the first pet insurance providers in the U.S., PetPartners has been offering affordable, comprehensive pet health insurance to dogs and cats in all 50 states since 2002. Trusted as the exclusive pet insurance provider for the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers’ Association, PetPartners highly customizable options allow pet owners to create a plan that fits their individual needs and budget — so you’re not paying for added coverage you don’t necessarily need or want. Visit www.PetPartners.com today to see if pet insurance is right for you and your family.”)


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