Do you love the Direwolves on Game of Thrones and really want a Husky or German Shepherd? Has the Chihuahua from Legally Blond got you absolutely needing to carry a pup in your handbag everywhere you go? Or have you been to a pet store or animal shelter and fallen in love with the adorable Lab/Beagle who keeps giving you those puppy dog eyes every time you visit?
Before you make the giant leap to pet owner, there are several costs you should consider first.
Food, Food, Food
First and foremost, you have to feed your pet. If you get a large dog, such as a Husky or German Shepherd, it could cost as much as $500 or more per year in food, depending on the type or brand you choose to feed your dog. Smaller dogs cost about $120 per year for their food. That's not including any special treats ($20-$100/yr) or vitamins ($15-$75/yr) you may want to give your canine companion.
A Happy Home
A happy home for you pup could include a cozy bed ($25-$150/yr), toys (varying costs), bowls for food ($5-$25/yr), chew bones (varying costs), and so much more. If your pup will be outside, you'll have to consider fencing if you don't already have a closed in yard (varies... could be $1,500/yr or more), a dog house or crate ($40 -$150/yr), flea and tick treatment ($20-$200/yr) and more.
You can bathe your new pup at home or you can take Fido to a professional groomer ($400/yr). If you choose to groom your dog on your own, you'll have to consider an appropriate place for a bath. Putting your grown German Shepherd in your home tub can be done, but could get really messy too. You'll also want to consider whehter you'll have your pups nails trimmed if you have an indoor dog and any special shampoos ($6-$25/yr) or products to maintain healthy fur.
Pets are a lot like kids. You keep your kids healthy by visiting the doctor for yearly checkups and when they're ill. You'll have to consider your dog will need the same care. When you first get your new dog there could several shots and checkups to make sure they are protected against diseases and ailments. You first trip to the vet could costs $40 to $400/yr and that's not including if you need to get them spayed or neutered ($35-$200/yr). You'll also want to consider dental expenses ($40/yr) and annual vet visits for preventative care.
Time and a lot of Patience
A new pet can take a while to acclimate to their environment. Whether you get a puppy, who will need training ($15-$450/yr) and lots of love and attention or an older dog, who'll need to learn your home and get used to living with a new family, you'll have to be ready to invest a lot of time and care into learning your new dogs habits. Be prepared for some accidents on the floor or possibly a table corner getting chewed off in the beginning. Time and patience will be an factor in welcoming your new family member.
Dogs can be such a loving and valuable members to your household, but be sure to consider all the costs before you commit to bringing them home. To read about some more costs and considerations to owning a new pet, please click here.