Last week I woke up to the sound of my sweet, tiny dog crying. A painful red rash had formed over his belly and hind legs throughout the night, and he had scratched himself raw. One vet visit, a steroid injection and $87 later, he was back to his happy, pain-free self. (Turns out he had suffered an allergic reaction to something, though we’re not exactly sure what.)
While I would never hesitate for a second to take my dog to the vet whenever necessary, it did make me think about the true costs involved in dog ownership – there are many expenses involved beyond just food.
I’ve written before about some of the things I won’t give up to save money. My dog is not on the list, but not because I would consider giving him up – absolutely not. He’s not on the list because it never even crossed my mind to consider giving him up to save money. But regardless of how much love, entertainment, and companionship pets can bring to our lives, there are definitely costs that should be taken into consideration before owning a pet.
The following is a list of costs involved with owning a dog. (Most apply to cat ownership, too.) Prices can vary greatly based on region, dog breed and size, and various other factors, but this list should provide a basic overview.
The True Costs Involved With Pet Ownership
- Food – anywhere from $20/month to $500/month.
- Vaccinations – varies, but my cost is around $120/year.
- Spay/Neuter – varies, my cost was around $180.
- Flea Treatment – my cost is around $12/month.
- Heartworm Tablets – my cost is around $5/month.
- Yearly Rabies Shot – around $10.
- Yearly Checkup – anywhere from $40 to $150 or more.
- Teeth Cleaning – around $250 to $400.
- Nail Clipping – my cost is $10.
- Grooming – anywhere from $20 to $50.
- Shampoo – my cost is around $5-6 every few months.
- Anal Gland Expression – my cost is $18 ever two months.
- Leash – about $5.
- Collar – about $5, depending on the style.
- Toys – my cost is around $5 every few months.
- Dog Bed – around $30.
- Dog Crate – around $70.
- Dentabones/Greenies – my cost is about $30 every couple of months.
- Treats – my cost is around $5/month.
- Boarding – anywhere from $10-$25/night.
- Emergency Vet Visits – can cost in the thousands of dollars.
- Medication if dog has medical issue – can cost hundreds of dollars per month.
Although I love animals and truly feel that life is better with a dog, I do acknowledge that there are many costs involved with pet ownership. For me, the costs are absolutely worth it, but it’s definitely something that should be taken into account before making the decision to own a pet.
What about you? Do you own a pet? Is pet ownership more, or less expensive than you expected?