Since the start of the pandemic, sales of pets have soared in the USA and in many other countries globally as well.
With more time at home to spare, Americans filled some of their hours with a furry friend. But do we underestimate the expense associated with keeping a dog in particular?
According to The Spruce Pets, owning a dog could hit your bank account hard with up to $4,300 expense every single year of your dog’s life. Life expectancy is different between various breeds, right, but if we assume that your new best friend is going to live for 10 years, that’s up to $43,000 in expenses over that time.
So what is it that costs so much? There’s a real hand breakdown over on the Spruce Pets but we picked out some of the ones that might cost more than you expect.
Food and Treats
Dogs eat. Some of them eat a lot. So don’t be so surprised if you end up spending up to $700 per year on dog food and treats. With a smaller dog (if you’re not splurging on expensive brands) this might be as low as $250. But across a 10-year lifespan, it’s likely that your dog food and treat bill will be anything from $2,500 to a mouth-watering $7000.
Training and Obedience Classes
Image used with thanks to Spirit Dog Training via Wikimedia Commons
Lots of owners fail to budget for obedience classes and training. If you’re an expert dog training yourself then maybe you can just take care of it at home and save a few dollars. But if like most people, you’re not, then you might want to get the experts in.
You could expect this to cost up to $300 a year. You might not need to spend this every year, right? But in the early days of owning a puppy, you may need to invest several hundred into teaching important commands and obedience. This might also save a lot of money in the future on damaged furniture and so on.
Even if your dog is healthy, you should be budgeting up to $2,000 per year in medical and vet bills. Of course, this could be a whole lot higher if your pooch gets sick. In real terms that means it might be $20,000 over the course of your dog’s life in vet bills even if he or she doesn’t experience any serious health concerns.
This is one of the biggest expenses that new first-time dog owners fail to account for and it’s a huge one.
Boarding and Sitting
If you ever plan to take a vacation or even just a night or two away from home somewhere you can’t take your dog, then you’re going to either need someone to come and stay with them at your home or pay for boarding.
Boarding services can be really expensive. The report suggests it might cost you up to $300 a year.
Can you really afford it?
With estimated costs at anything from $125 to over $800 each month of your dog’s life, can you afford to keep one?
Our most practical tips would be to:
- Assume the worst – that your bills each month will be at the top end of those estimates
- Look at your recent bank account statements and just ask yourself “do I have $800 left at the end of each month right now?”
- If not, are there luxury expenses you plan to stop in order to make it so there will be?
- If the answer is no, then maybe now isn’t quite the right time to think about getting a new dog
Many Americans find themselves in a place where they can no longer afford to keep their pet which is likely to be a contributing factor in the 3.3 million dogs that end up in shelters in the USA each year.
So unless you’re totally sure you can keep up with the expenses of owning a dog, don’t commit to one. It could end up unfair for you and the pet if you are forced to give him or her up because the finances don’t work.