How much does it cost to own a dog? Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer – it depends a lot on the breed of the dog and how you raise them. Here are just some of the main costs that come with adopting a dog and how you can save money on each of these costs.
The initial adoption cost can vary depending on where you adopt your dog from. Pure breed dogs are a lot more costly to adopt than mixed breed dogs (with samoyeds, bulldogs and chow chows ranking as some of the most expensive breeds). Puppies meanwhile tend to fetch more than older dogs, simply because many people want to raise a dog from when it’s young. You’ll save a lot of money by adopting an older dog that isn’t a pure breed.
Dogs can get through a lot of food – especially larger breeds. There are lots of ways to save money on dog food. Firstly, you can try buying food in bulk. This can be useful when it comes to kibble, which has a long expiry date. Secondly, you can save money by avoiding premium dog food brands. Despite contrary claims, cheaper brands are often just as healthy as more expensive brands. Finally, you could consider trying some DIY dog food recipes. The likes of liver cake and peanut butter biscuits can be great homemade treats.
Toys can be essential for keeping your dogs occupied (especially puppies). Some dogs love toys more than others. Certain dogs may also have a more destructive streak, which could mean higher costs spent replacing toys regularly. It’s possible to make your own dog toys to save money. Such DIY toys can be great for everyday dogs, but those that are keen destroyers may require something more robust. Investing in more resilient dog toys could be worthwhile.
Some people go crazy accessorising their dog with outfits and props. However, for many dog owners, only a few practical accessories are necessary such as a lead, collar and possibly a jacket (short haired dogs need them in winter). Equipment such as dog bowls and a crate could also be necessary, but these aren’t going to cost you much (used equipment is always cheapest).
Vet bills are one of the biggest costs of being a dog owner. While check-ups and vaccinations tend not to be too expensive, treatment like surgery can cost thousands. Pet insurance could help to pay for these costs and make treatment more affordable – it’s best to take out a life-time insurance policy when your dog is young as you’ll usually pay less in the long run. While different clinics may charge different rates for treatment, it’s more important to choose a vet you trust than it is to choose a vet that has the lowest rates. You can find tips on choosing a vet at this blog from Jennifer Perusek. Try out different vets in your area to find one that you get on with the best.
Dogs require grooming to keep them healthy. This includes cleaning their coat, trimming hair if necessary, clipping their nails, cleaning their ears and cleaning their teeth. You can hire a dog groomer to do many of these tasks, although learning to do your own grooming could save you a lot of money. You can find tips at sites like Dogster.