Before I start listing out expenses, let me state that I own a dog and he is one of the best decisions I ever made. This post is more of a “heads up” for anyone considering bringing a dog into their home. Yes, this post is only about dogs because I don’t (currently) have any other animals besides some fish. I have a lot of friends who are considering getting a dog but don’t seem to quite understand the time and money commitment of owning one.
First you need to consider whether you will buy or adopt. My opinion is that unless you need a specific breed of dog for allergy reasons, as a support animal, or as a working animal, then you should adopt. There are many amazing dogs in shelters and you can even find rescues that focus on specific breeds if you’re that determined to have a certain breed. Buying a dog can easily range from $500-$2000. Adoption prices vary as well, but the average I have seen is around $200 and that usually includes a round of shots and the cost of spaying or neutering.
Once you own a dog, you will either come home during lunch or have someone walk the dog during the day. When Koda was puppy, I paid a woman to come during lunch and walk him because I unable to make it home from my job. I was lucky to find someone who took cash at $15 for 45 minutes. There are now places such as doggy day care that you can take your dog during the day to run around. One place near me charges $30 a day. Consider whether you will be able to get home and let your dog out, or if you will be adding in extra costs such as dog walking into your monthly budget.
Training is another costly aspect. If you get a dog you should absolutely spend time training it. Paying a trainer can be expensive and rates really vary depending on where you live and the experience level of the trainer. Long term, the training will pay off and probably save you more money due to your dog not destroying your house, biting a person, or eating stuff they shouldn’t.
Before I discuss what I spend a month on my dog, I want to add a quick note about time. You will need to drive home after work and let the dog out, exercise it, and train it. Time is an opportunity cost and that is different for everyone.
Ok, let’s take a closer look at what I spend a month on Koda.
Dental: Greenies Treats – $20.00 – these last closer to 1 1/2 months
Flea and Tick Prevention: Nexgard runs me around $75 dollars for a 3 month supply at the vet so $25/month
Total this up and I spend about $130.00 per month on my dog. Yes, I buy dog more expensive dog food, and no, I don’t always buy treats or toys. I did not average out the shots he need’s twice a year or other miscellaneous vet bills that sometimes occur.
I am not trying to discourage anyone from getting an animal. I believe they are wonderful companions and rescuing is very rewarding. Hopefully this information helps you decide if you have the time and money to care for one.