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Calculating the Real Cost of Owning a Dog

There's nothing like the love and devotion of a four-legged friend! But that affection and loyalty comes at a very real price. Before welcoming a dog into your family, consider these financial aspects of dog ownership.

Expenses to Consider

When you are considering whether owning a dog is within your budget it's important to remember that there are different types of expenses that occur when caring for your four-legged family member.

There are four different categories of expenses to consider, but when calculating the annual cost of owning a dog it's really the monthly, annual and emergency expenses that need to be considered. These are the expenses you will need to be prepared for year after year, (although hopefully you never need to dip into that emergency fund).

One-Time Expenses

  • Purchasing your dog
  • Spaying or neutering your pup
  • Creed-specific surgeries (ie: tail docking)

Monthly Expenses

  • Parasite protection
  • Medications
  • Food
  • Daycare or boarding

Recurring Annual Expenses

Emergency Expenses

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Chronic Illness (diabetes, cancer, etc)
  • Sudden Illness (diarrhea, asthma, etc)

Calculating The Average Cost of Owning a Dog

It's important to remember that when it comes to estimating how much a dog costs the numbers vary wildly. That's because there are countless factors to consider, including the size and breed of the dog, health risks of your dog's breed and the services needed to keep your dog looking and feeling top-notch.

Beyond veterinary care and prevention, to get to a realistic cost of owning a dog you will also want to look at the cost of food (based on how much your chosen dog breed will eat), grooming sessions, toys, treats, beds, collars and leashes, obedience training, boarding for vacations, and possibly the price of hiring a dog walker.

Another variable to consider is where you live. The cost of services such as veterinary care, grooming and dog sitting range widely in price from one location to another. For a true estimate of costs, you will need to consider the breed you are looking at getting, that breed's risk of chronic illness, and how much the pet services your dog will need cost in your area.

Ways to Make Dog Ownership More Affordable

If you have your heart set on having a dog as part of your family, there are ways to help make the annual cost of owning a dog more affordable.

Pick a Food That Meets All of  Your Dog's Nutritional Requirements

The quality of food that you provide to your pup will play a key role in their overall health. Choosing a high-quality food that meets all of your furry friend's nutritional requirements (based on their breed, age, and lifestyle), could save you money on vet bills later.

Also, when choosing the food you want to provide your pup, read labels carefully. Although some foods may seem much cheaper on the surface, if you need to feed more at each meal you may find that lower-quality foods cost nearly as much as premium foods that offer higher nutritional value and fewer additives. Compare serving sizes as a part of your research to ensure you get the best value for your hard-earned cash.

Set Aside Money Just For Pet Care

If you are good at saving and budgeting this may be a good solution for you, whether you use a separate bank account or a jar tucked away somewhere safe. Calculate how much you would need if your pet suffered a veterinary emergency then work out a reasonable amount to tuck away each payday. Having that money put aside may help to make veterinary emergencies less stressful when they strike.

Pet Insurance

If you are concerned about the high cost of emergency care or caring for a pet with a chronic illness, pet insurance may be right for you. Pet insurance can certainly help to relieve the burden of emergency care costs, but it's important to understand what your pet's policy covers before signing on the dotted line.

Once you bring home your new pup, our team can help you to give them all the care they need to thrive. Contact our Augusta vets today to book an examination for your furry family member.

New Patients Welcome

Highland Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Augusta companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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