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The Average Cost Of Dog Ownership

Thinking of Adopting a Dog?

The Average Cost of Dog Ownership Is Worth Every Penny

You want a dog, and you’re going to adopt. How much is it going to cost initially, and how much from then on? Each dog is different, but basic costs are very much the same.

The initial cost of adopting a dog from a governmental animal shelter or a rescue organization, either a humane society or a private group, can cost more than $200. That fee includes all shots, spaying or neutering and microchipping. The private groups will cost more than the humane societies and the government shelters because they provide all veterinarian care beyond the basics. Many groups will pay for medical costs for anything from kennel cough to eye surgery.

Before you bring the dog home, you have to prepare your home for the dog. That means bringing in food, both wet and dry, and treats. Dog food ranges in price from what you can get at the grocery store to more expensive and healthier brands at pet stores. Food is a monthly expense, so budget it in.

Don’t forget the food has to go into something. As does water. Water and food bowls can be lightweight or heavy ceramic. The eight-inch Metro dog bowl is ceramic with a footprint decoration at the bottom of the bowl. Prices run from about $10 to $40 for a fancy holder with the bowls.

Toys (such as the 22-inch tug toy with tennis ball or the Nylabone Toro puppy roll, stuff and chew) are a must. You don’t want a bored dog because they can become destructive. Toys can range in price from a few dollars to quite a few dollars.

Don’t forget bedding (look at the preppy puppy plaid dog bed), which should hold a sprawled out pooch and contain padding. If you don’t want the dog in the bed with you, get him his own. Beds can go from $30 to more than $100, depending on size and extras.

The dog will need a collar and leash, also. Take a look at the classic flat leather dog collar and the Flexi Expression leash. The large power breed dogs will probably need a choke collar in addition to a regular collar, but the smaller dogs need only a regular. Collars can range in price from about $10 to $30. Leashes can run from $10 to $40 for a retractable lead.

The final cost that is a budgetary one, annual trips to the vet for shots. Dogs need booster shots for many diseases, and they need a rabies shot every three years. The dog can’t be registered without proof of these shots. This yearly visit is usually about $100 in the high-income states and lower in the other states.

Also, they’ll need flea and tick protection. There are flea collars and powders, but what’s recommended is either Advantage or Frontline Plus, which won’t chafe like the collars or wind up in the dog’s stomach after he licks himself. Advantage and Frontline come in packets of three, four or six, one per month, so budget them in.

All in all, it’s a pretty good bargain. For a few hundred dollars you can have a fully equipped dog, a dog who will give you years of adoration and companionship.


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