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Money Management

The Recurring Costs in Owning a Dog

Pet ownership is a big responsibility in more ways than one.

I love, love, love dogs. But while owning a dog is a wonderful, life-enriching thing, it’s also a big investment. I’m not just talking about time and training (though that’s certainly a factor); financial experts ballpark the annual costs of owning a dog to be anywhere between $1,400 and $3,400, depending on your living situation, lifestyle, and the breed of dog itself. If you’ve got a mountain of disposable income, a dog isn’t that big of an impact, but if things are a little tighter, you should consider a few things carefully before adopting.

First of all, even the bare minimum quality of dog food will cost you a good $250 annually, to say nothing of fancier or diet-approved food. That’s also not factoring in treats, which can easily tack on another couple hundred. Depending on how large the breed of your dog is, that cost is going to go up, as you’ll need more food on a regular basis to keep them properly fed.

Secondly, for lack of a better word, accessories. I’m talking things like beds, toys, and leashes. Dogs should always have toys of their own to keep themselves stimulated, and if they’re particularly rough with their toys, you can easily blow through anywhere from $25 to $350 annually. A proper bed and leash are also a must, so the dog has a safe place to sleep, and you have an important tool for walks, respectively. That’s another $150, if you’re lucky.

The most expensive recurring cost in dog ownership is veterinary costs. Just like people, dogs need regular checkups, and as they get older, they may also need special treatments and medications. Proper veterinary care can run you up to $2,000 annually if your dog isn’t the hardiest.

These are just a few of the main costs in owning a dog. We didn’t even cover all of the miscellaneous fees like pet-sitting/kennel services, grooming, and training. The point is that, as I said at the start, a dog can be a wonderful addition to your family and your life, but you need to be able to commit to it. You need to consider very carefully whether you can afford to care for a dog properly, because it’s not fair to them if you try to do it halfway.

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