Anyone that owns a family dog, or had one growing up knows that their presence in your life is priceless. They offer unconditional love, hours of fun, and are a great way for children to take on some responsibilities. For a family living on a tight budget, dog ownership can become more difficult, especially when the hidden costs of owning a pet begin to surface. Before seriously considering pet adoption, every family should sit down and determine if they can afford a dog, and ways in which everyone can help take care of the new addition to the family.
Consider the following when determining whether you can afford a dog, or find ways to cut costs.
Purchasing vs Adopting
There are a lot of upfront costs to pet ownership, and the only real big difference will be whether you decide to purchase a pet or adopt. Even pet adoption comes with fees, and a lot of adoption agencies will charge the vet fees, a charge for the animal’s care and other fees depending on the agency. The fees help recoup some of the money spent on operations and ensure that you are committed. They do not want your dog to end up back in a shelter. If you choose to purchase a pet you can expect the fees to be higher. It is important to remember that paying for a purebred does not mean that your dog will come without any of the health risks that plague mill-bred animals.
In addition to the cost of getting a dog, there are several other one time expenses that you are going to have to be able to manage upfront. Licenses, crates, shots and training fees are all costly. Begin finding out what local vets charge and take a trip to the pet store to determine the amount that the family will need to save in order to provide for a pet.
While the family is browsing the pet store, take note of the recurring costs associated with pet care, such as food, flea and tick medication, hygiene products and cleaning products. Determine how much you will spend on these products monthly, so that you can fit them into the family monthly budget. Also look at ways in which you can cut back on these expenses, such as reusing grocery bags instead of purchasing pet waste bags or baking homemade treats instead of purchasing pre-packaged treats.
Dog Care and Sitting
Unfortunately we can’t always take our dogs with us where ever we go. Dog care and sitting is one of the hidden costs of dog ownership. Determine how much these fees would be and how often you would need to use them. Do you travel a lot? Work long hours? Will children or other family members be available to provide care?
Vet and Emergency Care
Just like other family members, pets need regular, and sometimes emergency care. If a family pet were to become ill and required special care, can the family afford it? Determine if there is room in your budget to set aside funds for veterinary and emergency care.
Once the entire family has gone through all of the costs of bringing home a dog, make the decision together if pet ownership is right for you right now. It is okay to put this decision on hold until the time is right for your family to take on the responsibility of dog ownership.
Special thanks to Sophie Sanchez for sharing her knowledge with this post!