One of the biggest responsibilities a child—or a family—can take on is adopting a dog as a pet.
Feeding, walking, grooming and cleaning up after a dog are daily responsibilities that everyone can do, and will also help teach children how to take care of something they love. For parents, however, there’s the extra task of paying for all the costs associated with the dog.
Here are some of the primary expenses of owning a dog that a family should consider before bringing one home:
Adoption fees are the first costs you’ll incur, whether from a pet store, private breeder or animal shelter.
Animal shelters will be the least expensive, though they’ll likely require your dog to be spayed or neutered at a cost of up to $200 or so. There are also the costs of vaccinations, license and microchip, all of which can easily add $100 or more to the initial cost.
Add in some initial necessities such as a leash, collar, food, dishware, bed and a crate, and you can easily spend $200 or so at a pet store to make your dog feel at home.
Animal shelters may give you a coupon for a free visit to a local veterinarian for your dog’s first checkup. After that, you’ll have to pay for more vaccinations, annual physicals and any injuries that may pop up.
Bear in mind your vet may recommend a kennel cough vaccination for your dog, heartworm test and prevention pills, flea and tick prevention tablets, and other services.
This is an optional cost, but one worth considering when adopting a dog. If your dog doesn’t have any serious illnesses and is spayed or neutered, $35 per month for a pet insurance plan is reasonable. That includes 80 percent reimbursement and $250 annual deductible. That’s $670 per year out of your pocket before medical costs are paid.
Having major surgery can more than pay for the cost, and even a middle-of-the road illness can make pet insurance worthwhile.
Daily care costs are minimal. You can probably get by spending $30 or less per month on dog food. You can give your dog a bath and haircut yourself, and dog toys are pretty cheap.
Once you’ve got a dog leash and collar in hand, walking your dog is free—and that may be the best part of these expenses: free exercise.