If you have welcomed or are thinking about welcoming a new family dog to your home you will have done your research and realised that you will be up for significant ongoing costs to look after your pet. Here I will provide some insights into potential costs you might encounter during the course of your pet’s lifetime as well as some ways to alleviate such costs.
Costs to own a dog
The cost to own a dog varies widely between breeds, your location, your type of home, your personal preferences and just sheer luck. You can purchase pet insurance to at least cover your dog’s unexpected expenses - this should be a relief because such costs really can add up to a lot depending on your dog’s ailment.
Puppy ownershipp costs in the first year
So let’s take a look at what expenses you might be up for in your first year of puppy ownership; this is obviously a rough guide and the actual costs will vary:
PUPPY OWNERSHIP COSTS IN YEAR ONE
|Puppy Vaccine Series
|Flea & Heartworm Prevention
|Leash & Collar
Dog ownership costs after year one
Dogs generally live for anywhere between 8 and 18 years. Smaller dogs generally live longer lives and obviously encounter more veterinary bills as a result.
In the years following their puppy stage pet owners will find themselves needing to pay for basics such as food, new leashes & collars, pet beds, chewy toys, flea & heartworm and deworming medication - these come in at roughly $950 per year. On top of this your dog will need grooming and shampoo & conditioner at $400 per year plus veterinary check-ups twice a year at $60 a visit. In total you will be looking at around $1400 per year of regular expenses, give or take.
On top of your regular ongoing costs you are going to encounter further unexpected costs. An old saying that a dog’s life is cheap really doesn’t apply! Further vet costs can set you back plenty of money so it’s a no brainer to plan ahead.
A recent study by Kelly Giffear and Brittany Scott from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine displays statistics related to the costs of raising a dog. To give you an idea of what you might be up for, here are some typical costs to you for a serious sick visit to the vet which you will likely encounter once a year:
Surgery - $829
Imaging - $219
Antibiotics - $26
Microbiology exams - $55
Labwork - $299
Hospitalization - $194
Exam fee - $55
Pain meds - $23
TOTAL - $650
*Prices are average for a 50lb dog. Costs for smaller sized dogs are higher. Source: nationwidedvm.com
According to Giffear and Scott, the average lifetime cost of raising a dog is $23,410.
A simple fact is that despite the evidence detailing the costs involved in keeping a dog, at most only 3% of Americans take up pet insurance. This is a growing number but still extremely low and I truly believe it should be higher for our pets’ sake. After continually monitoring the insurance market as to who I would recommend I feel the following two pet insurers currently offer the best care and quality coverage. In full disclosure I do receive a kickback if you decide to go with one of the plans I have recommended. Please make sure you relay your experiences for my readers in the comments below too!
Petplan - the world’s largest pet insurer who boast their “Covered for Life” insurance - if your pet develops a chronic, re-occurring or life long illness that will require expensive treatment and medication for the rest of its life Petplan’s ‘Covered for Life’ policy will be there for the long haul.
Embrace Pet Insurance - Embrace pet insurance will look after you for general accidents and illnesses as well as their optional Routine Care coverage. They also have specific cover for rescued and adopted dogs. Embrace pet insurance cover is available to USA pets only.