Caring for and having animals in my life is very near and dear to my heart. I don't know what I would do without dogs?! But before I get into the fun stuff, I want to take a few moments to discuss the reality of having a furry friend in your life. Being a responsible pet owner comes with expense and responsibility that most people do not take into consideration. In the end the animal is either hurt physically or psychologically. I have seen it over and over again... "My son/daughter really wanted a dog", "I didn't know that owning a dog would be this expensive", "I didn't know that a dog would be demanding of MY time", etc, etc
My son/daughter really wants a dog
- EVERYONE in the family should be in agreement that the dog is welcome. Not just the child.
- Observe over time how your child reacts to ALL dogs not just well behaved ones
- Is there a neighborhood dog that your child could volunteer to take care of? This has to be non paid - in my opinion taking care of a family pet should not fall under allowance payment. I am sure any neighbor would love for someone to come over a poop scoop, clean bowls, change water, etc. Again observe your child during this time.
- Let's be honest - you as the parent will be adopting another 'child' to take care of. Are you ready/prepared for that?
- ALL family members should be required to go to dog training school. Training school is not for the dog - it's for the people who take care of them. YOU need to be trained on dog behavior.
I didn't now that owning a dog would be this expensive (addressing the must haves...)
- Vet visits - budget at least $100/mth per dog. This would be on the low end. We have had months where two dogs were sick at the same time with different symptoms. Selby was always sick with her allergies and for at least two years it was $100/$200 per month for her visits. Plus another $50/$80 for medication. For the most part the other two have been healthy dogs with just regular check up visits for vaccinations.
- ER visits - As soon as you call our 24 hr ER pet clinic they tell you that it will be $80 just for the visit. Depending on the severity of the situation plan on $500+ AND because of Murphy's Law - your dog will always be sick on the weekend, never on a weekday so you can see your regular vet. LOL!
- Food - If you are one of the lucky ones that can feed your dog the cheap dog food from the grocery store you are in luck! Fortunately/unfortunately (either way you look at it) we have one dog with extreme food allergies (among other things) and we have to buy natural raw food. This runs us about $32 every two weeks for three small dogs. Probably equivalent to one large dog. There is a plus side to feeding your dogs a good raw diet, besides very healthy dogs - LESS poop!
- Replacing parts of your home - we have replaced carpet.
- Training - a basic dog obedience training class should run you around $65 for four weeks. This is a group setting, which I highly recommend. Other people and dogs need to be around to create realistic behaviors.
- Grooming - I take mine to a friend that happens to work at PetSmart. For the full spa treatment on my dogs it is $30 each. I go every four to six weeks and sometimes they need a home bath in between visits.
- Licensing - this is a yearly fee where I live and it's around $20 for each dog
- Collars and leashes - don't get anything too expensive when you first get your dog. Wait to see what the trainer recommends. They will know what will fit the dog and you the best.
- Bed, kennel and toys - shop your local pet store, be sure to get the appropriate size!
- Kennel fees, daycare or pet sitter
I didn't know that a dog would be demanding of MY time
- Full time job - it really is. Feeding, walking, playing, vet visits, grooming appts, cleaning up poop, etc., this all takes time.
- up keep of your house - unless you get a breed that doesn't shed, you are going to be vacumming at least every other day. I vacumm almost every day and wash dog bedding twice a week. In the winter months I am constantly mopping tile floors because of muddy paws.
- Need to plan ahead for vacations - we are VERY lucky that we have a family support system that helps out with babysitting. Our dogs don't go to a kennel or daycare.
So do you still want to adopt a pet? I hope so! They are the most rewarding beings and the unconditional love is precious.
- There are 4,000 to 6,000 animal shelters
- Nearly 8 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters each year.
- Approximately 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because there are not enough homes.
- 1 out of 4 dogs in shelters are purebreds. Adoption fees are usually much less than the cost of purchasing a dog from a pet store or breeder.
- Only 16% of owned dogs and 15% of owned cats were adopted from an animal shelter.
- Many shelters vaccinate, de-worm, and spay or neuter for free.
Take ACTION today
- Go to a shelter near you to see if there is an animal with which you “connect.” If not, search online for a pet available for adoption.
- Speak with an adoption counselor at the shelter about whether your choice of a particular type or breed will be best for you.
- Only select a pet if you have a realistic understanding of the time, effort, and money required to provide a healthy, loving environment for your pet.
- If you decide that adopting a pet isn’t feasible, advertisers will give free food and care for you.
- Enjoy your newfound friend.
Animals are unconcerned about age, looks, or physical ability; they accept you just as you are. If you’re thinking about getting a pet, seriously consider adopting. Not only will you be saving your new pet’s life, but you’ll also be rewarded with years of companionship, entertainment, unconditional love, and increased opportunities to meet others. Single? Go to a dog park … but only if you have a dog.