If you have read some of my previous posts, you know I am an animal lover, and I especially favor dogs. Maybe cats are smarter and more independent, but there is nothing like a tail wagging at 100 mph and a big tongue hanging out to greet you when you come home from being gone five minutes or five hours. (These are my dogs, not my husband) I took in another foster puppy this week. He is only with us for a few days while he is recovering from surgery. My permanent dogs are 4 and 10 years old. With the contrast in ages, I’ve been wondering if it costs more money to get an older dog or a puppy? From my recent experiences, I’ll share a cost breakdown.
We’ll assume the costs are for mid range quality food, and the veterinary costs are for my area, which may vary depending on where you live.
New Puppy Costs
When I picked up two 4 month old puppies on the side of the road recently, I knew I wasn’t going to keep them forever. If I had decided to keep one, though, here is an idea of what it would cost. You might also buy a new puppy from a breeder or take one from someone who had an unwanted litter. You can get puppies from shelters, but for this example, assume you are getting him elsewhere.
Shots: Puppies need more shots than older dogs, plus an exam with the veterinarian and worming treatment, depending on where the dog was found. $300
Spay/Neuter: We’ll assume we kept the boy puppy, since neutering is less than spaying. $100
Food: Puppies eat all the time, kind of like new babies. We were feeding the little guys at least 4-5 cups of puppy chow a day. $45/month=$540/year
Chew toys: While older dogs might like toys, it is not a vital as giving the new pup something to chew besides your furniture and remote controls. I was realy surprised at how much chew toys cost. $100/year
Kennel: You need some sort of place to contain the little dynamo until he is house broken and doesn’t chew everything. $50
Carpet Cleaning: The little guy is going to pee on your floor. Even if you rent a rug doctor, the cost of supplies plus machine adds up. $80
Replacements: Even though you bought chew toys, puppy is going to shred something; shoes, books, phones. The limiting factor is only what you can put out of range. $200
Training: With a new puppy, you or someone will have to train the little guy. If it’s you, that’s time away from other things you might need to do. If you have a trainer, it could cost $250/year
Emergencies: You never have any idea how much emergency pet expenses are going to be. We budget $100 a month. I answer the messages for the local Humane Society, and we get calls every day for pet owners who are in a bind and can’t afford emergency vet care. Bills are usually between $300-$500 and can be in the thousands if a surgery is needed. For this example we’ll ball park $300/year.
Annual Puppy Costs: $1920
We’ll assume you went to the shelter and adopted a dog that is not a puppy and who has been spayed or neutered with all shots completed.
Veterinary Bills: In Colorado, older dogs only need a rabies shot every three years and parvo/distemper annually. $100
Food: We’ll assume a 60lb adult dog who eats 2-3 cups of food per day. $35/month=$420/year.
Emergencies can be the same for any dog, so we’ll say it’s the same as above. $300 per year.
Senior Costs: When your dog hits the 9-10 year mark or less for large dogs, you will probably have some regular monthly bills. Our older dog, Ralph, is on Rimadyl right now at $30 per month or $360/year, and he has to go in every 6 months for lab testing $600/year. You also need a dental every 2-3 years at this point around $400 a pop,which averages to around $133/year.
Annual Cost for an older dog: $2063
Guess what? All dogs, regardless of size or age, cost lots of money.These examples don’t even cover things like licenses, collars, bedding, and lots of other stuff you generally have with a dog. If you are in financial trouble, like Married With Debt points out, you probably don’t need to take on a pet if you can’t afford at least $2000 a year, conservatively. That is one reason so many animals get abandoned or surrendered. People don’t consider the cost. It’s not fair to you or the dog if you can’t afford it’s basic needs.
If you want the joy of a pet, but can’t afford it there are other options, like volunteering at the animal shelter or humane society. You can also foster animals while they are awaiting forever homes. As with any major addition to your family, you should look at the big financial picture before deciding to bring home a puppy, older dog, or any pet.
How much do you spend in pet costs per year? Anyone want a puppy?