Before snapping up one of those adorable puppies the man down the street is giving away, you need to plan ahead and think of just how much the little furball will cost you. No pet is free, not when you factor in medical care, basic needs such as food and shelter, and that's just for starters!
Most breeders will de-worm and give their puppies the first round of vaccinations. However, not everyone does this, and there's a good chance that anyone giving puppies away for free will not have invested much in medical care. You need to plan to take your puppy in to the veterinarian as soon as possible. There are all sorts of common parasites that puppies are born with or can catch easily while they are young.
Vaccinating your puppy is critical for its long term health. Not only is this a matter of common sense, it is also against the law for failing to give animals rabies vaccines. In addition to rabies, there are many diseases that can be fatal to a young dog. The old saying really is true, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Vaccinate your puppy yearly or else risk spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on medical care later.
Feeding your new puppy seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it can be a little more tricky than just buying the cheapest bag of kibble you see at the store. Many breeds of dogs require a more specialized diet than you may have realized. If your dog happens to develop a food allergy, which is much more common than most people think, you'll be shelling out some big bucks for a hypoallergenic diet.
Add up all of the costs for veterinary visits, food, toys, and a place to sleep, and you'll probably realize that there is nothing "free" about taking home a new pup. Keep this in mind when thinking about a furry new addition to your home, and be sure crunch the numbers and make sure it fits into your budget. You sure don't want to eat the 10 packs for a dollar noodles every night just so Fido can have his Lamb and Veal kibble! Make sure you can afford it, remember to put in the time and effort to train your new pet, and you'll have a happy, healthy, little friend bouncing around the house!