There are a myriad of excuses or reasons that people give when they bring their dog to the shelter and leave it there, saying “you’ll find it a good home, right”. The most common “reason”, by far is “I can’t afford this dog anymore”. (And by the way this applies to cats as well).
So, before you take a dog, or cat into your life, think about what the costs are and if you can’t handle the following numbers then please, don’t get a dog or cat, and please, please don’t go to a pet store/breeder/kid on the street with a box of “purebreds” and shell out hundreds to even thousands for the dog.
The ASPCA has put together a list of costs of pet ownership. It includes many things, from vet care, to toys, collars, leashes, insurance and training. This article focuses on the basics of what you can expect to spend on your pet. (The ASPCA list includes dogs, cats, and other small mammals)
First, there is medical care and food, the basics. It can cost anywhere from 55 to 255 dollars to feed a dog per year, depending on the size. To have that dog spayed or neutered can cost between 200 and 300 dollars. Ongoing medical expenses (vaccinations, yearly exams, flea and tick medication) can cost anywhere from 200 to 300 dollars. Expect to spend another 100 dollars on collars, toys, treats, etc. These are just ranges, and averages, the amounts can differ of course.
So if you can’t spend a minimum of 300 dollars a year on your dog (the cost goes up the larger the dog), then don’t get one. We don’t want to see you at the shelter saying “I can’t afford this dog”. And for goodness sake, if you do get one, adopt it. Your adoption fee covers spaying and neutering, micro chipping, vaccines, the first vet visit, and many other little extras depending on where you adopt your pet.
Often the excuse for bringing a pet to the shelter isn’t just “I can’t afford it”, but “I can’t afford the ongoing medical care, or surgery that the pet needs. Get pet insurance. You get it for your car, get it for your pet. The ASPCA has pet insurance as do many other companies. There is Gopetplan.com insurance, as well VPI pet insurance. Dogs aren’t perfect and neither are cats. They get allergies, upper respiratory disease, eye and ear problems, and as they get older the problems increase, just like us. They can become arthritic, have bladder problems and this is when they need you, their owners the most. Many of the owner turn ins are dogs over the age of 10 that their people just don’t want to deal with anymore, or are financially unwilling to deal with them.
The old saying “How much is that doggie in the window” does not have an easy answer. It does cost money to own a pet, just like your cell phone, your car, your house and your kids cost money. If you have credit card balances unpaid, your paycheck is gone before you have paid your bills or you are deeply in debt…don’t adopt. Wait until your situation improves, because, unfortunately, there will always be a dog at the shelter for you to rescue.