The Cost of Owning a Dog



This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at SimpleDollar


Dogs and cats are the two most popular pets on the planet, but the differences between these two animals are stark. Dogs tend to require far more attention than cats do. From a financial standpoint, this translates into more expenses. Dogs need to be brushed every day or every few days-more if you own a particularly energetic breed that frequently gets dirty. More energy results in more injuries, and dogs often benefit from training.

As a rule, owning a dog will be more expensive than owning a cat. It’s important to decide before you adopt which of the two animals is a better fit for your lifestyle.

Adopting From a Shelter

Adopting a dog from a legitimate shelter assures you first that the dog has been taken care of. Shelters take care of immediate medical needs and vaccinate and treat for common maladies such as kennel cough, parvo, and distemper. The adoption fee covers the cost of this medical care, as well as food, shelter, and transport.

Many people prefer to adopt from a shelter. Most of the animals are there because they’ve been abandoned by previous owners or are the victims of puppy mills. Adopting is the most humane option and gives the dogs a second chance. The cost of adoption ranges from $50 for mixed-breed dogs up to $500 for purebreds.

While the cost of adoption may seem high, it covers a number of expenses and can actually save you money in the long run. The total cost of everything a shelter provides for a dog often exceeds the adoption fee.

Purchasing From a Pet Store

Pet stores are usually the go-to option for first time pet owners, but many animal lovers warn against them. Pet stores, particularly smaller ones, often purchase their animals from high-volume breeders. These breeders are more concerned with making a profit than the well-being of the animals. This means that animals purchased from pet stores have a higher risk of health problems than those adopted from a shelter or bought from a licensed breeder.

High-volume breeders often keep animals confined to cages for years, only allowing limited amounts of exercise per day. They do this to keep the males and females separated, only allowing them together for the purpose of mating. The Best Friends Animal Society, an organization dedicated to the proper treatment of pets,details the problems with puppy mills and ways the average person can fight back.

The average cost of purchasing a dog from a pet store is upwards of $1000, but despite this higher cost, there are few benefits. Unlike shelters, pet stores don’t spay and neuter animals, and most don’t treat illnesses.

Purchasing From a Breeder

A licensed, legitimate breeder is the way to go if you’re interested in a specific type of dog. Licensed breeders undergo routine inspections of their facilities and treat their animals with care, so you don’t have to worry about the ethics of their operation. Breeders are the easiest way to get a purebred dog of the type you want. People interested in competing in dog shows will most likely need to go through a breeder to get papers for the American Kennel Club.

Another benefit to purchasing from a breeder is that undesirable traits will likely have been bred out. Health and behavioral issues are minimized as much as possible through selective breeding, while the traits a pet owner wants-obedience, loyalty, friendliness, etc.-are encouraged.

That said, a breeder can be expensive. Many dog breeds start at $2,000 or more.

NOTE: These prices are only estimates and that real prices can vary significantly due pedigree and location of breeders.

If you’re interested in owning a dog but you don’t have a huge budget, these are some of the least expensive dog breeds to own.

NOTE: While these prices on average are relatively cheaper than the expensive breeds, they can cost significantly more depending on factors such as pedigree and certifications.

This article was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Jessica Carter of The Simple Dollar © 2017