Money Considerations when Buying a Pet

You may recall that a labradoodle puppy joined my family earlier this year. Adding a dog to our household has brought many changes. Some have cost us money. Some have saved us money. Some just serve to demonstrate that it is easier for us to spoil our dog than it is for us to spoil ourselves.

For example, our puppy definitely eats better than anyone else in our house on a consistent basis. Because he is so small, he does not require a lot of food. That allows us to buy him better quality food than we would otherwise have purchased if he had been a larger breed. At every meal, I look over at the fresh meat and vegetables that my puppy is eating and remark to my wife that he eats better than we do. To that, she always reminds me that he deserves it more.

When purchasing a dog, there are a lot of things that you will need to consider. As I look back on six months of pet ownership, here are the financial considerations that never crossed my mind when I was looking for a puppy:

Size Matters

s I mentioned, our dog is small. Unlike most of the humans I know, who seem to eat about the same amount of food regardless of their size, size does matter when it comes to portion control for dogs. Our dog is almost fully grown and he eats about 2 cups of food per day. As a result, it takes us a long time to go through his dog food. If you buy a large dog, you can expect to spend a lot more money on dog food.

Dogs Need Toys, but not Too Many

Do not go crazy buying toys for your dog. Dogs are like kids, they will probably only play with one or two of the many toys that you might buy them. Purchase a size appropriate ball and a piece of thick rope, and you should have enough to keep your puppy busy for a long time. Any other toys will likely get lost before you need them.

Puppies and Babies Have Much in Common – Part 1

Whether you add a baby or a puppy to your house, marketing departments want to know and they want you to try their products in the hope that you will get hooked on them. Before you bring your puppy home, contact the food providers that your veterinarian recommends and ask for samples. They will probably send you a few days worth of food. I received a two week supply from one provider and a one week supply from another. Although it is not good for dogs to switch from one food to another (hard on the stomach), we were able to use the samples to identify the best food for our dog and thus avoid having to buy a lot of different brands until we found the right one.

Puppies and Babies Have Much in Common – Part 2

When puppies go to the bathroom, you have to clean up after them. I have a neighbor who actually buys special bags for her dog”s waste because she likes the texture of the bags. I cannot bring myself to do that so I ask my local grocery store to give me extra plastic bags when I shop. It seems odd to the store because I use reusable bags for my groceries, but I explain that I still need about twenty plastic bags per week for dog waste. It is not environmentally sound but I do not think I have any other alternatives.

If Your Dog is Overweight, You do not get Enough Exercise

This is very true. Especially as your dog grows, it needs exercise and you will need to be the facilitator. This is where a dog can save you money in the long run because having a dog will force you to walk every day.

What other ways can dogs cost you money and save you money? Does the breed or size of dog matter?

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12 Responses to Money Considerations when Buying a Pet

  1. Pet ownership can run crazy money. Even a healthy dog can cost over $1000 a year in health maintenance, food, grooming. Figure 20 a week, easy.

  2. My pet is not overweight and I do not walk her.

    She runs herself ragged in the yard chasing cars from one side of the fence to the other!

    Not all people who have overweight dogs are under-exercised themselves, this statement just seems a bit too ‘broad’, excuse the pun! :) Some just might have other hobbies, interests, metabolisms, and exercise routines that don’t include Rover. Could they stand to take Rover out for a healthful walk? Yes. Absolutely.

  3. Chip Johnson says:

    Great article David! I maintain that pets are more expensive to raise than human children. I am not sure it is possible to save money with dogs.

  4. Ann says:

    I don’t have a pet. LOL If I’d purchased a home further out in the country, I was told I should have a dog as an early warning system (and buy and learn how to use a shotgun for 2- and 4-legged pests). I’m kinda glad I’m in town. :-)

    I have friends though who have spent thousands on their dog! The dog is pedigreed from an excellent line, but still managed to have two major problems that resulted in multiple surgeries. Definitely expensive!

  5. persephone says:

    I like to take my dog to the dog bakeries near my house. There are several and they always give free treats to my dog while we shop.

  6. spicoli says:

    I agree with the comment that it costs about $20 per week to have a dog but I think there are savings, too. I do not have a dog but my parents have seriously cut down on the amount of money they spend eating out and going to stores because neither of them wants to leave their dog home alone.

    Watching them is one of the reasons that I will never buy a dog.

  7. kenyantykoon says:

    we had dogs once, they were german shepherds and i loved them very much but after we moved to a more crowded place, we have never been able to get others. they are nice animals to have around, most of the time anyways, the worst part is cleaning up after them, disgusting….

  8. We have a pet Chinchilla which cost just $95 bucks. However, the bedding and food alone cost $100/month.

    Pets aren’t cheap, but they are cut and relieve streSs! :)


  9. Shibabigk says:

    How small is your dog and what do you fed? How much excrcise does he get? 2 cups seems a lot for a small breed dog, thats more than what one of mine at 70 pounds eats.

  10. Lou Russo says:

    I save money on pets by not having one.

  11. Lisa says:

    What the heck is a labradoodle – don’t you mean a mutt? A fashionable cross breed at best which surprises me that it’s so small. Can we believe one parent was a Labrador and the other a Poodle – but what size Poodle. Hope the bitch wasn’t the smaller of the parents – that would be plain cruel 😛

  12. Gail says:

    What you really didn’t mention was the vet fees and more vet fees as they try to tell you that your pet needs every vaccination known to man. When my vet suggested I take my dog to the airport (60 miles away) to socialize it, I realized that either I or my vet was crazy and I decided it wasn’t me. I no longer have the dog. I loved my dog, but he cost us a bundle of money during his stay with us.

    What I have seen unfortunately, are people with not enough money to feed themselves keeping their pets at great cost to themselves. No pet is worth sacrificing your own well being for, especially if you are flat broke. People facing bankruptcy and the like, one of the first things to go along with Cable TV is the pets they are constantly spending money they don’t have on. Some may think it harsh, but I have no patience for people whining to me how they have no money and then in the next breath tell me about the Burger King sandwiches they had for supper including one for the dog!

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