If you're thinking of adding a dog to your family, you're probably anticipating having your heart stolen by a four-legged friend. That said, that love and loyalty comes at a very steep price. Before taking on the responsibility of adding a pet to your family, make sure to carefully consider these points from our Austell vets. 

Expenses to Consider

If you are starting to consider whether owning a dog is within your budget, it's important to keep in mind that while specific prices for vet care and supplies will vary widely depending on your location, where you shop, how much you feed and spoil your four-legged friend, etc., there are different types of expenses involved. We'll look at some of those here. 

One-Time Expenses

  • Purchasing your dog
  • Having your pooch spayed or neutered 
  • Cost of breed-specific or elective surgeries such as tail docking 

Recurring Annual Expenses 

Monthly Expenses

  • Food 
  • Medication
  • Parasite protection 

Emergency Expenses 

  • Injuries
  • Accidents
  • Chronic illness (cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, etc.)
  • Sudden illness (diarrhea, difficulty breathing, vomiting) 

It's important to be prepared for each of these types of expenses from the start and plan accordingly, so that you aren't surprised by unexpected expenses along the way. 

Calculating the Average Cost of Owning a Dog 

Of course, as mentioned above numbers can vary widely as you estimate how much a dog costs since there are so many factors to consider, including the size and breed of your dog, health risks of your dog's breed and the services you'll use to keep your dog looking and feeling their very best. 

Beyond prevention and veterinary care, to estimate your realistic cost of owning a dog, you'll also want to price out the cost of food (based on how much your chosen dog breed will eat), toys, beds, treats, grooming sessions, leashes and collars, obedience training, boarding for vacations, and potentially the price of hiring a dog walker. 

Another variable to consider is where you live. Services from veterinary care to grooming and dog sitting range widely in price between locations. For a true estimate of costs, you will need to consider the breed you are looking at getting, that breed's risk of chronic illness, and how much the pet services your dog will need cost in your area.

Ways to Make Dog Ownership More Affordable

If you have your heart set on having a dog as part of your family, there are ways to help make the annual cost of owning a dog more affordable.

Set Aside a Money Just For Pet Care

If you are good at saving and budgeting this may be a good solution for you. Whether you use a separate bank account or a jar tucked away somewhere safe. Calculate how much you would need if your pet suffered a veterinary emergency then work out a reasonable about to tuck away each payday. Having that money put aside may help to make veterinary emergencies less stressful when they strike.

Pet Insurance

If you are concerned about the high cost of emergency care or caring for a pet with a chronic illness, pet insurance may be right for you. Pet insurance can certainly help to relieve the burden of emergency care costs, but it's important to understand what your pet's policy covers before signing on the dotted line.

Wellness Plans

Many veterinarians offer wellness plans to help pet parents budget for their pet's annual preventive care. These plans take annual of recommended preventive care and divide that cost into 12 easy-to-manage payments. At Bullard Animal Hospital our pet wellness plans for dogs include annual core vaccines, 2 routine exams per year, your dog's Bordetella vaccine, 12 months of flea and tick prevention and 12 months of essential heartworm protection.

Learn more about the differences between pet insurance and wellness plans

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Looking to learn more about our services and pet wellness plans? Contact our Austell vets today.