It cost quite a bit to own my first dog. The appealingly cute puppy was a pedigree after all. But it came as a bit of a shock to discover how much it was necessary to fork out through a canine lifetime.
Vets fees, for example, can add up to a very significant amount. You can cope with the necessary jabs – those vaccination boosters that you would be unwise to ignore – but you will be extremely fortunate if you do not have to cough up for some ailment or other – and if they multiply, or the condition is ongoing, serious, even life-threatening, then the bills will rocket. You could end up paying out a grand or two in your priceless pooch’s lifetime.
Food also eats a big hole into your pocket. The bigger the dog the bigger the hole, of course, but it has been calculated that, on average, it could cost you between £4,500 and £5,500 for a 12-15-year lifespan. Just don’t think about it!
These days you are advised to have your dog microchipped so that you have the peace of mind in knowing that your four-legged friend can be traced if he is stolen or gets lost. But doesn’t that cost quite a bit as well? More expense! Well, no, not really. Twenty to thirty pounds should cover it – and in some re-homing centres you can have it done free of charge.
What about neutering?
If you want to avoid being littered with puppies then this is obviously the answer – but it comes, of course, at further cost to your already stretched pet budget. How much? Up to a hundred pounds, possibly quite a good deal more if you have a very large dog.
All this does not take into account toys, treats, grooming, kennels and so on, which can send costs soaring even further.
So, you may well ask, is there any cost-cutting exercise to adopt which will ease the situation?
One or two points for you to consider.
Firstly, choose one of the less expensive breeds at the outset. You can further reduce the cost by taking a rescue dog, or an older dog or one from the RSPCA.
Secondly, in order to counter the cost of expensive vet visits it may prove profitable to take out pet insurance – but you do need to look into that very carefully.
Thirdly, if you feel you cannot afford to neuter your puppy there are associations who might be prepared to lend a helping hand – the RSPCA for example.
Fourthly, if the cost of food is a problem, again opt for one of the smaller breeds. The smaller the dog the less food is required. Steer clear of a Great Dane or Old English Sheepdog!
Fifthly, ask friends or relatives to look after your dog when you go away rather than using kennels – or, better still, make sure that it is possible to take your dog with you.
Even with all these potential savings in place it can still be a costly experience to add a dog to your family circle. But I’ll tell you something from personal experience – it’s worth every penny. What value can you put on fun, friendship, loyalty, affection, devotion, companionship? All these – and more – will be added to your life by that little – or large – bundle of mischief currently chewing a hole in your best slipper! Bother! No-one mentioned having to buy new slippers!