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Lifetime cost of a dog

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#1 tenar

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:37 PM

What has your dog cost you through it's lifetime?

I was talking with my mum earlier and she was trying to dissuade me from planning another dog when my old girl dies, as they are just getting so expensive to keep. We are both dog lovers and I have never imagined not having a dog. But the conversation has gotten me thinking, as it is definitely true that we have spent a fortune on this dog in recent years.

I estimate the following costs:

Purebred puppy (from a wonderful breeder): $850 (14 years ago, would be more now)
Setup equipment: $400 (I was a student, would be more now)
Dog school for about 6 months: $300. (Don't remover the cost, guessing here)
Desexing: 300

Food: prob an average of $10/week over 14 years. More in recent years as her needs got more complicated due to poor health.  

Vet: $200/year for vaccinations and checkup
       $600 in accident/illness care for first few years (minor stuff
       $1500/ year for last several years. I'm guessing this, as it has been lots of smaller things due to an ongoing health problem, common in the breed, that has all sorts of knock on effects.  I do know its been thousands and thousands, including major surgery and heaps of blood tests.

Transport overseas and back, quarantine. Prob a total cost of $4000.  I lived overseas for 3 years, had to take her.

So, assuming I haven't forgotten anything major (I do all grooming, she has never been in a kennel except for quarantine), that comes to:

First year: $2550
Ages 1 to 5: $900/ year approx, 3600 for the 4 years
Ages 6 to 14: $2700/year approx, 17600 for 8 years

Total of around $27750 for her life so far (14 years).
This is for a small dog (mini schnauzer) with a common health problem (canine hyperlipidemia).

What do you think your dog costs you?

#2 Jellyblush

Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:52 PM

My answer is who cares. It's more what NOT having her would cost me. It would cost me my best friend and lots of happiness.

Not trying to disrespect your question - the honest truth is I am scared to think about what it has cost in financial terms!

Food  = $15 per week for 150 weeks = $2250
Treats = $10 per week for 150 weeks = $1500
Drugs = $120 months for 20 months = $2400
Adoption fees = $350
Obedience = $320
Training programs = 680
Behaviourist = $1200
Toys inc. expensive food dispensing ones = $300
Kennel = $180
Mats, Beds = $400
Leads, harnesses = $200
Collars = $120
Council tags = $120
Insurance = $59 x 150 weeks = $2006
New back doors x 4 = $2500
New interior doors x 2 = $800
Eaten weatherboards = $1200
New side gate = $680
Walker = 60 pw x 52 weeks = $3120
minding $80 pw x 2 weeks = $160
Misc eaten shoes, sunnies etc = $500 approx
Out of pocket vet = $800
Daycare = $1200
Boarding = $600
Damage to new property = $1000

$23,506 .... I've had her just over 3 years .....

Nah, still worth it wink.gif

Must be a huge figure for those involved in breeding or training!

#3 Justaduck

Posted 04 February 2013 - 10:11 PM

$190 for the dog
$100 for things to try and contain him in the yard
$500 for a containment fence after others failed
$70 x 3 for new wire each time we have had to move
$150 for a replacement collar for the fence
$350/yr for pet insurance
$800 for when he had a tick prior to insurance
$300 for when he has been sick and kept in the vet overnight
$10 every 6 weeks for a tick collar
$160/yr for wormers
$30ish a month for food
$10 a year for a replacement name tag - they keep falling off
$400 for desexing & microchipping
$45 a year for rego
$20/night for someone to look after him if we go away
$300 for when he jumped onto a chair and it fell back in and smashed a window
$200 for random things he chewed
$200 for toys I have bought him that he has then chewed through & the one that he couldn't he didn't use
$200 for a kennel
$40 for a dog bed
$10 a year on new mats/blankets etc as needed

& then there is the burden of very limited housing options. I bought him when I owned a house. Ex & I split & now I am renting. Very hard to find a house that allows pets...if you add the extra $50 a week for the only house that would take us with a dog...that adds up too

My parents have just spent $1200 on their dogs teeth. Also $300 on injections for arthritis

#4 tenar

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:34 AM

Jellyblush I'm not at all suggesting that it might not be worth it.  Or that having a dog in the family is about the money at all.  But I do think it's worth us considering what the lifetime cost of having a pet might be, as far as it can be predicted.  

When it comes down to it, if having another dog in our family would cost us a year's worth of my income, we might, for example, decide that it would be better for the family, especially the kids, if I spent another year at home with them instead of having that dog.  I think decisions like these are important.  

The thing is that 15 years ago, when I decided to get a dog, there was no way of predicting the massive increase in the cost of vet bills that we have seen today.  The vets can do a lot more things now, but it all comes at a price.  There was also no way of predicting that I would return from overseas with a dog who had been insured when overseas but was now uninsurable in Australia, meaning that we have had to pay for 100% of vet costs since then, and they have been substantial.  

That's why I'm asking.  Not to be horrified, or even surprised, at people's decisions.  But trying to get an idea as to whether our costs are normal, high, or even lower than average for a dog who lives to a ripe old age but has some health problems along the way.  

(off to give doggy girl the antibiotics we got at the yet-another-$200-vet-visit on Sunday, plus the $93-for-a-3.5g-tube insanely expensive but very effective eye ointment.  <sigh>.

#5 countrychic29

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:59 AM

On top of the initial outlay for our dogs (one breeder rescue other we purchased)
$1500 for pup ++++ all puppy paraphernalia

I dont like to add up all costs but DH and I worked out it probably costs us around $200-$250 per month for 2 dogs (german shepherds so lots of food) and one cat.
This is averaging out any vet bills, food, new beds, toys, bones.
Our cat alone has cost us $1000 in vet bills in last 3 months (something different everytime)

Oh and did I add the selling house and moving to a property so they could run around and not bother neighbors with their barking ... probably at a cost $150K++ alone.
And yes they move was for us as well, but was brought forward by about 4 years to suit our dogs rolleyes.gif

#6 Sabine75

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:03 AM

The life time cost of a pet is spread out, and does not come all at once.  So as long as you can afford the cost at the time - who cares!  You could apply the same calculations to the daily cup of coffee at the coffee shop on workdays ( a while ago someone figured that out for a 20 year period and it was huge!), or children or your regular hobby.

if you can afford  it now the love and joy cannot be calculated!

#7 MrsLexiK

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:11 AM

$200 for vaccines! Ours charge $94.10

In the last two months:
$100 vet bill for consult and meds for rash
$94.10 vet bill for vacines
$175 - Kennel stay
$175 - kennel stay
$80 - Vet bill for kennel cough
$21.90 - for antibotics
$195 - for replacement barking collar

$30 - christmas present
$10 a week for treats ($80ish in 2 months)
$15 a week for food ($120ish in 2 months)

So around $1070 for the last 2 months, and he wonders why mum is the one giving him his hair cut and not the groomer.

However these are no where near what a lot of people pay so I am very happy.  I do think people need to loook beyond it costing $7 a week in food, but I suppose it is like children there many people who don't think ahead to how expensive it will likely get.

#8 FiveAus

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:17 AM

A lot of the costs of a pet can be vastly reduced with a bit of creativity.

Upfront purchase cost......young adult pedigree dogs are often much, much cheaper than puppies and can often be purchased for the cost of desexing.
Dogzonline mature dog listings is a good source for these.

Bedding and toys.....op shops and garage sales. Kennels and fencing materials don't need to be new,garage sales and ads in local papers are good places to start.

Fresh meat can be bought in bulk and frozen, kibble is cheaper in larger sized bags. The better quality kibble is often more economical because you feed so little of it.

Flea and worming products can be bought cheaper online than at the vets or pet shop. Buy larger portions and split them up for smaller dogs.

Desexing costs vary greatly from vet to vet, shop around. I've recently been quoted up to $200 difference for desexing a 25 kg female dog.

Food bowls can be bought cheaply from discount stores, or ext to nothing from op shops.

Buy cheap collars and leads for puppies and a good leather set for an adult. It will last the life of the dog.

Access community obedience clubs, they are heaps cheaper than private trainers and lots of fun.

Edited by FiveAus, 05 February 2013 - 08:19 AM.

#9 la di dah

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:18 AM

Can I ask what set-up equipment is?

My last dog:

Cost of dog: Free, already desexed and vaxed.
Cost of leash, collar: $20.00 USD.
Food: Less than 10.00 a week.
Porridge to bathe her in for her grotty skin: $10.00 a year?
Frontline: $40.00 quarterly.
Fishoil supplement: $10.00 quarterly? Just regular human-grade fishoil tablets from the drugstore.
No major vet expenses, she was adult when we got her and had cost her previous owners considerably in dental bills but was reasonably healthy and settled for us.
Let's say 25 bucks a year in assorted toys and treats? If that.

Didn't want anything except  to be allowed to follow people from room to room and to sleep on squishy furniture. I think half the toys and things were hand-me-downs from the previous dog. Probably saved me at least 200 dollars in gym membership though because for the first couple years we had her she needed lots and lots of walking.

We didn't leave her in the yard so she had no containment costs, and we never kenneled her or anything. Emotional costs and not being able to leave her places (seperation anxiety) etc. were far more "feel the pinch" than financial costs. Despite hardly barking at all, she also can scream exactly like a panicky toddler.

We also missed the cute puppy year and the first 7 years after that.

#10 MrsLexiK

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:24 AM

QUOTE (la di dah @ 05/02/2013, 09:18 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can I ask what set-up equipment is?

I have no idea either, I think I spent $90 at Kmart grabbing some blankets, 2 beds, toys, food bowel, water bowel, new collar etc.  I then a few weeks later got a kennel which the dog has used NEVER! so gave it to someone.  Perhaps it is the above stuff?

#11 FiveAus

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:28 AM

When we get a new dog, it gets a second hand blanket for a bed, a new collar and lead, a cheap bowl and it shares the toys, brushes, grooming equipment we already have.
My last dog cost me a lot to buy (she has a top notch pedigree and will be a breeding b**ch), but not much since and most of the higher costs have been associated with showing her, which most people don't do.

#12 robot sm

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:36 AM

Oh, I don't want to think about the cost!  Our dog brings us such joy and is an important member of our family.  We found her at a shelter and fell in love right away, she has turned out to be so gentle and affectionate that we can't imagine life without her.  Last year she had to have X-rays and tests that found out she has mild hip dysplasia and some arthritis, so we know that in future we may be up for some big vet bills, but there's no doubt that we will find a way to pay them.  

I grew up with pets and I think it's great for kids to learn how to value and look after animals as they grow up as well; I know it helped me; I learned not to approach unfamiliar animals, and to respect their rights.  I can't really put a $ value on what she brings to our lives - it's worth it.  

I also like our cat... but you know, cats are different original.gif More independent and scratchy!! biggrin.gif

#13 Z-girls rock

Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:55 AM

meh. I am very much in the who-cares brigade.

I got a dog for free once. "free dog' he was awesome! we already had a dog so the set up was nothing (already had bedding old lead etc). But he ended up being the most expensive dog we ever had... he had chronic pancreatitis (needed lots of vet treatment and special food), epilipsy (vet bills and pills) and then diabetes (vet bills and insulin injections).

but who cares! he was the best dog I ever had and he had no idea that he was sick ever. so lovely.

always having dogs has taught me a lot about compassion to animals.
as a kid it taught me a lot about responsiblity, caring for another, self-less ness.

I also learnt those things because my grandma lived with us in her old age. Sure it might have cost us some money to have her in the house but you know - she needed us and we loved her. Caring for her was not always fun but it is nice to do things out of love.

I guess I am not really one to put a price on love.

#14 missjoads1234

Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:03 AM

I dont really see how a dog needs to cost so much if you really want it. But thats my mindset on alot of things. Honestly our dog barely costs us anything. We went to the council and got a discount certificate to get him microchipped/de sexed, i think it was $50 all up. I get the worming/fleaing treatment online and for our cats too and it very cheap. He also didnt cost us anything to buy him as he's a Cavoodle, and was a give away. He doesnt have fancy kennels, beds, leads. He is loved and isnt that all that really matters?

#15 raven74

Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

One of my girls has cost over 10k in vet bills alone, just spent another 1k on the other girl this month so I am not adding it up!
They're worth it.  Most days ph34r.gif

#16 Oriental lily

Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

The important costs that are a must is good food and vet care.

All the rest you can be creative with.

Dogs don't need expensive toys, bed, grooming equipment and leads and collars.
Those things can be worked in to your budget.

Training and socialization can be done with a reputable book and a dog park.
A proffessional trainer comes in handy when you come across problems that you need one on one help with.

A dogs cost can be as cheap and expensive as you want it t be.

Adopting a rescue is pretty much free considering you get you get them desexed and vaccinated.

A breeder will sometimes also adopt out older dogs for the cost of desexing as well.

Things can get expensive when you buy pure bred registered puppies, especially rarer breeds.

Or if you are silly enough to buy from pets hops and designer breeds.

Another consideration is getting breeds with good heath reputation.
I have cairn terriers and they are aged 9 and 7.
My 7 year old girl has never been to the vet other than vaccinations and desexing. My 9 year old has been twice due to eating bones whole and getting tummy aches  rolleyes.gif.
Self induced due to being a greedy pig meaning he needs to get on a drip and monitored with spain medication until they go through his system.

But other than that they are incredibly healthy.
And are known to be so as a breed.
However brachy breeds and large breeds will tend to have  more on going problems that might dent the bank balance.

So to reduce vet bills get breeds with a good health record.

#17 tenar

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

Hmm, PPs who are suggesting that people like me are going overboard with costs like food and setup and not seeing the whole picture.  Some dogs, especially those with ongoing health problems, do cost more to feed.  

My setup costs (the $300 or was it $400 I quoted were probably an underestimate, went like this):
- $200 on a decent set of clippers.  For a breed that requires clipping every 6 weeks this has saved me thousands in getting it done professionally.
- $100 or so (guessing, might have been more than that) on a good solid crate that meets the airline requirements for travel crates.
- $10 or so on a collar, $20 or so on toys, $30, iirc, on a carry-basket that is still going strong after 14 years (one of those things with a shoulder strap - I used it to take a rather wobbly old girl to the vet in on Sunday).  The rest I'm guessing on incidentals like a brush and comb and scissors.  Anyway, I hope you take my point that I wasn't going overboard on this at all.

The current food costs are over $10 a week.  Maybe closer to $15 or $20 (shudder).  My dog has had to mostly eat skinless chicken breast (low in fat and very digestible), plus rice and veg, for the last 8 or so years.  I vary it with other low fat meats, but it's supposed to be mostly chicken.  This helps to manage her hyperlipidemia and the associated digestive and liver problems that has caused.  But it's not cheap, the more so because I refuse to buy battery-farmed chicken.  So that's about $9 a week on meat alone, let alone the other stuff, treats, etc, all of which have to be the expensive ones because the cheap ones are loaded with fat that could give her a pancreatic attack.

Maybe $200 for a vaccination visit is high, but it doesn't seem that high to me if you include worm tablets, flea medication, all the sorts of things that you get on a "yearly checkup" visit.  Not to mention blood tests to monitor her condition, etc.  I rarely get away from the vet for less than $200, and we go several or more times a year these last few years.  

Again, those of you who have a very healthy animal won't have those costs.  But here's the thing: I bought a healthy animal, of a healthy breed, from a very reputable breeder who did all the right things.  Her problem wasn't identified until middle age (she was 5 or 6, I think).  The problem is common in that breed (and others), but was not recognised at the time I decided on the breed and, as far as I know, can't be tested for.  So there is basically nothing I could have knowingly done to avoid incurring these costs.  It could happen to any of you too, at any time.  

Anyway, enough with the self-justification original.gif  I know I have done right by my dog.  But I would really like to keep hearing from people with cheap dogs and those with expensive dogs about how much they cost you over how many years, as I do think it's a good conversation to have when any of us are considering getting a new animal, with the associated lifelong commitment.

Edited by tenar, 05 February 2013 - 12:29 PM.

#18 *Ker*

Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:54 PM

Hmm, Let's see..

Purchase price $10 (she came from Wagga Pound, the price was the microchip cost)
Desexing $140 (I think)
Vaccinations $80 a year.
Flea medications...stab in the dark...God. I bought the big packet from ebay and split it between both dogs and the cats. Big pack was $80 for three months supply...so...maybe $4 a month?
Worming...Ebay again...maybe $2 a month?
Food...negligable...$3 a week?
Raw food $3 a week (lamb flaps)
Toys/bedding/bowls $20 a year maybe?
Clippers/brushes etc $30. I got a pair of Wahl clippers on gumtree for $20. They're perfect and I taught myself.
Treats $10 month

Not telling her purchase price lol...it was large.
Desexing $250 - she was already chipped.
Vaccs $80 a year
Vet visit and cream $90. She got a hot spot last year.
Flea med $6 month (bigger dog, so bigger ratio of the split)
Worming $3 a month
Food...Maybe $6 a month. They both eat Bonnie, cause that's what she was eating at the breeders.
Raw $7 a week
Toys/bedding/bowls $30 a year. She DID cost me more, but has grown up and stopped detroying all the toys, so they're lasting now!
Brushes - $20 a year. She only really uses a rake comb.
Hydrobaths - $40 a year. Her hair really needs the high powered dryers, so I take her out to the hydro every few months. I brush her weekly, or more often in coat blow.
Treats $20 a month

Snik has cost me more in kids toys...she chewed everything at one stage! But she's grown up. I wouldn't be without either. The dogs give me more than I give them. I'll always have a dog in my house.

#19 Jellyblush

Posted 05 February 2013 - 01:02 PM

QUOTE (missjoads1234 @ 05/02/2013, 10:03 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I dont really see how a dog needs to cost so much if you really want it. But thats my mindset on alot of things. Honestly our dog barely costs us anything. We went to the council and got a discount certificate to get him microchipped/de sexed, i think it was $50 all up. I get the worming/fleaing treatment online and for our cats too and it very cheap. He also didnt cost us anything to buy him as he's a Cavoodle, and was a give away. He doesnt have fancy kennels, beds, leads. He is loved and isnt that all that really matters?

This is great if you have a healthy dog without issues. If your dog develops health issues of any kind, physical or mental, you then have an expensive dog - there is absolutely not a single thing you can do about it if you want to keep your dog, you have to pay.

I pay very little for food etc. The only reason I spend on toys is because environmental enrichment is a very important part of her treatment program.

I didn't factor in days like today that I had to take off work for her.... no work, no pay for me .... argh

#20 FiveAus

Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:12 PM

My costs of owning dogs are very high, but that's my choice. Their grooming scissors are over $100 a pair, I have 3 pairs. Their shampoo and conditioner are $30-50 each per bottle, I have multiple bottles. I own my own hydro bath and two professional dryers, this is more cost effective for me than taking 5 dogs to a public hydro bath.
But that's all the costs of the hobby of showing dogs and most pet owners wouldn't have that. The non- show dogs get to benefit too ( although I doubt they'd see regular hydro baths and blasting with the dryer as a benefit).

#21 Jellyblush

Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:56 PM

QUOTE (FiveAus @ 05/02/2013, 03:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
( although I doubt they'd see regular hydro baths and blasting with the dryer as a benefit).


#22 gabbigirl

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:03 PM

We have a Labrador, and worry about future costs given their hip problems. So on top of normal feeding, bedding, worming costs, we have pet insurance, I think is about $50/month.  Yes we have the most spoilt pooch around, but we think she's worth it!

#23 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:21 PM

I am not even going to entertain a guess.

Though I bet DH has a spreadsheet somewhere. laugh.gif

#24 Justaduck

Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:58 PM

QUOTE (Jellyblush @ 05/02/2013, 01:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This is great if you have a healthy dog without issues. If your dog develops health issues of any kind, physical or mental, you then have an expensive dog - there is absolutely not a single thing you can do about it if you want to keep your dog, you have to pay.

I pay very little for food etc. The only reason I spend on toys is because environmental enrichment is a very important part of her treatment program.

I didn't factor in days like today that I had to take off work for her.... no work, no pay for me .... argh

Yep my dog caught Kennel cough from the dogs next door - he was vaccinated but still caught it. I forgot about that in my above post. He also has had a UTI which I forgot too & once I took him thinking he might have had a tick (we came back from holidays and he was walking funny) so took him at 9pm...which cost me a lot of money when it was a once off "think he landed funny" injury.
And I forgot his crate which was $150.

I wish I didn't have to pay so much for containment costs but he can scale 2.5m!  Either pay up or have him running the streets

He can destroy most toys, so it is only the Kongs or a Staffy ball (which he didn't even use) that he has not ripped to shreds overnight.

#25 ~Bells~

Posted 12 February 2013 - 03:52 PM

QUOTE (Oriental lily @ 05/02/2013, 10:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
However brachy breeds and large breeds will tend to have  more on going problems that might dent the bank balance.

So to reduce vet bills get breeds with a good health record.

Oh-uh. I have a 3 year old Pug and a 6 month old English Mastiff. Both purebred from registered breeders, so initial outlay was pretty costly. But I don't whinge, as it was our choice to get these breeds based on what we wanted from our dogs. We checked the breeders for health testing of parents and make sure we are getting a quality pup, though it is never a guarantee. For this reason we have an "emergency animal care" fund which we contribute to each pay period on the off chance eye or breathing issues occur for our pug or hip or bloat issues for our Mastiff. Though many of these problems we hope to prevent by careful diet and other care.

I will always have a pug, they are *my* special breed. This is my first Mastiff.

As for the weekly/monthly/yearly cost of vets/food/toys/other care....I don't want to know. I'm sure it would scare me, although I doubt it would change anything. because....

QUOTE (*Ker* @ 05/02/2013, 01:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
..... I wouldn't be without either. The dogs give me more than I give them. I'll always have a dog in my house.

Ker said it all. original.gif

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