I am a real dog lover. In addition to owning an incredible mutt, I am a volunteer for the Humane Society and can be seen participating in many different fund-raising activities. My friends can verify this because they are subject to my appeals. It is not surprising that, as an independent financial advisor, I cast my fiscal spotlight on dog ownership. It’s not for everyone.
The truth is that, in spite of how awesome a dog may be as a pet, there are expenses to dog ownership. More people than you might imagine are taken by surprise when faced with the costs. Even a rescue dog can rack up the bills and ruin a budget. Here’s what I mean:
When you adopt a shelter dog, you might not pay a pricey breeder’s fee, but there are still adoption fees that can run $100 - $250. This might be seen as a good investment because it probably includes the cost of spay/neuter, age-appropriate vaccinations, and heartworm test. However, the fee doesn't cover the cost of annual license renewal.
Household Items – His and Yours
Your new pet needs a place to sleep, dishes for food and water, leashes, training toys, and food. After the initial trip to the pet store, you can anticipate recurring costs for replacing damaged goods. Until your pup is well trained or used to its new home, you should prepare for chewing damage to his toys and your household items and the cost to replace them.
Not many of us have the expertise or the time to DIY dog training. If you want to maintain relationships with your friends and family your pup should know how to sit, stay and stop. A professional can help. Group training sessions are very useful and can cost anywhere between $40 and $160, depending on your location. If for some reason your dog can't work in the group setting – maybe he is shy or aggressive – private training is billed by the hour and is more expensive than the group sessions.
Health and Safety
All dogs need regular veterinarian checkups to make sure they are healthy. Vaccinations, medications and medical treatments add to the annual cost. Do you travel? Will you have to board your dog while you are gone? Is your work schedule insanely busy? Do you need the services of a dog walker to fill in when you aren't available?
Bringing a dog home to live with you is a real commitment. My advice is to consider these costs as you decide on adding a pet to hour household. Check your budget to make sure that you are adequately prepared for the additional expenses. If so, bring that awesome mutt home with eyes wide open and enjoy the new relationship.
As an independent financial advisor in DC, I am dedicated to providing every client with sound financial education and services to strategically meet unique needs and individual goals whatever the challenges may be.
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Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.