Dogs can bring tons of joy. With dogs, you can have someone with unconditional love and undying loyalty just for you. But as with taking care of any living being, it’s not just a commitment that involves your time, energy, and efforts – it’s also a financial undertaking. Owning a pet is a privilege and must be a mutually beneficial relationship. As you reap the benefits of having a dog in your life, you must be prepared for the responsibilities.
And all these responsibilities (feeding, grooming, giving shelter, providing healthcare, etc.) can quickly add up, especially whenever your pet encounters health issues. Since it’s a costly decision, keeping your emotions at bay when deciding to get a dog is important. Before you get a dog or any pet, don’t do it out of impulse, and make sure the pet or dog breed you choose is suited to your home and lifestyle.
In this article, learn about how to finance a dog and the costs of dog ownership.
Can You Afford a Dog?
Before you think of owning a dog, make sure that you can afford it. Not just the upfront cost of buying a dog but the recurring expenses that comes with keeping them alive and healthy. The cost of owning a dog varies widely depending on the breed, where you live, potential health conditions, and many other factors.
The purchasing fees for a dog may cost you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Purebred animals, especially puppies, can cost as much as thousands of dollars. Buying a rescue animal can be cheaper, but it could still cost a few hundred dollars. If you want the cheapest option, go for a shelter animal or adopt a puppy from your relatives or friends.
Treat your dog as another member of the household. As your family or household size increases, the expenses rise up as well. So if you are barely getting by today, or if your income is just right for you to have a livable budget, don’t add a dog to your home unless you’re willing to increase your income to make sure the dog is taken care of.
If you live in the US, the cost of owning a dog in the first year ranges from $405 to $2,200, excluding the expenses like upfront purchase costs, pet sitting, and emergency vet visits.
Expenses that Come with Owning a Dog
To evaluate if you can afford a dog, consider the expenses that come with owning a dog. Some are one-time expenses, some are regular, and some depend on needs and preferences.
One of the most obvious expenses of owning a dog is food. Depending on the size of your dog and its dietary needs, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $60 per month on food alone. Higher quality food can be more expensive, but it can also provide better nutrition for your dog. In addition to dry or wet dog food, you may also need to budget for treats, which can cost an additional $10 to $20 per month.
You’ll also need to budget for supplies like toys, bedding, and bowls for food and water. These are usually one-time expenses, as you wouldn’t replace them every couple of weeks or months. But as they become damaged, broken, or lost, then you will need to replace them as your dog needs them. These costs can add up quickly, especially if you’re buying high-quality products.
Regular grooming is important for your dog’s health and well-being but can also be costly. Depending on your dog’s coat and grooming needs, you can expect to spend anywhere from $30 to $100 per grooming session. Long-haired breeds or dogs with thick and unruly coats need regular special grooming at least once a month. But even short-haired dogs need basic wash and nail trimming sessions once a month, and these can cost about $30 and up per session.
If you prefer to do the grooming yourself, you’ll need to invest in grooming supplies like brushes, clippers, and shampoo, which can cost a few hundred dollars upfront.
Regular veterinary care is crucial for your dog’s health and can also be one of the biggest expenses of owning a dog. Routine checkups can cost $50 to $100 per visit, while more serious health issues can cost thousands of dollars. Any needed medications or supplements can cost an estimated $200 to $600 yearly. In addition to routine care, you’ll also need to budget for vaccinations, parasite prevention, and emergency veterinary care. This means that you have to consider your dog in your emergency fund, too.
You’re lucky if you have the most well-mannered pet on the block. And if you have the time and expertise to train your dog, that’s a big plus. But most often, buying a furry addition to the family involves teaching them some commands for safety and cleanliness and making them adorable to the home. Training is something that cannot be done in just one or two sessions – you may have to sign up for several levels of classes.
Depending on the type of training you choose, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $200 per session. If you choose to hire professional trainers who will come to your home, the fees are higher. But there are online dog training services that offer a fraction of the cost of in-home trainers.
If you prefer to do the training yourself, you’ll need to invest in training tools and equipment like leashes, collars, treats, and toys.
Living with your pet
This may not seem like an obvious expense, but you may have to buy extra stuff for your house to accommodate a furry animal. Some expenses can be caused by your dog.
You may need a new vacuum cleaner for pet hair, cleaning supplies, and air purifiers to keep your home clean and your indoor air healthy for everyone in the house. You may also need fencing or gates if you need to limit your dog’s area.
If you plan on traveling with your dog, you may need an airline-approved dog crate, and it can get expensive.
Even the healthiest dogs can get ill, so pet insurance can help you cover unexpected health conditions, diseases, or injuries your dog may develop. Like health insurance for humans, it can help save you from a major financial hit. The cost may change depending on the breed of your dog.
If you often travel and can’t bring your pup, you may need to hire a pet sitter or board them at a kennel, especially if you don’t have any family or friends you can trust your pet with. Hiring a professional pet sitter runs an average of $20-$40 a day for a pet sitter to come to your home. If you need to board them at a kennel, the average cost is $40 per night per dog. These costs differ depending on where you live, the types of services you want, and how many dogs you have.
If you’re at work all day and don’t have anyone to take your dog out for a potty break during the day, you will need to factor in dog walking costs. A professional dog walker costs around $15 per 30-minute walk, so you must budget around $300 a month if you need this service regularly.
Can You Finance a Dog?
Yes, you can finance a dog if you want to and when you’re ready to buy. There are lenders who offer loans for dog lovers and are happy to help you get a canine into your home. Whether you finance a dog or a new computer, the process is the same. It’s important to take a step back and look at the status of your bank account before doing so since any financing plan requires you to make regular payments on time – unless interest goes higher, and it will get harder to pay for them.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet right now, then evaluate if you can make those future payments. Remember, the higher the cost of the dog, the longer you’ll be paying for it. As long as you can fit the finance plan for the dog into your current budget, then you’ll be fine.
However, taking out loans to own a new furry friend is not a good financial decision. If you cannot afford the expense of buying a pet, you’ll likely struggle to pay for the pet’s basic needs.
Financing is only the solution for some, as many people prefer to pay out of pocket or adopt cheaper breeds. But for those that are set on a purebred dog, financing makes a lot of sense if they can pay back the loan properly.
What to Consider When Financing a Dog
When financing a dog, make sure to do extra research so you can find the right lender. Like any other kind of loan, your options will vary depending on certain contractual agreements, interest rates, loan payment type (cash), and repayment terms. You want to pay close attention to these and find one that has an acceptable interest rate that will allow you to pay it back in a suitable fashion, as well as give you the right amount that you need.
You must be employed or have a decent credit score to qualify for a pet loan. Lenders will check your credit score before making an offer for funds, and if it’s too low, they will suggest financial tips and repairs before reapplying. Your bank must be able to help you put together a credit plan and discuss loan payments once you’re ready.
You can keep track of your credit rating via a financing app or your bank website. If you haven’t borrowed money before, you will need a starter credit card and use it regularly. Then, always repay what you’ve spent on the card monthly.
Depending on the lender you choose, the consequences of failing to make payments can be different. Sometimes, the pet owner would have their dog repossessed to pay their bill.
Tips for Lessening Expenses of Dog Ownership
Now that you know that owning a dog is a big financial responsibility, it would be helpful if you could lessen your expenses. Here are some tips you may want to consider:
Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization is often much cheaper than buying one from a breeder. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be giving a home to a dog in need.
Shop around for supplies
When it comes to supplies like food, toys, and bedding, shop around for the best deals. Look for sales and discounts, and consider buying in bulk to save money in the long run.
You may also opt for second-hand but still functional and undamaged dog items and supplies from dog owners who don’t need them anymore. Check Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to see if you can buy these from someone close to your area.
Consider pet insurance
Pet insurance can help cover unexpected veterinary costs, which can be quite expensive. While it does require a monthly premium, it can save you money in the long run if your dog requires expensive medical care.
Look for ways to save money
There are many ways to save money when it comes to owning a dog. For example, you can groom your dog at home instead of taking them to a professional groomer or make your own dog treats instead of buying them.
Remember, owning a dog is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly. It’s important to consider all the costs before making a decision and to ensure that you’re able to provide your dog with the care and attention they need.