While you may experience sticker shock when you see the prices for specific breeds of dogs, the cost of buying a dog is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the expenses of ownership are concerned. Routine veterinary and grooming services are necessary to keep your dog happy and healthy, which can become expensive overtime. You are also likely to experience at least one trip to a pet hospital or similar venue, just as you would with a human child, which would mean additional costs.
Here are a few examples of regular expenses if you are deciding whether to take the plunge and make the multi-year (or possible multi-decade) commitment of owning a dog.
Spaying and Neutering
Unless you want to breed your dog, which opens up a whole new world of care and expense, you'll need to get the dog spayed or neutered. Neutering involves removal of a male dog's testes and can usually be done in one day. Spaying a female dog requires more extensive surgery and at least an overnight stay at a pet hospital or other facility. Most veterinary clinics or hospitals also require your dog to receive their first vaccinations before the procedures can be performed, which adds additional expenses.
Your dog will need additional vaccinations, as well as booster shots, for a host of possible pathogens, including rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and other possibly fatal diseases.
Dogs are susceptible to flea and tick infestations and must be treated on a regular schedule with medications to keep the problems under control. Flea bites can lead to severe itching and biting, resulting in skin disorders, especially if your dog is allergic to flea saliva. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme Disease to both dogs and their owners, which often lies dormant in the body but can produce serous health issues after the period of dormancy.
While some over-the-counter medications can be moderately effective in repelling fleas and ticks, accurate dosing is based on weight and overall health of your dog. Incorrect dosing can be ineffective if too little medication is used and can your dog get sick if too much repellent is used. Dogs with ongoing health issues should only be treated by a veterinarian for pest control.
Grooming is not only about looking good. Dog nails must be trimmed regularly or foot, leg, and hip issues can result as your dog changes its regular gait to avoid stepping on curved nails, While you may be tempted to cut your dog's nails yourself, a layer of flesh is embedded along the length of each nail, and your dog will experience pain when walking if the flesh is cut along with the nail.
Many dogs end up at a pet hospital due to their indiscriminate eating of both edible and inedible items. Intestinal blockages and other serious complications can result in surgery to remove foreign objects. You may also need to deal with fighting injuries and the various maladies of old age.
However, a dog can also be a faithful companion offering unconditional love. What can you buy that's more valuable that those qualities?