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Cost of Owning a Dog

While dogs can be a cherished part of any family, there are important things to consider before taking the leap. Here, our vets in Egg Harbor Township talk about the average cost of owning a dog including what you can expect to pay for annually and how to save money.

Calculating The Annual Cost of Owning a Dog

Of course when it comes to estimating how much a dog costs the numbers vary wildly since there are so many factors to consider including the size and breed of the dog, the health risks of your dog's breed, and the services needed to keep your dog looking and feeling they're very best.

Beyond veterinary care and prevention, to get to a realistic cost of owning a dog you will also want to look at the cost of food (based on how much your chosen dog breed will eat), grooming sessions, toys, treats, beds, collars and leashes, obedience training, boarding for vacations, and possibly the price of hiring a dog walker.

You should also take into account where you live. The cost of veterinary care, grooming, and dog sitting varies greatly between locations. You should consider the breed you want, the likelihood that the dog will develop a chronic illness, and the cost of the pet services your dog will require in your area to get an accurate estimate of costs.

Average Cost of Owning a Dog Based on Size

When you own a dog, the annual (and overall cost) will vary depending on the size of your dog. This usually comes down to the difference in the dog's lifespan and rate of growth. The longer a dog is expected to live, the more you can expect to pay.

Here are the average lifespans for the different sizes of dogs:

  • Small dog: Average life expectancy of 15 years
  • Medium dog: Average life expectancy of 13 years
  • Large dog: Average life expectancy of 10 years

Expenses to Consider

When you are considering whether owning a dog is within your budget it's important to remember that different types of expenses occur with dogs.

One-Time Expenses

  • Purchasing your dog
  • Spaying or neutering your pup
  • Cost of breed-specific surgeries

Recurring Annual Expenses

  • Once or twice yearly routine exams
  • Dental care
  • Vaccines

Monthly Expenses

  • Parasite protection
  • Medications
  • Food and treats
  • Dog Walking
  • Boarding
  • Grooming
  • Toys and supplies like bedding

Emergency Expenses

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Chronic Illness (diabetes, cancer, etc)
  • Sudden Illness (Diarrhea, breathing difficulties, vomiting)

From the start, it is important to be prepared for each of these types of expenses and plan accordingly so that you don't face any unpleasant surprises along the way.

How to Save Money When Owning a Dog

If you have your heart set on having a dog as part of your family, there are ways to help make the annual cost of owning a dog more affordable.

Rainy Day Pet Fund

This might be a good option for you if you are good at budgeting and saving, regardless of whether you use a separate bank account or a container hidden away in a secure location. Work out a reasonable amount to set aside each pay period based on how much you would need if your pet experienced a medical emergency. Veterinary emergencies might be less stressful if there is money set aside for them.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance might be a good option for you if you're worried about the high cost of emergency care or taking care of a pet with a chronic illness. Uncovering the specifics of your pet's policy before signing the dotted line is crucial if you want to make an informed decision about pet insurance and how it can help you pay for unexpected medical expenses.

Wellness Plans

Many veterinarians offer wellness plans to help pet parents budget for their pet's annual preventive care. These plans take annual recommended preventive care and divide that cost into 12 easy-to-manage payments. These pet wellness plans for dogs can include annual core vaccines, routine exams, flea and tick prevention, and heartworm protection. The coverage of these plans does vary, so always ask for information on what is included.

While we do not offer pet wellness plans at Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we are happy to develop a veterinary care plan for your dog that suits your needs and your budget. Speak with us to learn more.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Have you decided to become a pet parent? Contact our vets in Egg Harbor Township to schedule an examination for your new pup.

Always Welcoming New Patients

At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we always accept new patients into our veterinary family. Our veterinarians are passionate about the health and well-being of Egg Harbor Township pets. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment. 

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