The Cost of Loving a Dog

If you own a pet, you know they're not cheap to keep. And if you are thinking about buying a pet, there are some hidden costs you need to be aware of. As we all know, puppies have to go to the vet, but that's just the beginning. There's the accidents, the monthly heartworm pills and, just like for a child, for some puppies there's even daycare.

"You're adding another member of your family when you bring home a pet," noted Marke Malke of Petsmart..

The PC term is "pet parents," and any good pet parent visits the vet first for the all important puppy shots, a series which costs about $160. And of course, a little later on, there's spaying or neutering. That starts off at $90 for a smaller dog and $140 $150 for a 125- to 150-pound dog. And since many dogs in our area, like Sokie, love the outdoors, flea and tick medicine is a must, and so are monthly heartworm pills; about $10 a month. There's also pet insurance, which can range in price from about $17 to $32 a month, and all this is just the beginning.

Time to go shopping. There's food, the bowls, the leashes and collars, the gates, and--to avoid problems like chewed furniture--proper toys are a must. And puppies can't always find a bathroom, so stain remover is handy.When they do make it outside, it's treat time. And after all those treats which dogs love, Malke advises, "Don't forget their teeth, cause they can get dental disease, gum disease."

And don't forget your dog needs to be groomed, and a manicure every three weeks is a must, which usually runs between $7 and $15.

Now you have a great looking, healthy puppy, with all the right stuff, but you can't always be home. So there's doggie daycare, at about $10. And don't forget when you go on vacation, the dog needs to take a trip too, and some places to stay charge for pets.

So before you fall in puppy love, take note: this new family member may cost more than you can sink your paws into.

So let's add up about how much a new puppy will cost you for the first year:

  • Your total vet bill will cost $250.
  • Flea, tick and heartworm for the year: $180.
  • Pet insurance for the year: $240.
  • Food is about $140.
  • Other supplies like toys and treats add another $180.
  • Grooming, including nail clippings, is $120 a year.
  • Let's say you go away for a total of two weeks, a kennel will cost $266.

So the grand total to take care of your puppy love: $1,376.

Now that is a conservative estimate of just the basics, because remember, dogs get sick and have to go to the doctor, and there are other unforeseen accidents.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro,