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Dog Costs for the First Month

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A little while back, I had asked the question of how much does a dog cost. At the time, I was speculating based on the research I had done. Today I'm a little more prepared to answered that question from a position of experience. We've had our puppy, for around 11 days now and I finally feel like I can extrapolate the costs of the first month of owning a dog. It's the most expensive month of dog ownership, because you have to all the start-up costs. We are probably over $1500 in dog costs already.

Here are some examples of costs that we've had so far:

Aren't I Worth the Money?

Aren't I Worth the Money?

  • Dog Itself - $300 - It is pretty hard to simply extract the cost of our puppy. It came with some of it's shots, it's tagging, it's fixing, and a few other things that cost money.
  • Dog Training - $750 - We took an unusual route and with with Bark Busters. What's unusual about them? Well for one, the price. At $750 it's probably the most expensive training out there. What do you get for that kind of money? Everything. Lifetime, one-on-one training at your home on your schedule. We've had the trainer come by twice in the first 11 days. The first was because he was howling all night and we couldn't get him to stop. The second was just last night because he has been wanting to jump up on and bite everything in sight. So far it's very good money spent.
  • Dog Vet Visit - $79 - The first dog vet visit was free (since it's a rescue dog), but the test of his stool wasn't free - nor was the medication for the parasites they found. It's not a big deal and I guess a lot of dogs have it, but it's still another $79 more than we thought
  • Dog Supplies - $300 - I'm calling this $300, but here's a quick breakdown of things we've already spent money on. Some toys ($25), a blanket ($10), a dog create ($40), a dog gate ($50), dog food ($40), bitter apple spray to stop him from biting stuff ($5), dog bath wash ($5), Febreeze ($5), dog training pads ($45). I'm sure there's a few more costs that I forgot to add in. Surely, there will be others to add before the month is over.

All these costs have started to grate on me a little. It's one thing if everything is rainbows and puppy dogs smiles all the time. However, there are times during this training period where I can't help but think, "We paid $1500 so that you can continually bite mommy's ankles. Hmmm..." Then there are the times when he just comes up, crawls in my lap and licks my hand. It's hard to put a value on that.

Posted on March 17, 2009.

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14 Responses to “Dog Costs for the First Month”

  1. Coupon Artist says:

    The investment in your dog is so worthwhile, you will be so happy you did this. I would not trade our pups for 10x the money we spent on them!

    A few possible money savers for you- original flavor Listerine works just as well as Bitter Apple. All we have to do is bring out the bottle and our dogs will NOT go near it! Plus this is not as unpleasant to you if you get it in your mouth by mistake. And Johnsons Baby Shampoo works just well as as dog shampoo to bathe your little pup.

    I recommend Nature’s Miracle for cleaning up accidents… it is the only cleaner that actually neutralizes the odor of the accidents so the dog won’t be tempted to repeat an accident in the same place.

    Also, as far as keeping free of internal parasites, we put our guys on a preventative dose of dichotomous earth (food grade, NOT pool grade). You can get it at health food stores or Amazon.com (use subscribe and save to save more on it). Just mix a bit into your pups food on a weekly basis and you should never have internal parasite problems again. You can also use dichotomous as flea prevention, which is much much less expensive and MUCH healthier for the dog than frontline or one of those other icky chemical things that is just gross!

    Make sure you feed a really high quality food to avoid expensive medical problems down the line (the best you can afford, mostly meat based w/ minimal grains and no animal byproducts).

    And finally get the dog into the habit of having his nails trimmed by you and his teeth brushed by you to avoid those expensive costs later in life (one of our dogs won’t let us cut her nails, so it is $9.00 every few months to get them cut.) And, if you don’t brush their teeth regularly eventually within a few years they will need to be cleaned under anesthesia for upwards of a few hundred dollars (plus the risk to the dog).

  2. Paul Morales says:

    A dog is a man’s best friend. You’ll love em to death.

    Although, I don’t think you needed to pay for the $750 for the trainer. You could of simply done that on your own.

    But all other costs are a must. They’re food does get expensive if you choose to feed them real food instead of dog food too.

    All in all, a dog is well worth it. I’m glad I got one. When I have my own family I would like to have a dog for the family too.

  3. fern says:

    i can relate, having nursed a terminally ill cat and adopted a new one in the past few months. Since cats rarely get sick until they’re seriously ill, it had been many years since i’d been to the vet for my indoor cat and i was shocked at the prices.

    But anyway, new cat: $75 shelter adoption fee, $300 on scratching posts, dewormer free, new bamboo floor mat to replace rug, $180 (will likely replace other rugs over time)….

    good luck

  4. I’m not a dog person at all, but I can see both a serious financial commitment and time commitment.

    Not for me. :)

  5. Ggrrl says:

    The first month of puppy ownership is always very stressful (part of the reason that adopting an older dog has its benefits). Really, you can’t factor in the Bark Busters as a normal expense of dog ownership – it is probably a lot more than you needed, but hopefully it works out for you.

    As far as the naughty nipping problem – with any puppy it is very important that you make it clear that there are certain behaviors that will be tolerated and certain ones that will not be. They are very cute then they are young, but you have to do your best not to let that sway you into accepting inappropriate behavior. If you have a friend with a healthy, patient, well-behaved dog, you may want to set up a play date. Sometimes an older dog can communicate with a puppy better than a human can. You would be amazed at the effect that a well behaved adult dog can have on your puppy.

    Good luck. It is a bit like having a baby. Get through the hard parts and you will find that it is very, very rewarding.

  6. You paid $300 for a rescued puppy? Sheesh, they’re getting expensive. I paid $100 for the two cats I rescued and adopted.

    I agree Paul, it was probably unnecessary to pay $750 for a trainer. Puppies just take a little time to adjust to their new surroundings, and they howl because they’re not used to being alone. He just wanted some attention. But, having grown up with dogs – my mom breed miniature schnauzers – I got really good at training them. It’s a matter of patience…though, being that you’re Lazy Man and all, I suspect that’s why you went with the trainer! ;) Still, that’s a pretty hefty expense most people don’t do.

  7. I got you beat:
    $300 for dog
    $2300 for emergency surgery and then specialized recovery after the surgeon screwed up and tried to hide it from us.

    Our boxer made a full recovery, he had a broken leg and needed an external fixator. The surgeon gave him too much anesthesia and his heart stopped. CPR is the only thing that saved him.

    He’s been worth it, we’re just always going to get pet insurance from now on.

    That training is insane though, I’m worried they’ll turn your dog into a robot that only obeys commands. Might as well just get a robot if they do that.

  8. Fit Wallet says:

    I’m so glad your family chose a rescue pup! He’s very handsome :) I got my rescue dog when he was 10 months old and about halfway housebroken. Unfortunately, he had been neglected for most of those 10 months, left in a crate by himself. He had urine scalding from sitting in his own pee all day, and demodex mange that we had to treat aggressively. It was awful. It took a good year of training and pampering for his REAL personality to shine through. We went through hell with all the barking and behavioral issues, but three years later, I can’t imagine life without him. So, that’s all to say that the work will pay off, the money will pay off, and you will have a great dog to show for it!

  9. FMF says:

    Would be interested in follow-up posts on BarkBusters. Saw them at a local home show and thought their pitch was interesting.

  10. Lisa Cook says:

    We used Bark Busters, and it was very good value. Our local trainers, Carol & Greg were fantastic, and seeing that we have access to the Bark Busters system worldwide for the rest of the life of our dog, it really is money well spent. Carol is like our own dog whisperer, who we can rely on, to help us when we issues, and even more importantly, knows our family and our unique situation. Their hands on approach was far easier to learn than any book we could have read. It’s really like anything, the more you put into things, the more you will get out.

  11. Candace says:

    Well, it sounds like you are becoming very familiar with the reasons well meaning adults advise dreamy eyed prospective parents to “begin by getting a puppy”.

    Yes, the first 3 months are challenging. Yes, the initial financial cost can be more than you anticipated.

    I am curious to hear your thoughts on the ultra expensive dog training you opted for as you go along and as Jake grows. At a cursory glance, it seems to me that the pros for the training you opted for are convenience and long term assistance. The cons look to be no socialization with other dogs while learning to listen and obey only you, and the cost.

    I have had fantastic results with the city parks and rec dog training program. $35.00 for a 6 week class. Basic obedience and then advanced obedience, while at the same time teaching my dogs to not be distracted by other animals and other people.

    Either way, the important thing is that you are taking the time to train your puppy and to reassure yourselves that you are “parenting” responsibly and effectively.

    It will be fun to read your updates and new thoughts on all of this as you go along! :-)

  12. You could probably have freecycled your way to much of the equipment. We have given away toys and beds and gotten a gate. We did not pay for training. No regrets there. As for the meds, shop around (we use petmeds.com I believe). Some petcenters will do vaccinations assembly line style much cheaper than the vet.

  13. anonymiss says:

    Have you all insured your pet dog? You should read the article I stumbled upon.


    It will be worth your time.

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