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Revisiting the Costs of Dog Ownership

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More than two years ago I asked the question "how much does a dog cost?" At the time my wife and I were just thinking of getting a dog. Time flies. Earlier this month we celebrated our second anniversary with Jake. Perhaps celebrated is a little strong of a world, it wasn't like there was a candlelight dinner or anything. Even if there was, it would have been overshadowed by Lady and the Tramp anyway.

I would have started this post a half hour ago, but I was urgently needed elsewhere. Specifically there was a dog tummy that needed rubbing. That's my favorite kind of job. It beats where I was a 24 hours earlier - the vet. Jake has developed an ear infection. It's nothing that a little "ear squishy", our scientific term for medication, won't fix. Unfortunately the cost of the medication, along with his yearly shots, was $250. The cost for a doctor for my dog is more than the cost of a doctor for me.

The other surprise was the veterinarian suggesting that we look into hypoallergenic food, because he was showing signs of an allergy. I didn't realize such things existed for dogs. The idea is to get the dog on a protein that they haven't had before. If signs start to disappear then we can gradually introduce him to new foods to find out what's not agreeing with him. Of course the food doesn't come cheap. A 32 pound bag is $100 - four times what we've been paying.

Doctor bills and food costs aren't really that big of a deal. It's the vacations that get expensive. Dog sleepover camp (or what some may call a kennel) is around $40 a night. That adds up quickly in a week. The answer to this is to find a friend who is willing and able to take care of Jake. We haven't been able to pull that off. Jake, at 72 pounds, is a little like a bull in china shop. You have to really be a dog lover and have your house set up perfectly for Jake. Fortunately, it may turn out that Revanche of A Gai Shan Life kind of fits the bill. Jake fell in love with her when they first met. He instantly quickly when on his back asking for tummy rubs. He's only had that kind of reaction to two people. It seems like an especially good fit because she is likely getting a dog too.

When you add it up, Jake ends up costing us about $1500 a year. I man enough to admit that I pay for my best friend. Now we're off an adventure... those fire hydrants aren't going to water themselves you know.

Posted on March 16, 2011.

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11 Responses to “Revisiting the Costs of Dog Ownership”

  1. Kevin says:

    Amen, brother! As the owner of a 1 1/2 year old 70 lb. bundle of golden retrieving joy, I especially feel your pain of not being able to find someone willing to take care of him for the weekend. :(

  2. Dogs are definitely more expensive then people want to admit. I digress that I still love my cocker spaniel mix rescued from the pound 3 years ago. (He is 4 next month).

    One item we pay for is dog grooming because when I have tried to do it myself the results were not good at all.

  3. Great post, and I completely understand that thing about the need for a pet watcher or kennel. We used to try out various kennels in San Diego where we live, but it was just sad. He was basically kept in the cage most of the day and just let out a few times a day to go to the bathroom. We then found a company that has pet sitters that spoil the crap out of the little guy, for a few bucks cheaper than most kennels. Point being, keep searching, and you will find a good pet sitter. I mean, if you are going to spend that much money, might as well let him/her have the best time possible. Keep this type of stuff coming!

  4. Jamie J says:

    I love this post. I’ve had my pup for nearly a year, and was just smacked in the face with my first $210 vet bill.

    It’s also worth noting that different types of dogs have different types of costs. My 17-pound terrier doesn’t cost much to feed, but the great big retrievers I grew up around didn’t need professional grooming (well, it wouldn’t have hurt, but they were cute despite the chop-job at-home haircut). Other breeds are notorious for expense health problems, while others make renting expensive or nearly impossible (pitbulls, for example).

    That said, owning a dog is SO WORTH IT! It’s one of those places in personal finance where value isn’t easily quanitfiable.

  5. Revanche says:

    Happy Anniversary!

    Lucky for you, my friend, I don’t just miss owning a pet, I really miss brushing, grooming, clipping toenails and ear-cleaning.

    WT…? you ask? I owned a chronic ear infection for 18 years. I mean, I had a wee bundle of joy for 18 years and he had chronic ear infections so I always cleaned his ears myself. It was our special time. Him slowly gnawing my hand off, while I cleaned his ear with my other hand. Switch, repeat.

    After 18 years of that, it’s become a twitch. You’ll notice Jake was begging for belly rubs but also got head and ear rubs – I was checking them out of habit. Bring him on over, we’ll Jake-sit for future dogsitting credits! :)

  6. Jonathan says:

    $100 for 32 lb bag sounds like way too much. A lot of that Prescription’s Diet stuff is really expensive for mediocre ingredients. Get some single protein good stuff from a local store and see how Jake likes it.

    Ear infections are a fact of life. Like any other health stuff, prevention is best but they really hate it in their ears every week. :)

    Hurray for dogs!

  7. […] Lazy Man and Money – Revisiting the Costs of Dog Food – As someone who hand makes their dogs food out of 1/3 95% lean ground beef, 1/3 white rice, […]

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  10. […] get a dog. This lead me to write an article attempting to quantify how much a dog costs, which I've ended up revisited. One of the biggest costs for us was actually dog care when we went away on vacation. I estimated […]

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