Owning a dog offers a myriad of amazing benefits such as security, companionship, and relaxation. However, it can also come with significant financial responsibilities that, for the inexperienced, may result in a couple of unpleasant surprises. A scientific officer for Companion Animals at RSPCA Australia named Dr Bronwyn Orr told Choice that, “There are inherent costs associated with responsible pet ownership, including providing shelter, food, vet care, and enrichment.” “These are unavoidable and should be taken into account prior to bringing a new pet into the home,” the doctor added.
In addition to this, The Spruce Pets reported that the estimated cost of owning a dog is approximately $1,400 to $4,300 per year. Depending on the choices you make, there are ways to save money. Contributing factors include your dog’s age and size, your dog’s individual needs, your own lifestyle, and the region in which you live. Here are five significant and potentially unexpected costs associated with owning a dog.
1. Replacement Or Repairs Of Household Items
Some puppies and other dog breeds can be prone to mischief. Young pups, in particular, are known for chewing on just about everything. While occasional clothing or shoe item will not set you back a lot of money, as stated in Wise Bread, pet owners should prepare for costly furniture damage. Not only can dogs ruin couches and table legs, but some breeds will even do high-priced home damage. For instance, if your pet likes to scratch at the back door when it is ready to go out, your pooch will pay the price. As mentioned by Family Handyman, even the most durable door is not made to stand such consistent abuse. While some doors can be repaired with good-quality paint, serious damage needs to be replaced in which, according to Fixr, can cost an average amount of $1,200.
If you have a pooch that suffers from separation anxiety or jumps when they see another dog or a squirrel outside, be prepared. It is entirely likely he will break a window at some point which is collateral damage, says Rain Jordan to Family Handyman, a certified professional dog trainer and a canine behavior specialist. Dogs with separation anxiety sometimes jump onto windows out of the desire to know where the person went and/or out of fear. If you want to learn more about separation anxiety in dogs and other behaviors, you can visit Well Pet Coach for more information. Of course, once a window breaks, the only fix is to replace it and based on the estimation of HomeAdvisor, it can cost around $175 to $1,300.
2. Emergency Vet Bills
Exercising with dogs or eating a well-balanced diet seems like a good way to keep a pet healthy. However, no one can predict the future; the unexpected always happens in life.
Thus, as a good pet parent, you should do your best to be ready for the little surprises offered by life. Emergencies, disasters, chronic illnesses, and other unplanned expenses can amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year. When it comes to emergency vet visits, for example, Pawp mentioned in their article a list of the average cost.
Compiled by Emergency Vets USA, these estimates offer a general average for common emergency care needs for both dogs and cats:
- General exam/consultation: $100-$150
- General bloodwork: $80-$200
- Ultrasound: $300-$600
- X-rays: $150-$250
- Emergency surgery: $800-$2,500
- 1-2 day hospitalization: $600-$1,700
- 3-5 day hospitalization: $1,500-$3,500
- Wound repair & treatment: $800-$1,500
- Oxygen therapy: $500
The most recent Cost of Pet Health Care Report by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance also outlines the true amount of caring for a dog–including case studies of pet illnesses and injuries and their associated veterinary cost. Based on the report, an emergency vet visit can range anywhere from $250 to $8,000. And 40% of Americans in a survey touched upon in the report don’t even have $400 in emergency funds, meaning that emergency can end up being pretty devastating.
3. Pet Deposits, Pet Fees, And Pet Rent
If you’re a tenant, adding a pet to the family may come with some additional expenses for you too. Landlords are likely to charge additional pet fees, higher monthly rent, or insist on a larger security deposit for tenants who have pets. Apartments defined a pet fee as a one-time payment that serves as an admission fee for permitting the pet to stay in a rental. Pet deposits, on the flip side, are used for any damage caused by a pet, like scratched flooring or stained carpet. If a renter’s pet causes damage, prepare an itemized list of repair expenses to explain why you are keeping a portion or all of the pet deposit. The same as with other deposits, if the pet didn’t cause any damage, then the renter must receive their pet deposit back in full.
Keep in mind that laws for pet fees and deposits vary by state, so always make sure to do your research and double-check before the landlord charge you. One difference between a pet fee and a pet deposit is that payments are refundable, while pet fees are not. It is also common for pet deposits and fees to range between $100 and $500, but again, this range varies from state to state.
4. Dog Liability Insurance Costs
XINSURANCE, an animal liability insurer, claims that even the friendliest pets can be pushed too far and snap without warning. A playful nip can be interpreted as aggression by those unfamiliar with your pet. They even stated that “dogs are a leading cause of homeowners insurance claims.” Not to mention the risk of property damage that comes from dogs who suffer from separation anxiety or who love to dig. This is where dog liability insurance can help.
The insurer said that when you own a pet, dog liability insurance will cover all kinds of damages and incidents that can occur. Moreover, the cost can amount to as little as $10 per month from some providers like InsureMyK9.com for policies with coverage ranging between $10,000 and $30,000 and a deductible of $250 to $2,500. But the cost of your pet liability insurance policy will depend on factors like your dog’s breed, age, size, and history as well as what coverage you select. Unfortunately, animal liability insurance does not cover damages your dog causes injuries to members of your household or to you as the owner and on your property. Commercial animals such as breeding, show or farm dogs, boarding, and updating of vaccinations are also not included.
5. Additional Expenses When Traveling With A Dog
According to Consumer Reports, as cited by Travel and Leisure, the average cost of airlines with a pet typically charges $100 to $125 one-way fee to bring your pooch in the cabin, having a dog fly in the cargo can range anywhere from a few hundred to over $1,000, and from $30 up to $250 to purchase an airline-complaint pet carrier.
The same source also mentioned that the fees for traveling with a pet can add up quickly even before you leave home. These include vet checkups for the airline health certificate and having your pet microchipped which typically costs about $45. So if you plan to take your pet with you on vacations, you should prepare for the following costs:
- Vaccination updates.
- Air travel costs.
- Accessory costs, such as a travel bed and a carrier that meets flight requirements.
- Hotel costs, which according to the interview of Consumer Reports costs on average $20 per night per pet but could be charged upwards of $100 a night.
At the risk of sounding like a parent when you beg for a pet as kids, owning a dog is a big responsibility. It is not a decision to be made on an impulse. Most people spend around $500 per year on their pets, but that can vary greatly based on your pet’s medical needs, preferences, and if you want to spoil your furry baby.
Owning a dog is a huge money and time commitment. Don’t get surprised by your pet’s cost. Before you take home a new furry friend, be sure to do the math and go into pet ownership with your eyes wide open.