Looking to get a new puppy? Or, maybe giving a senior dog a comfy new home? It’s always super exciting to add a new furry friend to your family, but there’s one thing we tend to forget about when looking at those puppy dog eyes…and that’s paying for them.
Dogs are not only an emotional commitment, but also a long term financial one as well. You are looking at potentially a decade or more of new responsibility. But don’t worry, your new dog will pay you back in love and attention. If you get a cat instead though, they might let you pet them once or twice, if you are lucky.
So what’s the best way to know if it’s the time to get a new pup? Check out a few things below to keep in mind when making that decision.
1. Basic Care
Let’s start with basic care. Your pet will need vaccines. There are required vaccines and optional vaccines based on you and your pet’s lifestyle. Hiking dogs and couch potato floofs are likely going to need different types. Your veterinarian will be able to help you determine which you need.
An exam is also required most places to receive vaccinations. This means an exam charge. While most vaccines are yearly, getting started can be costly as new puppies need boosters. This means you are coming back every 3-4 weeks. That adds up quick, especially when you add that cost to replace your shoes Fido just chewed up.
2. Pet Wellness Plans vs Pet Insurance
They may seem the same, but they have separate use cases. Dogs with known issues may do better with a wellness plan, considering most have unlimited vet visits. If you get a dog breed known for getting into trouble, insurance might be the better route.
- Pet Wellness Plans are typically used for what you know is coming. For example, they might include unlimited vet visits, standard vaccines, dewormer and bloodwork. This is great for new puppies who have to come back frequently for their boosters.
- Pet Insurance is for those scenarios that you don’t see coming. This is eating socks, a bad stomach bug, getting into the trash and various other accidents. This can be very helpful against that emergency bill. If you decide on insurance, do it immediately as most will not cover pre-existing conditions. If you decide to skip the insurance, make sure to start an emergency fund for your pet.
3. Fleas, Ticks, and Heartworm Prevention
Basically, all the bugs we absolutely do not want in our house. We want to cuddle up with our dog, not a colony of ticks. **shivers** Anyone who has ever dealt with a flea infestation will tell you, don’t skip on this. While this is a monthly cost with dogs, it’s way better than having to call pest control to get things under control.
The level of grooming depends on the breed of dog. While some you might be fine wrestling into your bathtub and giving a good brush, some might need a professional’s help. Dog’s also need nail trims, so work that in with your pedicure budget if you don’t want to do it yourself. If you are feeling a little extra, you can even buy dog nail polish so you can match.
5. Extra Fees
There are a lot of extra fees that can add up. Building a pet fund into your budget will help with these costs.
- Rental Fees – A lot of places will require a (usually non-refundable) pet deposit, plus add on a monthly fee per pet.
- Boarding – If you are taking a vacation, keep in mind you will need to budget for a dog-sitter or boarding facility.
- Dog Walker – If you are working long hours, you may need to hire someone to take them out on a potty break.
- Registration – Duval County, for example, requires a license fee for an animal annually.
- Microchips – Most shelters will already have these implanted to track your pet in case they get lost. However, some companies will charge to transfer or set up your name to your pet.
- Replacing Furniture – Kidding, kind of. But seriously invest in chew toys.
Dogs overall have a great return on investment. Yes, they may cost extra, but to add the joy and excitement to your life is always a great venture. With some simple planning, you can be prepared for all of the expected and unexpected costs that come with adopting your new furry friend. Now back to picking cute names, maybe Dwight or Sushi? We have ideas.