The best answers to any question are always found with hindsight. I once again discovered this after succumbing to the cuteness factor of a puppy. My questions, could I afford it financially and from a lifestyle perspective are being answered in spades. And not with the answers I would want!
These are the things I wish I had known before jumping blindly into dog ownership.
Dogs don’t come cheap
My friend has two beautiful little French bulldogs that she absolutely adores. As a result I started my pet owning investigations by visiting a breeder who had a litter of 6 big eared flat nosed bundles of French bulldog cuteness. I ended up £1,450 poorer and a pooch richer.
And this was only the start. The website Dog Desires estimates the ongoing annual cost of dog ownership to be £1,183, assuming a 13 year life expectancy that is £18,500 over their lifetime. If had invested all I have spent and am likely to spend over the dog’s lifetime at a reasonably likely return of 6% I would have an investment worth £31,000. Yikes!
While you don’t necessarily have to buy a high end breed you will still have to fork out an adoption fee if you were to go to an animal rescue facility plus the potential cost of getting the dog neutered.
Vegan, vegetarian, raw meat, hand prepped gourmet or basic supermarket tinned
Feeding a dog is a bigger minefield than feeding a human baby. There are news articles across the web breaking down the dangers of so called “cheap” supermarket dog food and as much as you wish to regain some control over your wallet you cannot in good conscious subject your gorgeous little pooch with her big puppy dog eyes to the potential that her dinner could in any way harm her.
So back to the doggy Ala Carte Menu you go, and the fact is no matter which route you ultimately end up going, doggy food is expensive. The monthly average costs are between £15 to £30, which translates into a pretty meaty £180 – £360 pounds per year.
And of course no doggy’s life is good until she has treats so don’t forgot to factor in another £180 – £360 for good quality, healthy treats!
Vets drive expensive cars
Vet fees are exorbitant. You don’t want to ever face the prospect of having to take out debt to have your fur baby taken care of. As a result pet insurance is very much compulsory.
Depending on the age and health of your dog this can set you back between £25 to £350 per year.
It pays to read the fine print of the insurance clearly as well, as the cheaper insurance is not always the best having a high number of coverage caveats and a large deductible.
An average check up at the vet costs in the region of £60. Puppies in particular need their vaccinations, which will initially cost between £100 to £120. This is followed by an annual booster costing £50 to £60 pounds. And let me tell you while you are at the vet having the vaccinations a number of other expenses will pop up. Flea treatment, anti-worming, dental cleaning, nail cutting and at some point if you choose, neutering.
Pampering your pooch
New dog means new kit. Nothing is too much for your precious bundle of love. Starting from a cosy dog bed, and there is a whole industry for these ranging from the relatively inexpensive at £20 or so, to the uber luxurious Versace Barocco Dog bed likely to strain your wallet to the tune of £1,000 plus, to a truckload of puppy pads, which your pup will literally go through every 10 seconds, no exaggeration, dog toys, harness, lead, dog apparel, again a very lucrative industry for those who saw this gap in the market, car seat, crate .., and the list goes on!
Your home will never be the same … literally
I can tell you my vision off being a dog owner involved fun walks on the beach, which is odd seeing as we don’t live near a beach, cosy nights in with a dog who basically sleeps when not walking and only awakens to gleefully great me from my day out. The beach vision should have been my first clue to how deluded I was.
The dog arrived and 5 minutes later it looked like a tornado had hit the house. In our distraction of madly running around cleaning up the poop and pee and sterilising everything we realised she had gnawed the furniture legs, eaten parts of the TV remote, chewed on the coach cushions and was now working on sharpening her teeth on the wall cornices! And that was only day one.
I am becoming resigned to the whiff of doggy as I enter the house, the little “packages” deposited at every new excitement in her life and the dread of discovering what she has managed to destroy that day. My resignation is softened by the unconditional love that lives in that little bundle of fur and her guaranteed happiness and obvious joy at every new discovery.
One small bundle of furry joy… one big leap to a new lifestyle
One final area I particularly overlooked or hadn’t gotten round to investigating in my speed to get the cutie was doggy care.
Who is going to be there for my pampered pooch when I travel, work or am out of the house for an extended period.
Enter the dog sitter, dog walker and the question of to board or not. Dog sitters can charge anything from £20 for a short visit to £200 for an overnight visit. The average cost of boarding a dog is around £20 per day and can cost up to £300 for a two week vacation.
As you can see the cost of a doggy is a big investment, however this is balanced by the added dimension your little addition will bring to your life. Just remember to go in with your eyes open, I wish I had !