Budget for the cost of getting a dog
There are upstart costs that you need to plan for. So you need to budget for initial expenses before getting a dog. Some of which includes the following:
The price of the dog or puppy itself
You need to budget for the cost of getting a dog. This is important whether you adopt him from a shelter or buy a puppy from a reputable breeder. That price tag varies widely depending on the demand and supply of dogs in general and popularity of specific breeds. And it also depends on geographically where you live. Because the cost of anything is priced relative to the cost of living regionally everywhere and according to demand.
But you can assume that in any major city in North America, you will need to pay an amount ranging from $300 (CDN) at a local shelter to possibly over $5000 (CDN) to purchase a puppy from a breeder. This includes backyard breeders. So you can understand why it’s so important to include this cost in your budget for expected expenses before getting your dog.
And keep in mind that when it comes to buying a puppy from any breeder, price is not an indicator of the breeding quality. A high price can most certainly be justified by a high quality breeder. But puppy mill brokers and backyard breeders can have a high price tag simply to exploit a high demand market. So be sure to take your time and follow the guidance I provided in my prior blogs on finding high quality dog rescue agencies and dog breeders to help you navigate through this research.
If you decide to get a puppy, it’s so important to begin crate training immediately! And hopefully you are getting a dog from a high quality breeder that will have already started crate training your puppy before you bring him home. As such, you will need to buy a crate. And be sure to include comfortable puppy-safe bedding. Because your puppy needs a safe place for when you are not home or unable to supervise him. And also to sleep in overnight or during naps and potty training.
Here’s a good article on Potty Training.
Plus as noted below, over a dog’s lifetime, they will likely need to be crated at some point. So if you adopt an older dog from a shelter, it’s important to crate train him too!
For example, he will need to be crated when the time comes for him to be at the veterinarian clinic even for only a couple of hours. Or when you leave him at the groomer. And you will need to put him in a crate for car rides. Plus you may even need to place him in a crate for air travel one day. Because we never know what circumstances might happen in the future. And it’s better to have your dog fully crate trained in advance of such circumstances so it won’t be stressful for him at such time.
The crate training process takes time.
It’s important to understand that crate training whether for a puppy or an adult dog that has never been crated, is an intricate process. It involves techniques such as placing treats and toys in the crate for your dog to go inside on his own and leaving the crate door open initially. This allows the dog to become acquainted with his “den” before being restricted inside it. So he can feel comfortable going in and out of the crate as he wants without feeling trapped. And once he’s going inside on his own and hanging out in there for longer and longer periods of time, then you can try closing the crate door for a few seconds to see if he shows signs of being stressed. If so, open the door and try again later. Be sure to have a few treats and puppy safe toys to help him feel happy inside the crate.
Until he’s successfully crate trained to be able to stay in the crate for a few hours at time, keep practicing the methods discussed above. And in the meantime you should keep him in a small gated area of the house when not supervised for potty training or his safety if he he can get into trouble roaming around. See below about playpens and gates.
Here’s a good overview article on how to crate train your dog. But I highly recommend that you find a local force free dog trainer to help you crate train your dog right! See below for resources to find a force free dog trainer in your region. Setting up your puppy for success at the start with proper training in general is worth the cost! So it’s a good idea to budget for training expenses before getting a dog!
Resources to find a force free dog trainer in your region.
- Companion Animal Sciences Institute
- International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants
- Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers
- The Association of Professional Dog Trainers
Doggy play pen and gates
Before getting a puppy you need to make sure your house and backyard are safe and puppy proof. I highly recommend that you buy a puppy play pen so that the little one can have a limited space to roam around without getting into trouble or relieving himself in other parts of your house. And a play pen provides the young dog to move around much more than he would be able to in his crate. Plus, it’s not healthy for your pup to be in his crate for extended periods of time.
So a play pen is great for when you are home but not able to supervise him every minute. Plus, this gives him the chance to be on his own a bit and hopefully help prevent separation anxiety.
So by giving your puppy a safe space to roam around and spend time by himself, this is a good start to helping him develop independence from his family. And here’s an article that explains well how to help prevent separation anxiety.
Whether you get a puppy or rescue an adult dog, indoor gates are a must have to prevent your dog from doing the following
Escaping the house out of the front door is one the most common ways dogs either get lost or tragically get hit by a car. It only takes a split second for a dog to dart out of the front door. This kind of harm can easily be prevented by placing a gate in your hallway at the front door. Because this barrier can keep your dog on the inner side of the gate when you open the front door to leave or to welcome a visitor. And it will also help when you come home with bags of groceries, for example, and you need to keep the door open for minute or so to bring all the items inside. If your doorway design does not provide walls to easily anchor a gate, you can place a free standing gate that can be shaped to block the doorway. Here’s an example of this type of gate. So be creative! Because this is really important. It could save your dog’s life!
Be sure to fully fence in your backyard
Escaping out of the backyard is the most other common way dogs leave their property and potentially get hit by a car or get lost. So if you live in a house and want to allow your dog to roam freely in your backyard, you must fence in the entire permitters with a gate that is securely closed. And be sure to inspect all the fencing on a regular basis to ensure that there are no wholes dug out under the fence by wild animals or your dog himself. Because small dogs can crawl under those spaces and escape that way too! So make sure to budget for fencing expenses if you live in a house before you get a dog. This can cost several thousand dollars depending on how large your property is and where you live.
Fully fencing your backyard is absolutely necessary in order to allow your dog to safely spend time outdoors without risking him escaping your property. I recommend that you get this done before you bring home a dog.
On going costs of caring for a dog
Based on cost of living in Canada in 2022, you also need to budget for the following expenses before getting a dog:
- Dog coats, sweaters, boots as needed depending on the breed.
- Dog food minimum $4 (CDN)/day for high quality food for a 10lbs dog.
- Dog grooming $65 (CDN) for a small dog to $100 (CDN) or more for a large dog; to be done every 4-8 weeks.
- Dog walker/daycare if necessary ($500 – over $1000 (CDN) per month)
- Boarding your dog when you travel without him $50-$100 per day or higher for premium boarding facilities.
- Veterinarian visits: annual checkups, vaccines, minor treatments such as for eye and ear infections, can be $1000 (CDN) or more a year. But you might incur as much as $1000 (CDN) for a single visit to an emergency animal hospital for an urgent health issue.
- Dog toys and games
How does it help to budget for expenses before getting a dog?
So now you have a real good understanding of what it can cost to own a dog. And this is your opportunity to take all of this into consideration to decide if you can likely afford to care for a dog for his entire life. I strongly recommend that you pause and seriously consider whether you will have the financial resources to fulfill your duty as a future dog guardian (dog parent). Because one of the main reasons people have to dreadfully surrender their beloved pet to a shelter is because they cannot afford to provide the necessary care.
Which leads us to our next topic….
The next topic in this series:
So far in this series of 5 Things to know before getting a dog, you have learned about the essential aspects involved in providing a life time of care for your future dog. And that allows you to consider whether your lifestyle is conducive to giving him a forever home.
Part II of this series discussed important information on understanding dog behaviour. Which helped you to consider what breed to choose and whether you can manage living with a dog to meet his needs.
And this blog (part III of this series) provided you with crucial knowledge for you to budget for expenses before getting a dog.
Next: Researching ethical pet services before getting a dog.
Part IV of this 5 part series: you will learn about researching ethical pet services before you get a dog . By doing this in advance, you won’t risk choosing unsafe services at the last minute.
Yours in better dog care, Judy
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2 thoughts on “Budget for expenses before getting a dog.”
Very sound advice especially with the emotional connection between owners and pets, be practical and plan for the financial responsibilities as pets are a part of owner’s lives for many years and their healthcare costs can also increase as they age too. As the owner of a 17 year old dog, I just amortize the total over time.
Yes, that’s how I have always looked at financially planning to care for all of my pets that I have had over my lifetime. Healthcare and high quality nutrition are the most expensive aspects of living with a dog. It’s good math to amortize the cost of healthcare over the expected life span of our dog ‘s life. But it’s also really important to plan for emergency funds because dogs can get into trouble at any given moment such as eating something poisonous off the ground. Or tragically if one’s dog is attacked by another dog just simply going for a walk. They are outside roaming the world with us. So they are exposed to unexpected injuries. And any pet can simply suddenly have a health problem that requires veterinarian services. Last week I needed to get my cat tested for UTI which included X-rays to ensure that there were no kidney stones (there none 😊). But that day cost me $900. People just simply need to consider if they can afford to care for a dog for his entire life. Sadly, it’s those unexpected veterinarian costs that often lead pet owners to have to surrender their pets to shelters.