Some Actual Estimates of the Cost of Keeping a Dog

Dogs cost money to keep. They are supposedly man's best friend but, like anything worth having, there is a price to pay. Recent estimates of the lifetime expense of owning a dog is nearly enough to make one decide on a new car instead. As smaller living quarters and busier lives become the norm, many people are opting for smaller dog breeds. Not everyone wants a 'small, white, fluffy' dog however.

The 'top dogs' recommended as house pets by the Animal Welfare League in Western Australia were Labrador/retrievers (sharing top place), followed by the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Beagle, Staffordshire bull terrier and Jack Russell terrier. All these breeds have friendly natures and make great pets.

Golden Retriever(69526)Credit: Wikimedia

Golden Retriever

However a top Labrador breeder was the first to admit that Labradors need lots of attention. They are certainly friendly but need to be trained from an early age. They are on the big side for some homes and need regular exercise. They also have healthy appetites. Likewise, the golden retriever has huge popularity but needs space and attention.

Cavalier King Charles SpanielCredit: Wikimedia - Author Pleple2000

The Cavalier King Charles spaniel LOVES people and children. He asks only to have company and not be left alone. These dogs stand 12 to 13 inches high and have a silky coat of moderate length. The feathering on the ears is prone to matting and tangling so regular grooming is essential. The hair between the foot pads should also be trimmed. The long hair can pick up grass seeds but too frequent baths may result in skin irritation.

Beagle(69525)Credit: Wikimedia

The beagle is easy-going, intelligent and friendly. They are great with kids and become strongly bonded to their family. Buy from a reputable breeder as there may be health issues with some lines. Beagles range from 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder depending on sex and age. They should be quite solid and well-muscled but will run to fat if not kept exercised.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier(69530)Credit: Wikimedia

The Staffordshire bull terrier or 'staffie' has friends all over the world. He is happy and outgoing, great with kids but highly protective of whatever he considers his 'belongings' be they people or things. His whole body oozes strength with the front legs set wide apart to the strong, muscular hindquarters. The coat is short, shiny and easily cared for. All that is needed is regular brushing and an occasional bath. Socialise him when young to other dogs and pets.

Jack Russell Terrier(69528)Credit: Wikimedia

The Jack Russell terrier (sometimes known as the Parson terrier) is extremely energetic and active but great if there is plenty going on in his household. He never tires and will run and play all day. He needs plenty of stimulation. He may be smooth-haired or wire-haired. He probably isn't the best dog to have if toddlers are inclined to be rough with their pets.

The cost of keeping a dog is increasing year by year and many first-time owners underestimate the cost of a pet over its lifetime. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has given some estimates as to the lifetime cost of keeping a dog. They believe a small dog would cost around $23,140 and a large dog $25,580. An average medium-size dog is even costlier as they tend to live longer. The figure given was $32,120. As the cost of living rises, so too does the cost of keeping a dog.

Figures given for some other breeds included:

Great Dane – lifespan 12 years, $1,500 as a puppy and annual costs of $1939 – total $43,912.

Border Collie – lifespan 18 years, $1,000 as a puppy and annual costs $2,128 – total $39,504.

These prices do not include veterinary bills. Pet insurance could save you thousands of dollars should your dog become sick or require emergency treatment and/or surgery. Vet fees can be horrendous, causing hardship for many as they strive to do their best for their four-legged friend.

Vaccinations, veterinarian fees and ongoing flea, tick and heartworm prevention treatments contribute to a sizeable yearly amount.

And don't forget to add to this kennel fees over holiday periods. It may cost nearly as much to board your dog as it does to accommodate yourselves. Prices in Western Australian boarding kennels varies from $18 a day for small dogs to $25 a day for large dogs. Even with discounts for longer stays, this adds up to an expense that you will need to budget for.

How can you keep costs down? Expensive toys are not necessary. Your pooch won't care where toys come from. Having said that, ensure that any toys are safe for your puppy or dog to maul and chew. Do some research on how to save money with dog food. If you can spare some time preparing your own pet food, you can save a lot.

Don't know what type of dog to buy? Attend a few dog shows where all the breeds are gathered together. Talk to the owners. Don't forget there are hundreds of dogs in dogs' homes waiting for a second chance at life. Many are there through no fault of their own and quite often, a visit to a rescue home will result in a magical connection with a dog that you had no idea you wanted.