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Can you really afford a dog?

I never understood how Roger and Anita planned to take care of 101 dalmations.  How could they possibly afford a Dalmation Plantation on a songwriter’s salary?  What a ridiculous plot.

Husband and I are dog lovers, though we have none.  This week we get to dogsit Badger, a lab/greyhound mix with a pension for burrowing under the covers.  If we were impulsive people we would abscond with this dog to Mexico; she is that awesome.  But alas, we are planners and, aside from the obvious faults with the Mexico plan, we have our reasons for not having a dog already. 

Cost Considerations When Deciding to Buy a Dog

1. $Time – your most valuable asset. 

All animals require a significant amount of your attention on a daily basis; not to mention vet visits, additonal shopping trips, and other doggy-type errands (poop patrol!).   If you’re thinking of buying a puppy, then consider the time it will take to train your new family member.  We haven’t been able to commit to a time sacrifice because we are so busy and it wouldn’t be fair to neglect a new puppy; that, or more likely, sacrifice our other committments because we are easily distracted by cuteness.   

2. $Flexibility

Travel much?  When you have a dog, things get more complicated.  You can:

a. Miss Thanksgiving with the family and stay home with Chuck Norris (our future dog).

b. Take Chuck with you, either on a plane for an additional $250, or on an extended roadtrip that includes doggy potty breaks. 

c. Pay for a kennel, $15/day minimum. 

3. Additional Costs $$$

  • Depending on where and what type of dog you buy, the cost of the animal alone can be prohibitive. 
  • Food, treats, accessories (you know you’d buy them)
  • Vet Costs – Vaccinations, teeth cleanings, emergency treatment for rock swallowing
  • Dog-sitters/Kennels
  • Grooming
  • Household destruction and mayhem – maybe not that drastic, but you will be steam-cleaning a few carpets. 
  • Training

4. One Dog is 1/2 Way to Two Dogs

I rarely see a family with just one dog.  The dog needs a playmate.  The husband had a dog, so the wife needed her own dog.  Well, just be prepared for doubled expenses.

I’ve noticed this is a sensitive issue for many people.  It seems that dogs are to Americans what cats were to Egyptians: sacred.  Beethoven, Lassie, Old Yeller, Shiloh; case and point.  To many, a dog is a right of passage and a completion of a family.  While I’ll give it to you that a dog becomes a member of the family, it is not a right, and if you can’t afford it, then you shouldn’t buy it.   

Article publié pour la première fois le 26/07/2010