The True Cost of Owning a Dog

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guitarguy
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by guitarguy » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:26 am

burt wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
burt wrote:The vet remarked that our dog (6 years old) is one of the few they see with no health problems.
We attribute this to a good healthy diet.
Dogs, like people require good food for good health.
Don't be cheap on dog food, or you will pay expensive health bills down the road.
Nonsense. We have 2 dogs on cheap Kirkland dog food and both have zero health problems. 8 and 6 years old. Then again, Kirkland dog food has no bi-products and pretty darn good ingredients for a very reasonable price. So evaluate the ingredients as well as the price.

But we're also lucky because again, it depends on the dog. Our dogs don't have particularly sensitive stomachs and do fine and have healthy coats and so forth without expensive grain-free food.
After reading this thread and the high cost of pet illness, I've decided to keep my dog on premium healthy food.
I can't afford to save anymore money.

burt
Well...whatever helps you sleep better at night. I'm not trying to talk you out of feeding whatever food you want. All I'm saying is if a dog is perfectly healthy on a quality cheaper food then you have no basis to say it will develop health problems later in life nor to tell people to prepare for high vet bills because of the food they choose to feed. There are plenty of dogs out there that live long happy healthy lives without feeding ultra expensive premium food.

Hopefully your dog(s) never develop any health problems or suffer any expensive injuries. But them being healthy is not solely attributed to high dollar food. Just like a very healthy person with a great diet can get cancer, break their leg, or develop arthritis, so it goes for a dog as well. Genetics, lifestyle, and a little luck all play a role.

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sunny_socal
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:29 pm

Our dog just cut his paw on something in the yard - no idea what, we don't have any sharp object out there. He bled all over the house and we bandaged it but had to take him to the vet this morning.

$650 for sedatives, stitches, and time for him to wake up again at the clinic.

Budget $1k/year for things like this or get pet insurance if you don't like surprises. Our previous dog broke a leg when he jumped off a wall, he had to get a metal pin installed, that was $3k. (Back where I grew up that broken leg would have been enough to put him down, but my wife wouldn't hear of it...)

I don't think we'll get any more dogs, cats are much cheaper & easier to care for if you can deal with their attitudes. ("I want you to wake up Now!" "I want to get fed Now!" "I want you to pet me Now!" "I'm going to run away and Hide!" "I want running water from the faucet, come open it Now!")

Miriam2
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by Miriam2 » Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:47 pm

sunny_socal wrote:I don't think we'll get any more dogs, cats are much cheaper & easier to care for if you can deal with their attitudes. ("I want you to wake up Now!" "I want to get fed Now!" "I want you to pet me Now!" "I'm going to run away and Hide!" "I want running water from the faucet, come open it Now!")
Yes, this difference between dogs and cats - and the true nature of cats - was well documented in the thoroughly researched scientific treatise written by an unbiased professional with experience in the field (and BTW, the pictures are beautiful):

"Why Dogs Are Better Than Cats," by Bradley Trevor Greive
www.amazon.com/Why-Dogs-Better-Than-Cats/dp/0740785133

Readers might be interested in how dogs won the rigorous competition among all creatures for the coveted title of "Man's Best Friend" - (and how cats were not even in the running . . . :wink:
Bradley Trevor Greive wrote -
The competition for the title "man's best friend" was not merely a showdown with cats. In fact, cats didn't figure in the contest any more prominently than, say, quail.
Dogs won this affectionate accolade against and above all other species on planet earth, from aardvarks to zebu. . . .
Just so you know, cats were gonged off the stage in the preliminary rounds due to lack of interest (on their part).
He also notes that "To dogs, you are the great love of their lives. To cats, you are the courtesan of the moment."

What is the true cost of owning man's best friend? :happy

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WolfpackFan
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by WolfpackFan » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:26 pm

Great thread. I just dropped $300 today to have my dog's teeth cleaned.

"You know why dogs never have any money? No pockets." ~Jerry Seinfeld

drawpoker
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by drawpoker » Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:16 pm

Re: True Cost of Owning Dog (s) Without Accompanying Cat (s)
Budget for professional pest control service monthly to eradicate mice.
Since you didn't already engage professional services for same from, um, the real professional (s) :wink: :wink: :wink:

BrklynMike
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Cost of dog ownership.

Post by BrklynMike » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:26 am

For all of you dog lovers out there, which includes myself, consider this.

Over the last ten years my dog has cost me approximately $200 per month. That includes food, grooming, the occasional day care, and vet visits in the Northeast. That does not count the acquisition cost and initial vet visits for shots and neutering. That's $2,400 a year for ten years, which is $24,000 out of pocket and after tax.

Instead, if I had saved that money in a tax deferred retirement account, it would be approximately $36,000 in contributions (based on my marginal tax bracket) and let's say another $36,000 in growth for a grand total of $72,000 in just the last ten years.

Now if that $72,000 compounds over the next 28 years and doubles every 7, then the grand total is. . .72 x 2 = 144 x 2 = 288 x 2 = 576 x 2 = 1,152.

That's $1,152,000.

Think about that next time the family asks you for a dog.

[merged this thread and its replies into the existing topic on the same subject - moderator prudent]
"In a world of uncertainty, one should focus more on the consequences than the probabilities." - Benjamin Graham

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runner9
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by runner9 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:32 am

To each his own, though that's more expensive than my dog. You could also add up the cost of a child and make the same claim...

Liberty1100
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Liberty1100 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:34 am

I think you also forgot to include the lost of resale value in your home or the increase rent you had to pay.

Dogs typically scratch hardwood floors and sometimes urinate on the carpets. When a potential buyer walks through your house, they could be allergic, notice a smell, or notice the worn floors, all that could cause a lower bid or no bid at all.

However, like kids, you got a deal for the hours and hours of love, joy, and entertainment for you and your family.

Elena
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Elena » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:45 am

My pet budget is way lower, but my dog is very small (eats little) and young (she cost me $20 at the pound, full breed that I did not care about), so just 1x yr. vaccinations needed. Dental cleaning and other vet costs will be added later in life, so I am saving for surgeries if needed, self insuring. I learned to do my own grooming with previous dog: best idea ever. Probably every dog owner here will add that return in intangible in happiness and health (daily walks, free home alarm, etc.).
Several dog owners were discussing the alarming increase in meds. and vet prices: they all seem to be going towards the human business model (unaffordable without insurance, overpaying for pills, etc.). Not good for middle-class owners.

beardsworth
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by beardsworth » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:51 am

It's nearly always a good idea to use that "Search" box at the top of each Bogleheads page to see what has been previously discussed about a topic before starting a brand new thread.

A search for "cost" "dog" brought several results, including this extended thread from just a few months ago:

viewtopic.php?t=197622

Calico
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Calico » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:07 am

It also depends on how big your dog is.

I had a 40 pound dog (who died very early this year) and later this past spring, I adopted another dog who was much smaller (21 pounds). A lot of things cost me a lot less from heart-worm medicine, food, etc. If you have a great dane, they eat a lot more food, cost a lot more to be groomed or to board, etc than my little 20 pound mixed breed.

Last time I ran the numbers, the "newer" dog costs me about $91 per month when you figure in food, heart-worm pills, vet visits, dog tags, occasional boarding, and other miscellaneous things like dog toys and such. That's not including the adoption fee from the shelter. She's young and healthy now and rarely goes to the vet. When I am out of town, sometimes I board her, but more often she stays with someone I know who has pets. I bath and groom her myself... all that saves money.

I calculated everything for my older dog too (as in how much a month) but that's mainly because I budget everything. I can't remember how much it was, but it was definitely a lot more expensive later in life when she was on so many meds and we had so many vet visits. It was more than my newer dog is now. So that is something to think of before getting a dog. It might be "cheap" when they are young, but it gets more costly when they are older.

I don't think my dog will impact the resale of my house later on. Neither dog has done any damage. The hardwood floors are good (keep a dog's nails trimmed), there is no pee on the carpet or floor (they were both housebroken and it wasn't too hard to do with either), No molding or anything is chewed up (they have toys), etc. I can see where allergies would be an issue, but my plan is to move out of my house, clean it, and stage it (leave some of my furniture behind) when it's time to sell. I also live in an area of the country where houses are short supply. Houses in my neighborhood typical sell in a matter of weeks and above asking price. Even the ones that had dogs or were rentals (which always look worse to me).

Somethings about a dog that might cost more aside from the typical food, vet, boarding, etc are: rent (like another poster said, you are charged more for rent if you have a pet); cleaning supplies (I probably clean more often than someone without a dog... and I know I wear out vaccuums faster because I use them more often); carpet cleaning (while my dog doesn't soil my carpets, I probably get them steam cleaned more often than others do); electricity and gas (I can't turn up the AC to a higher temperature as much in the summer or the heat down in the winter with a dog in the house. This younger one might be able to handle it being warmer in the house, but my older dog needed more temperature control like an elderly person might).

I still think a dog is worth it. I've always had a dog since I was a kid. I can't see giving it up. I rather do something like go on cheaper vacations and save $1100 a year that way instead of not having a dog.

pshonore
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by pshonore » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:21 am

Calico wrote:
I still think a dog is worth it. I've always had a dog since I was a kid. I can't see giving it up. I rather do something like go on cheaper vacations and save $1100 a year that way instead of not having a dog.
+1 - I couldn't agree more.

SimonJester
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by SimonJester » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:28 am

Hmmm your costs are high, in the last 7 years my dog's care costs have totaled about $5.5k. He is a smaller 13lb dog which has to be groomed several times a year ie no shedding...

The biggest expenses are dentistry, he has had to have a few teeth extracted, he has a problem flossing without thumbs :P

Still worth it 100%, even though he has gone deaf and a little senile.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Fallible
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Fallible » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:44 am

BrklynMike wrote:For all of you dog lovers out there, which includes myself, consider this.

Over the last ten years my dog has cost me approximately $200 per month. That includes food, grooming, the occasional day care, and vet visits in the Northeast. That does not count the acquisition cost and initial vet visits for shots and neutering. That's $2,400 a year for ten years, which is $24,000 out of pocket and after tax.

Instead, if I had saved that money in a tax deferred retirement account, it would be approximately $36,000 in contributions (based on my marginal tax bracket) and let's say another $36,000 in growth for a grand total of $72,000 in just the last ten years.

Now if that $72,000 compounds over the next 28 years and doubles every 7, then the grand total is. . .72 x 2 = 144 x 2 = 288 x 2 = 576 x 2 = 1,152.

That's $1,152,000.

Think about that next time the family asks you for a dog.
And now balance it: think of the happiness and fun memories a dog, or any pet, can bring to the owner and the entire family. What are those worth?

The same balance - costs and advantages - should be applied to any purchase.
Bogleheads® wiki | Investing Advice Inspired by Jack Bogle

fishboat
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by fishboat » Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:45 am

..gosh..just think of the calcs you could run based on living in a hut, burning windfall trees for heat, and walking to work...skip books and music too..very pricey..

As a dog lover-owner(mho)..with due respect..this is sort of a waste of good electrons..

Slacker
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Slacker » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:21 am

BrklynMike wrote:For all of you dog lovers out there, which includes myself, consider this.

Over the last ten years my dog has cost me approximately $200 per month. That includes food, grooming, the occasional day care, and vet visits in the Northeast. That does not count the acquisition cost and initial vet visits for shots and neutering. That's $2,400 a year for ten years, which is $24,000 out of pocket and after tax.

Instead, if I had saved that money in a tax deferred retirement account, it would be approximately $36,000 in contributions (based on my marginal tax bracket) and let's say another $36,000 in growth for a grand total of $72,000 in just the last ten years.

Now if that $72,000 compounds over the next 28 years and doubles every 7, then the grand total is. . .72 x 2 = 144 x 2 = 288 x 2 = 576 x 2 = 1,152.

That's $1,152,000.

Think about that next time the family asks you for a dog.
I consider more the time costs of owning a dog.

Dogs are great for walks, playing at the park, hiking, and petting your friends/family member's dog.
Quite a time sink to take care of one yourself (additional house cleaning, potty training time, obedience training time (which should be constantly kept up), no chewing on all of your belongings training time, time taken to pay attention to dog so they don't whine and feel disregarded when you are trying to work from home...).

Our dog is essentially my wife's dog.

Our "operating costs" are also quite a bit lower than $200 per month. We brush her teeth ourselves to cut way back on vet dental cleaning requirements and costs.

Slacker
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Slacker » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:23 am

Liberty1100 wrote:I think you also forgot to include the lost of resale value in your home or the increase rent you had to pay.

Dogs typically scratch hardwood floors and sometimes urinate on the carpets. When a potential buyer walks through your house, they could be allergic, notice a smell, or notice the worn floors, all that could cause a lower bid or no bid at all.

However, like kids, you got a deal for the hours and hours of love, joy, and entertainment for you and your family.
Kids do far more damage to your home than animals, anecdotally from a newish landlord's perspective (and also based on input from a few property management company principals I've talked with).

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dm200
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by dm200 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:29 am

I would like a dog, but my wife will not allow it!

Based on friends and relatives that are dog owners, and having had dogs growing up in the country -

The BIGGEST (actual or potential) cost of a dog is the expense of "extraordinary" medical expenses if/when the dog encounters certain conditions, often in (dog years) "old age". These can easily be many thousands of dollars. If you, however, are willing and able to "just say no" to such expenses (as was always done in the country when I was growing up), you can greatly cut your costs of dog ownership.

fishmonger
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by fishmonger » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:32 am

I have a 10 year old chocolate lab, and to be fair I haven't calculated it. But he costs me WAY less than $200/month. I feed him high quality food, and do all the usual meds, and if I had to guess I'd say it's less than $100/month factoring in annual visits, etc.

He's very healthy, so maybe we've been lucky. But other than the annual vet visit and shots, the only other vet trip he had was to remove an abscess due to a shard from a stick getting lodged in his cheek. That was around $700.

He is my best friend though, and such an important part of the family that I wouldn't care what he costs. I'd eat PB&J for lunch everyday if I had to

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Hub
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Hub » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:36 am

I've always liked having dogs and want my kids to grow up with them, but the cost is hard to reconcile. Our 13 yr old dog just died and it's certainly a burden lifted at this point. Of course she had been an old dog that wasn't the best roommate for the past 3-4 years so my memories of doggy joy are not as fresh. Her cost was likely about $50/mo for those 13 years, which is still a lot.

I think OPs calculations are very relevant because dogs are a real expense that many people that cannot afford them fail to consider. For most of us bogleheads it's an exercise in finance to see what the cost is, but for others, excessive and impulsive dog ownership falls into the poor folks have poor ways category imo.

arizonaslim
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by arizonaslim » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:43 am

You also need to consider your liability exposure. If your dog bites someone, that can get very expensive in a hurry. Believe me, you don't want to meet this guy -- or one of his colleagues -- in a court of law.

https://dogbitelaw.com/

Carefreeap
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:00 am

BrklynMike wrote:For all of you dog lovers out there, which includes myself, consider this.

Over the last ten years my dog has cost me approximately $200 per month. That includes food, grooming, the occasional day care, and vet visits in the Northeast. That does not count the acquisition cost and initial vet visits for shots and neutering. That's $2,400 a year for ten years, which is $24,000 out of pocket and after tax.

Instead, if I had saved that money in a tax deferred retirement account, it would be approximately $36,000 in contributions (based on my marginal tax bracket) and let's say another $36,000 in growth for a grand total of $72,000 in just the last ten years.

Now if that $72,000 compounds over the next 28 years and doubles every 7, then the grand total is. . .72 x 2 = 144 x 2 = 288 x 2 = 576 x 2 = 1,152.

That's $1,152,000.

Think about that next time the family asks you for a dog.
You can't measure the rate of return on unconditional love.

danaht
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by danaht » Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:04 am

Having a dog is definitely worth it. You can reduce the VET bills a little by getting all the shots + heart-worm checks done by a special discount veterinarian group that travel from place to place. One group in Texas only costs ~$100 for all of this for 1 year. A normal VET in the same area costs about $500 a year - savings of about $400/year. Also get all your pet medication through Sam's club/ Costco / or online. Unfortunately, You still have to deal with the expensive costs of getting the dog neutered, teeth cleaning, any emergency visits, and also dealing with dog's end of life costs can be expensive (ultrasound for cancer, etc)

themesrob
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by themesrob » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:05 pm

We've had to spend a lot of money on our dog since we got him ~two years ago (around $5000 all in). He had health problems when we rescued him (including 10 teeth that needed to be extracted), and developed others. He had a rough first few years of his life living on the streets, which he has paid for health-wise (and for which we have paid too, thanks to high vet costs in the NYC area).

He's about the happiest little guy in the world, though. We are generally frugal saver types, and the dog is probably the primary leak in our boat. And I would absolutely tell someone considering whether to adopt a dog to envision what they think it will cost to take care of the dog, then triple it, and consider if they would still want to adopt. To us (and I imagine most dog owners feel the same way), he's worth it, and we are fortunate enough to be able to absorb the costs. But it's an interesting thought experiment for sure, and worth considering if thinking about adoption.

nyknicks2544
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by nyknicks2544 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:34 pm

I never priced out my dog so I guess I will do it now. Monthly budget for an 70lb Golden over 10 year lifespan:

Purchase Price: $1500 - $12.50 / month
Chopping off the family jewels: $400 - $3.50 / month
Initial Puppy Class: $200 - $1.50 / month
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Food: $50 per bag - $30 / month
HeartGard: $90 for 12 pack - $7.50 / month
Seresto Flee/Tick Collar: $40 last 8 months - $5.00 / month
Buddy Biscuits: 2 boxes a month - $10 / month
Water: City water isn't free! - $1 / month
Grooming: $60 for a face/feet/fanny 3x per year - $15 / month
Yearly Vet: Depends on shots but estimate @ $250 per year - $20.50 / month
Gas to get to dog park: $30 / month

Total: $136.50 / month

I am going to break the news to my dog tonight that he has got to go...price of kibble is just too much and I really should be maxing out my HSA plan.

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dm200
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by dm200 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:05 pm

nyknicks2544 wrote:I never priced out my dog so I guess I will do it now. Monthly budget for an 70lb Golden over 10 year lifespan:
Purchase Price: $1500 - $12.50 / month
Chopping off the family jewels: $400 - $3.50 / month
Initial Puppy Class: $200 - $1.50 / month
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Food: $50 per bag - $30 / month
HeartGard: $90 for 12 pack - $7.50 / month
Seresto Flee/Tick Collar: $40 last 8 months - $5.00 / month
Buddy Biscuits: 2 boxes a month - $10 / month
Water: City water isn't free! - $1 / month
Grooming: $60 for a face/feet/fanny 3x per year - $15 / month
Yearly Vet: Depends on shots but estimate @ $250 per year - $20.50 / month
Gas to get to dog park: $30 / month
Total: $136.50 / month
I am going to break the news to my dog tonight that he has got to go...price of kibble is just too much and I really should be maxing out my HSA plan.
1. Many nice dogs are available at low cost from various groups., thereby reducing the $1,500 up front cost

2. What is your willingness to spend many thousands of dollars if the dog has conditions that are expensive to treat? I don't know how much he paid, but I am sure it was a lot, but a friend of mine's lab developed cataracts and paid for cataract surgery for the dog.

dpc
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by dpc » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:10 pm

Anyone who is compelled to attempt to calculate the total cost of pet ownership should definitely not get one. Just send an annual contribution for half of your projected annual cost to your local animal shelter and we'll all be better off.
"Worrying is like paying interest on a debt that you might never owe" -- Will Rogers

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N1CKV
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by N1CKV » Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:22 pm

runner9 wrote:To each his own, though that's more expensive than my dog. You could also add up the cost of a child and make the same claim...
I couldn't agree more!

My dog costs me more than the OP. He has had both back knees repaired surgically - twice (that's 4 surgeries). He has had a few other issues along the way, mostly regular maintenance like annual shots, heartworm prevention and teeth cleaning every other year. My dog requires no grooming, just bathe him occasionally as needed.

I like to joke that most years I spend more on my dog's medical care than my own, but this year's ACL replacement on my knee means I win! :sharebeer
My dog pushes me to be more - I strive to be as great of a person that my dog thinks I am.
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

nyknicks2544
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by nyknicks2544 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:02 pm

dm200 wrote: 1. Many nice dogs are available at low cost from various groups., thereby reducing the $1,500 up front cost

2. What is your willingness to spend many thousands of dollars if the dog has conditions that are expensive to treat? I don't know how much he paid, but I am sure it was a lot, but a friend of mine's lab developed cataracts and paid for cataract surgery for the dog.
1.) Definitely agree you can reduce upfront costs and I fully support those that want to adopt. We opted to go the route of using a breeder because we wanted the puppy experience. Golden Retrievers are predisposed to a number of health issues (cancer and hip dysplasia being the big ones). Using a breeder that ensured the dogs bred had the proper health clearances/bloodline reduced the risk of our dog developing these. This can save money as the dog ages but more importantly has the potential of extending their life.

2.) I think it would be a case by case thing. It would be a function of what I could afford at the time and if the treatment has the potential to significantly improve both the dogs quality and length of life. I am not sure what the limit would be...probably a lot ($10,000 maybe?). Do not have kids and the dog is a big part of our life so I struggle with putting a dollar figure on the expensive treatments. Can limit exposure to this with pet insurance but we have chosen not to insure at this point.

Polymath
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Polymath » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:28 pm

Just to provide some measurable balance beyond the "love" argument, my dog makes me and my family healthier, what is that worth?
http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high- ... r-health#1

fishboat
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by fishboat » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:38 pm

dpc wrote:Anyone who is compelled to attempt to calculate the total cost of pet ownership should definitely not get one. Just send an annual contribution for half of your projected annual cost to your local animal shelter and we'll all be better off.
+1..amen.

For those that not concerned about the time value of money..ahh..dogs..consider adopting a rescue(d) dog. Whatever breed you like..search for "(dog breed) rescue" you'll get lots of hits for about every state in the Union. My last two Goldens were rescues..best investments I've ever made.

If someone would monetize the human benefits of dog ownership, maybe the ledger would be more appealing to some..more exercise, less stress, less heart disease, more social connections, less depression, less loneliness, higher quality of life...


Misc words of wisdom:

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.
-Anonymous

Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.
-Ann Landers

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
-Will Rogers

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
-Ben Williams

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.
-Josh Billings

The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.
-Andy Rooney

We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare.
And in return, dogs give us their all. It's the best deal man has ever made.
-M. Acklam

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have
known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
-James Thurber

If your dog is fat, you aren't getting enough exercise.
-Unknown

It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.
-Unknown

My dog is worried about the economy because Alpo is up to $3.00 a can. That's almost $21.00 in dog money.
-Joe Weinstein

ddunca1944
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by ddunca1944 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:50 pm

pshonore wrote:
Calico wrote:
I still think a dog is worth it. I've always had a dog since I was a kid. I can't see giving it up. I rather do something like go on cheaper vacations and save $1100 a year that way instead of not having a dog.
+1 - I couldn't agree more.
I spend about the same for my one year old Golden Retriever mix puppy. I have had dogs for the last 15 years. Last Sat, I spent nearly $400 at the vet ER when she was vomiting blood. (She's ok)
If I had to cut expenses, there are lots of areas that I'd cut before I'd go to cheaper dog food or skimp on health care or grooming.

The greeting I get when I get home, the look of love I get in the morning, the times when she lays down on top of my feet just to be near me.
Priceless

PS She was a rescue

flyingbison
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by flyingbison » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:58 pm

BrklynMike wrote:For all of you dog lovers out there, which includes myself, consider this.

Over the last ten years my dog has cost me approximately $200 per month. That includes food, grooming, the occasional day care, and vet visits in the Northeast. That does not count the acquisition cost and initial vet visits for shots and neutering. That's $2,400 a year for ten years, which is $24,000 out of pocket and after tax.
Mine has cost me more than that for the past 11 years, mainly due to expensive allergy medicine and specialized food.

He's 12 now, and won't be around much longer. Doubt I will get another one for a while after that.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:33 pm

fishboat wrote:..gosh..just think of the calcs you could run based on living in a hut, burning windfall trees for heat, and walking to work...skip books and music too..very pricey..

As a dog lover-owner(mho)..with due respect..this is sort of a waste of good electrons..
Only on Bogleheads would this be an issue to be answered via a spreadsheet. [Not currently a dog owner--but unrelated to costs.]

leonard
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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by leonard » Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:18 pm

dpc wrote:Anyone who is compelled to attempt to calculate the total cost of pet ownership should definitely not get one.
Completely disagree. Part of the problem with people getting pets is they don't truly appreciate the total cost of ownership. They rationalize "I had one as a kid." or "my parents have one - I should too."

Then, they get shocked at the first big vet bill. Or, as I have heard many times, they complain even about the routine vet bills for annual exams.

So, if anything, we need more people to understand the "cost of pet ownership" before jumping in.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

hirlaw
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by hirlaw » Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:37 pm

I posted this reply back in August: "Owner of 12 year old Shih Tzu here. He was recently diagnosed with Cushings Disease. The medication alone is $300/month. That does not include blood work-ups, etc. that run a few hundred dollars a visit. That is before the usual heartworm/flea medication, prescription eye drops, vaccines, food, boarding, etc.

But, he is cute and a good friend!"

I totally agree that potential dog owners need to be aware of the potential expenses before buying (adopting) one. If you are on a tight budget, know that the expenses can be very high.

Like children, from a financial standpoint, dogs are definitely a bad "investment." But for many of us the rewards outweigh the financial aspects.

emoore
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by emoore » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:04 pm

guitarguy wrote:
burt wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
burt wrote:The vet remarked that our dog (6 years old) is one of the few they see with no health problems.
We attribute this to a good healthy diet.
Dogs, like people require good food for good health.
Don't be cheap on dog food, or you will pay expensive health bills down the road.
Nonsense. We have 2 dogs on cheap Kirkland dog food and both have zero health problems. 8 and 6 years old. Then again, Kirkland dog food has no bi-products and pretty darn good ingredients for a very reasonable price. So evaluate the ingredients as well as the price.

But we're also lucky because again, it depends on the dog. Our dogs don't have particularly sensitive stomachs and do fine and have healthy coats and so forth without expensive grain-free food.
After reading this thread and the high cost of pet illness, I've decided to keep my dog on premium healthy food.
I can't afford to save anymore money.

burt
Well...whatever helps you sleep better at night. I'm not trying to talk you out of feeding whatever food you want. All I'm saying is if a dog is perfectly healthy on a quality cheaper food then you have no basis to say it will develop health problems later in life nor to tell people to prepare for high vet bills because of the food they choose to feed. There are plenty of dogs out there that live long happy healthy lives without feeding ultra expensive premium food.

Hopefully your dog(s) never develop any health problems or suffer any expensive injuries. But them being healthy is not solely attributed to high dollar food. Just like a very healthy person with a great diet can get cancer, break their leg, or develop arthritis, so it goes for a dog as well. Genetics, lifestyle, and a little luck all play a role.
+1. I feed my dog Kirkland food and it ranks pretty high on the dog food reviews and if fairly inexpensive. I wouldn't go by price to determine how good a food is.

leonard
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by leonard » Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:59 pm

emoore wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
burt wrote:
guitarguy wrote:
burt wrote:The vet remarked that our dog (6 years old) is one of the few they see with no health problems.
We attribute this to a good healthy diet.
Dogs, like people require good food for good health.
Don't be cheap on dog food, or you will pay expensive health bills down the road.
Nonsense. We have 2 dogs on cheap Kirkland dog food and both have zero health problems. 8 and 6 years old. Then again, Kirkland dog food has no bi-products and pretty darn good ingredients for a very reasonable price. So evaluate the ingredients as well as the price.

But we're also lucky because again, it depends on the dog. Our dogs don't have particularly sensitive stomachs and do fine and have healthy coats and so forth without expensive grain-free food.
After reading this thread and the high cost of pet illness, I've decided to keep my dog on premium healthy food.
I can't afford to save anymore money.

burt
Well...whatever helps you sleep better at night. I'm not trying to talk you out of feeding whatever food you want. All I'm saying is if a dog is perfectly healthy on a quality cheaper food then you have no basis to say it will develop health problems later in life nor to tell people to prepare for high vet bills because of the food they choose to feed. There are plenty of dogs out there that live long happy healthy lives without feeding ultra expensive premium food.

Hopefully your dog(s) never develop any health problems or suffer any expensive injuries. But them being healthy is not solely attributed to high dollar food. Just like a very healthy person with a great diet can get cancer, break their leg, or develop arthritis, so it goes for a dog as well. Genetics, lifestyle, and a little luck all play a role.
+1. I feed my dog Kirkland food and it ranks pretty high on the dog food reviews and if fairly inexpensive. I wouldn't go by price to determine how good a food is.
Lot of people drawing conclusions based on sample sizes of 1 or 2.

Also - I think most everyone would agree that higher quality food (irrespective of price) is going to be better for a dog than lower quality.
Leonard | | Market Timing: Do you seriously think you can predict the future? What else do the voices tell you? | | If employees weren't taking jobs with bad 401k's, bad 401k's wouldn't exist.

likegarden
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by likegarden » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:44 pm

13 years ago we were taking care of our son's Chihuahua for a year. I was surprised to pay $225 then for a checkup with shots at the vet. Then when our grandson came around, the little dog got sad that we no longer spent so much time with him, so we found a lady who wanted him.
About prices for medical care, a man paid over $3,000 for cataract surgery on his dog's eyes 5 or so years ago.

mouses
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by mouses » Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:56 pm

dm200 wrote: To me, not unusual at all. I am against animal cruelty, but believe many of the large amounts spent for certain kinds of pet expense would be much better spent on people - not animals.
Most dogs and cats are better than most people. I fail to understand the bias in favor of humans that numerous people have.

I hit $15,000 with a chronic illness my cat had. Of course, I did not keep him alive longer than he had a decent quality of life.

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Re: Cost of dog ownership.

Post by Fallible » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:41 pm

leonard wrote:
dpc wrote:Anyone who is compelled to attempt to calculate the total cost of pet ownership should definitely not get one.
Completely disagree. Part of the problem with people getting pets is they don't truly appreciate the total cost of ownership. They rationalize "I had one as a kid." or "my parents have one - I should too."

Then, they get shocked at the first big vet bill. Or, as I have heard many times, they complain even about the routine vet bills for annual exams.

So, if anything, we need more people to understand the "cost of pet ownership" before jumping in.
Agree, but owners faced with high cost estimates from their vet should also get estimates from other vets because they do vary, sometimes quite a bit. Even a treatment recommended by one vet may not be recommended by another.

Another way to save on pet health costs is to read a good vet book or two on pet care that can show you ways to keep the animal healthy. A lot of health problems can be avoided if the owner learns how to anticipate and prevent them.
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MrNewEngland
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by MrNewEngland » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:48 pm

I usually have a friend watch my dog when I go out of town but I just had to leave to go to a funeral and it cost me $240 to board him.

Louis CK once said something like "when you get a dog you're basically planning on being sad in about 10 years".

RobLIC
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by RobLIC » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:09 pm

$21,000 total, for two cruciate ligament repairs on my 9-year-old lab, two years ago, 5 weeks apart. Insurance picked up $5K. Part of that is the premium price of vet care of New York. Part is that I opted for a version of the surgery involving steel pins instead of wire, preferred for large breeds. Another part is that I'm insane.

I consider it the best "foolish" amount of money I've ever spent, and it's worth it to me every time I see him run up a hill, but GET INSURANCE and make sure in advance you know what your policy covers. Most policies are written specifically to minimize exposure for the diseases most common among the breed you're trying to insure.

Before this, I thought a suitable emergency fund for dog care would be $5,000, but that just did not bear out. Would do the exact same thing if presented with the same set of circumstances again, but an incredibly stressful experience.

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G12
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by G12 » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:31 pm

We have had some big expenses over the years, couple of one off ~ $7,500 medical expenses. One was osteosarcoma/chemo, the other the aftermath of a brutal dog-on-dog attack, everything else has been fairly routine and moderate costs. What costs me some serious money is happening upon an activity my dogs really enjoy and are good at and and having to travel very long distances to trial them. ~ 28k miles the last 2 years, some people I know have done well over 60k miles/year. Then again, who would have thought a little AmStaff/Bulldog with a dollop of Whippet would ever become an outstanding/Elite level scent work dog. I don't hunt or golf anymore, so I look at it as entertainment and well worth the money. The only drawback is I really don't like driving anymore with all the self absorbed people on the roads that make life really dangerous at times.

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Re: Cost of dog ownershi

Post by Fallible » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:57 pm

dm200 wrote:I would like a dog, but my wife will not allow it!

Based on friends and relatives that are dog owners, and having had dogs growing up in the country -

The BIGGEST (actual or potential) cost of a dog is the expense of "extraordinary" medical expenses if/when the dog encounters certain conditions, often in (dog years) "old age". These can easily be many thousands of dollars. If you, however, are willing and able to "just say no" to such expenses (as was always done in the country when I was growing up), you can greatly cut your costs of dog ownership.
This may not be what you meant, but saying "no" to treatment that is needed to keep an animal free of pain is done at the animal's expense and I could not do that. Better to ask the vet if less expensive supportive care for a condition Is available and if not, have the dog euthanized. You can also get cost estimates from other vets because they can vary.
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peterinjapan
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by peterinjapan » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:44 pm

I love dogs and cats, and we have one of each, but only because my in-laws are here to care for them. Having pets means never being able to fly off into the sunset, something I plan to do a lot of in retirement.

TOJ
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by TOJ » Tue Dec 20, 2016 10:59 pm

I have 2 dogs for the cost of about $50/mo in food plus ~$200/yr in shots. The fleecing is when you take healthy dogs into a vet for yearly checkup and shots. Go to the traveling clinics for all that. I suppose I also spend $100/yr getting their nails clipped. But they don't get boarded nor 'groomed'.

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stemikger
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by stemikger » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:31 am

I just said goodbye to my 14 year old best friend two weeks ago. He was a Shih Tzu and the most amazing dog I ever had. In the early years, as long as the dog has no major health issues, I didn't find it to be that expensive (i.e. vet care, shots, etc.). Grooming tended to be a little expensive, but instead of once a month I waited every 6 to eight weeks and bathed him in between.

The real question you have to ask yourself is what will you do when your older dog gets ill but still eats and seems to enjoy himself. This was what happened to us. One night, his back legs just gave out and he could not get up. I took him to an emergency vet and he said he could give him tests to see what the issue is. His advice is one that I strongly agree with. At 14 he reached his lifespan and it would not be fair to bring him home if he could not walk. And it would not be fair to put him through all these test when all it will do is prolong his issues. The vet said the most you could probably get is a year after spending a lot of money. Other than not being able to get up that night, he still seemed content (which was very hard).

I chose to put him to sleep, but it was the hardest thing I had to do and I miss him very much. One day I may get another dog, but for now, I'm missing my best friend badly.
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Nestegg_User
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by Nestegg_User » Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:07 am

On this thread, while I did see the mention of a dog causing one not to be able to rent a location; one also needs to consider the costs for those who own their home--for a dog that includes the cost of a fence in many cases. Out here it's virtually mandatory due to the many predators ( mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes) as well as other dogs that run around and may attack ours. ( for small dogs, the occasional large predator birds, like eagles, ospreys, and hawk, have taken their share. )

The difficulty with getting "pet friendly " motels cannot be understated--especially in some areas like FL coast.

Our one dog at 13 hasn't needed anything other than routine vet; while the other has had some issues, although nothing like that cited above, with the largest being just short of 1k. Both are mixed rescues.

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stemikger
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Re: The True Cost of Owning a Dog

Post by stemikger » Wed Dec 21, 2016 7:36 am

MrNewEngland wrote:Louis CK once said something like "when you get a dog you're basically planning on being sad in about 10 years".
Tell me about it. Like I said in a previous post my 14 year old dog passed two weeks ago and man am I taking it hard. I lost my Dad when I was a kid and many other people in my life, but the loss of this dog seems just as bad, if not worse.

On a side note, I saw Louis CK last week at Madison Square Garden. Man he was funny. Shocking but Funny.
Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

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