Getting a dog is something many of us have on our bucket list, and it’s a big milestone for many young adults. In addition to building responsibility and self-discipline, dogs are the most loyal, affectionate companions you’ll ever have in your life.
If you’re ever struggling with mental health issues, a dog can ease some of your symptoms and give you a source of purpose and solace that can be hard to come by with your fellow humans. But as a future puppy parent, you obviously want to give your dog the best in life. Just like you budget for a baby, you should sit down and assess your finances before adding a new pet to your family. Read on to discover the cost of raising a dog, how much money you’ll need and how to factor pet care into your budget.
How Much Does It Cost to Have a Dog?
Monthly expenses will vary depending on your dog’s age, size and medical needs. But there are some common costs to owning any canine that you’ll want to keep in mind. These are:
- Food and supplies
- Pet grooming expenses
- Training and/or doggy daycare
- Dog Walking services
- Prescription medication
- Pet insurance
- Pet rent fees
If you own a home, then you won’t have to worry about paying additional rent for your dog. But if you are a tenant, then you’ll likely have to either put down a pet deposit or pay an additional monthly fee per four-legged friend in your apartment. Food for a dog costs between $20 to $60 a month, which translates to around $200 to $720 a year.
You’ll also have to consider whether your pet develops any medical conditions that require special food. Just like you can’t predict a child’s allergies or future dietary needs, you don’t know whether your dog might need special care in the future. They could also have health problems like diabetes that require routine medicine. You should be prepared for the possibility of having to spend an additional $150 a month for pet insurance, medication and specialized food.
How Much You Need to Put Away
Check out a new puppy supply checklist to get an idea of what you’ll need to spend before bringing your furry friend home. Then, calculate their average monthly care cost and factor it into your monthly budget. You might be worried that it’s too much on top of your other demanding bills like student loan debt. If that’s the case, consider refinancing your student loans with a private lender to free up room in your budget without falling behind on payments.
Refinancing student loan debt could help you work the payment into your budget, giving you more financial freedom to pay for your pet without a problem. It’s a good idea to have at least $500 set aside for vet bills, vaccinations and initial care before bringing your dog home. You’ll also have to consider whether you plan to buy a puppy from a reputable breeder or adopt one from your local animal shelter. It’s always best to look into adoption first; there are hundreds of animals in any given state that need a good home.
Be open to the idea of adopting a pet that’s a bit older than a puppy. Many of them are less demanding, making it easier for you to adjust to pet parenthood and train them without worrying about accidents, daycare and round-the-clock supervision.