Tracking Pet Care Costs – Breaking the $1,000 Barrier

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Back in June we adopted a dog, James, from the Humane Society. Although I thought about it, I decided not to post about the costs of owning a dog until his costs broke the $1,000 barrier. I’ve never had a dog before, and I wanted to keep an open mind towards the dog and not sweat it since my wife really wanted one bad as she has had dogs all her life. I’m sure the dog lovers out there understand. But almost three months later, I like the dog a lot, and we seem to have gotten over the large initial expeditures. I’ve been tracking our pet expenses using MS Money, but haven’t actually looked at the breakdown until now.

Here are the initial costs for getting our dog (1st month):

Adoption Fee (incl. neutering, initial shots, microchip ID, temporary registration, and 1 vet visit) – $415
Crate – $40
Doggie Bed & Toys – $40
Shampoo, Dog Food, Dog Treats, Leash, Collar, Dog Brush, Dog Nail Clippers, Dog Toothpaste, Food and Water Bowls, Tags, Poop Bags – $181.48
2nd vet visit, rest of needed initial shots, 1st flea treatment – $93.98

Subtotal – $770.46

Since then:
Hi-quality Puppy food – $60
4-month pack of flea treatment – $45
Ear-cleaning solution – $12
Various treats and toys – $35.60
New flexi-leash – $23
Dog books – $21.95
Annualdog license – $20
Kennel stay – $20

Subtotal – $237.55

Grand Total – $1008.01

The good thing is that we have enough food and treats for probably another two months. And the majority of our shopping was done in mass merchandise stores like Target. I think we’re done with shots and vet visits for 6 months or so. Note that there are no charges for grooming or dog-training, I do those myself. So far he’s got ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘stay (kinda)’, ‘shake’, ‘lie down’, ‘roll over’, and ‘speak’. (Do I sound like a proud parent or what?) I’ll probably post some more later about my estimated future monthly costs, and compare with what other sites estimate them to be. Oh, and my thoughts on pet insurance.

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  1. RSS feed broken, again.
    XML Parsing Error: not well-formed
    Line Number 40, Column 121:

  2. Thanks. Again. =) Should be fixed now. Everything is breaking on me today.

    Note to self: RSS Feeds dislike quotation marks in titles as well. I need to start checking my feed after every post.

  3. Man, you are fast.
    Great work.

  4. I think I’ve spent over 1k a year on my cat, and cats cost less than dogs. I somehow got persuaded to buy her cat food that is $1.05 a can, because it doesn’t smell like ‘cat food’. Normal cat food is like .60 cents.

  5. YoungMiser says

    We do all of our dogs shots ourselves except the rabies shots (state regulation).

    Food costs about 25.00 per month
    Bones maybe 10 per month
    2 vet visits per year ave 80/visit
    (1 for rabies and then one because she got into something)
    Heart guard 1 year supply 50.00
    Frontline (this crap is expensive) 10/m

    Adds up pretty quick. Your adoption and vet fees seem pretty darn high! I adopted mine for 75.00 dollars plus i spent another 125 in vet fee’s getting her de-wormed and shots up to date…

  6. YoungMiser says

    Nevermind, i now see what kind of dog you have and can see the expense. I just adopted a mutt…hence the cheaper price.

  7. NYC Money – That is probably a smart investment, when you compare food costs vs. vet costs. I draw the line at certain raw-veggie-organic-grown-by-angels foods though. I don’t even eat like that!

    Tim – You beat me to it. Our dog is a purebreed, so the Pound charges a lot more due to demand. It makes sense though, and I was fine paying it because he was cheaper than from a breeder anyways, and it subsidizes the rest of the $100 not-as-popular dogs and increases their likelihood of being adopted.

  8. Poop bags?! You purchased poop bags for money? Use newspaper delivery bags or grocery shopping bags to save money…

  9. It was like $5 for 1500 bags in a little holder that fits right on the leash. I think it was worth it just to avoid getting caught without one. Thanks for the suggestions though!

  10. As a new dog owner I can relate. Having a dog can be expensive but the personal health benefits (walking everyday) as well as having a loyal companion happy to see you is worth every penny. There are some great pet supply websites out there which offer free shipping and have periodic discounts, i.e. Also don’t forget your local library as a source for dog books!

  11. Erin Rericha says

    Thank you for the information. I am working on convincing my husband to adopt two dogs (to always have a playmate). While I think that the emotional and health benefit of dogs offsets any costs, I can respect that my dog lover status is somewhat in conflict with our spending goals. Operating on the notion that 2 dogs doubles the cost, I have to trim $2000 from our yearly expenditures before we can find Warren and Charlie and bring them home. Nice to have a financial target.

  12. Our dog has some kinds of liver-kidney problems and we have spent over $5k just for the surgey cost.

  13. cat barrier says

    Wow, that’s a lot of money. Your pet is really lucky. 😉

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