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August 31, 2021

How much does the family dog really cost?

A lot of people I know (but not me) have a dog, so they really can't cost that much, right?

Dog Of course they do, even if most pet owners view those dollars as nothing compared to the joy their charges bring.

According to the ASPCA, the estimated expenses for the first year of dog ownership range from $1,314 to $1,843, which includes food, health insurance and other things like beds, dishes and crates.  Recent reports from the Ontario Veterinary Association peg the numbers even higher in Canada ($1,840 annually for a 40-pound dog).

Actually, that’s really on the low end since it doesn’t include the cost of adopting or buying the dog, which can range from a couple of hundred dollars to ten times that for some purebred breeds.

Also not included are recurring costs like daycare, which can range in price from $30 to $40 daily, and grooming which runs another $40 a trip depending on the location, services, and type of dog.

And that’s assuming the animal is healthy.

According to vet Chris Bern the total annual cost of basic preventative canine care should come in somewhere between $585-$965 annually, excluding special diets or extra medical expenses. These too are minimal estimates as many dog owners have stories of unexpected medical bills that run into the thousands.

In addition to such basic medical costs, Bern recommends having an emergency fund of at least $500 that you don’t touch for any reason other than problems with your do, which is funny since most people don’t even have that setup for themselves.

Based on these estimates, owning a small dog for its lifetime could cost at least $14,000, and a larger model could come in around $20,000, it seems.

Does this sound right to you? Have you discovered ways of keeping these costs down without affecting your pet's quality of life?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...