Do you have a furry friend at home? And know how much it’s costing you?
… starting to sound like a bad daytime show theme: “Did your ex-boyfriend ditch you and his puppy-gift, leaving you with the costs? Coming up next!”
Unfortunately, that’s often how pet ownership begins – on a whim. But after reading an article on Forbes titled, My Dog’s Life Cost $36,846.24, it got me thinking how the decision to become a pet owner is like any other investment and should not be taken lightly.
The ASPCA compiled a chart outlining the costs of pet care. These costs represent the minimum for “humane care” and clearly note you should expect to pay more than what is detailed.
Using the basic information, a medium dog will cost you a minimum of $695/year not including the initial $565 start-up costs. So at a bare minimum you will spend no less than $7,500 over the course of 10 years. Upgrading to a large dog will increase that bottom line by $1,800.
Remember the ASPCA only captures the minimum for humane care. The Forbes’ author spent almost 5x those projections so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to use a 2.5x multiplier as a truer average cost. If you add this new premium, those baseline costs soar from $7,500 to $18,750.
Potential pet owner should be aware of these estimated costs next time they head to the local pet store or animal shelter, though the analysis doesn’t stop there. The author noted 70% ($25,024.29) of his dog’s total cost went to medical bills alone and nearly 65% ($16,217.49) of that amount was realized in the last 3 years of the dog’s life.
Understanding your potential pet’s breed and associated medical issues can be another significant contributor to your overall costs. Then there’s the question of if and when to terminate life. The author states their own dog lived 3 years longer than the average basset. These were also the most expensive years as far as costs are concerned. Just like an investment, when you get out can be just as important as when you get in.
Of course, this article isn’t to diminish the value of pets or support early euthanasia. Many will argue a pet’s love and companionship are priceless, while others are content with owning a fish at $35/year. The point of highlighting the costs is to prevent people from jumping in head-first and assuming responsibility for something they may not have the financial wherewithal to stand.
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