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Unexpected Costs for New Puppy Parents

puppy costsEverybody wants a puppy! Who can resist those soulful eyes and wagging tail? But before we get a dog, we need to know the costs so we can plan to give him the best home and care. Puppies ain't cheap!

Let's talk about the real expenses of a puppy's first year. First, there is the cost of the puppy which depends on the source - reputable breeders, backyard breeders, shelters, friends and family, those found on the street, and those advertised "free to a good home."

The initial cost from a reputable breeder is the most expensive initial option since they generally charge $1,000, or more, for their puppies. Many reputable breeders do their best to breed dogs that are structurally sound and do not breed dogs with inherited medical problems such as those relating to hips, eyes, heart, skin, etc. Not only do they test for those issues, but they give a guarantee that the puppy is free from those medical defects. No other puppy source give that kind of a guarantee, which can literally be worth its weight in gold. You may wind up paying thousands of dollars for a medical problem.

Next are the initial veterinary costs covering puppy shots, fecal testing for worms and parasites, deworming, vitamins, flea and heartworm meds, and spaying and neutering, which will start, conservatively, at $500, depending on your geographic area.

puppy gear costsNow for initial product costs - bowls, collar, leash, grooming supplies, potty training and cleanup supplies, crate and/or pen and/or gates, toys, and bed, which will run an additional $300+.

Then the ongoing costs such as food and treats, , vitamins and supplements, flea and heartworm meds, and grooming, which is dependent on the size of your dog and the length of his coat. Those costs are conservatively $50/month. If you think you will save money by getting an inexpensive food, think again. The few pennies that you save may result in hundreds if not thousands of dollars in veterinary bills. If you take your puppy to a groomer, that will run $25+ for each visit.

And for other costs - puppies always destroy something, whether it's your shoes, your yard, furniture, or the rug. Expect that cost to be a minimum of $100.

Wcost of owning a puppye're already up to a minimum of $1,400 for just the basics without taking into account emergencies, pet insurance (which I recommend), kennels/dog walkers/boarding fees, rug/yard cleaning fees and/or apartment cleaning deposits or pet fees, dog training (which I also highly recommend because it will save you time and money in the long run), waste disposal and/or additional potty and cleanup supplies, routine veterinary care, more toys, and miscellaneous expenses such as sweaters, books, car accessories, lawn care, furniture covers, etc. Budget for these ongoing expenses at about $50/month. That brings the total for the first year to a minimum of $2,100. Phew!

And this amount is for a medium size puppy. If you have a larger or smaller puppy, the expenses will likely be more because smaller puppies tend to have a bit more veterinary bills - and larger ones eat a heck of a lot more!

Additionally, we have not even talked about the time considerations, which can run from 1-3 hours per day. The bottom line is that having a puppy is not something to be taken lightly, but it should not dissuade anyone from getting a puppy because they are very special since they are only young once. Be sure to take lots of pictures!

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