Author Topic: how much does owning a dog cost?  (Read 8594 times)

Midcenturymater

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how much does owning a dog cost?
« on: December 31, 2015, 09:18:36 PM »
Any dog owners able to share typical feeding costs after initial fees for vaccines and neutering?

What food bill are we looking at for a bigger dog like a lab or golden retriever compared with a smaller say 10 pound dog?

What kind of scary vet bills have you had and do you recommend dog insurance?

We are animal lovers with a yard and dog park a mile from the house but I will return to work later this year so dog would be alone from 8 till 3 5 days a week.

Thank you! I know they are a luxury but dogs have always upped my quality of life whenever I have lived with them.

lbmustache

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 09:49:00 PM »
I think there was a recent thread on this, I will try to find it for you.

Smaller dogs tend to be cheaper because most things are done by weight (vet visits, flea medicine, food, etc.).

I have an ~12lb dog. I feed her expensive, freeze-dried dog food - but I mix it with a high quality kibble to get more mileage out of the expensive food. I usually feed one of these: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=stella+and+chewy%27s+freeze+dried&sprefix=stella+and+ch%2Caps%2C211 mixed with one of these: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_5?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=fromm+dog+food&sprefix=fromm%2Caps%2C191&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afromm+dog+food.

I would say I spend about $25 a month on food. Again, small dog!

Have had no scary vet bills thus far, knock on wood. I think a high quality food plus a high quality of life goes a long way. The only thing that was pricey was a dental cleaning plus teeth removal (I adopted her from the shelter, no idea how her previous owners treated her) which was around $350. I've had her for 5 years, so that cost was nominal, really.

lbmustache

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kudy

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2015, 10:25:23 PM »
My SO's friend had a $2,500 vet bill this week. Unfortunately, it's hard to know if a pet will have issues/complications. It's more likely that they have expensive ailments as they age.

My dog is 8 now, and has cost little more than $20/month for food. There's been the occasional vet visit over the years, but never more than a few hundred dollars. I save $75 per month toward vet expenses as he ages (basically self insuring).

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2015, 10:56:03 PM »
Thanks. Have read that entire thread and it was very informative.

So I need to research pet insurance....I wonder why everyone does not do that.

I also th I.k.maybe we shod try fostering for a little to ensure no one is allergic and that we are compatible with the breed we choose. Most likely to be a mut as that is what the humane society seem to have most of.

I guess we cod offer to pet sit too. I wonder if we have to be insured to do that.....
Thanks everyone.

Shiny

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2016, 06:12:01 AM »
Our dog is a Beagle/Shepherd mix. He was a rescue dog. The monthly cost for food and treats is around $40.00. He has had two knee surgeries that cost $1500.00 each. Also, we moved a few hours from family and friends so if we go away we have Kennel costs. Yearly visits can run a couple hundred. Even with the costs it's been totally worth it. He was four months old when we got him and will be eleven in a few months.

alyxmj

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2016, 06:13:40 AM »
I have a 70lb border collie and 2 mini pinschers (okay a 12lb mini pinscher and a 30lb "mini" pinscher).

Between the 3 of them we spent about 75 a month a food alone, but get a fairly pricey brand because it simply works better for them. On several cheaper brands they were having digestive issues and their coats were obviously not as healthy.

Vet costs vary depending on the vet. It's good to have a regular vet that you see at least yearly (twice yearly is recommended) for checkups, generally in the $25-$40 range per visit. For routine shots we do the petco/vetco clinics (prices on their website). It can be a bit of a wait time but it's significantly cheaper than most vet offices. That being said, sometimes its better to just have everything recorded in one place in case something happens.

And things do happen... Random freak accidents minor and major occur. Biting bees, broken toe tails, bowel obstruction from eating things they shouldn't, possible poisonings leading to kidney failure... You definitely need a specific dog savings fund for just in case. As for pet health insurance the best advice I read, and running the numbers after years of vet visits I agree with, is that unless your pet has a terminal condition and you're going to the vet a lot, insurance isn't worth it. It is better to put the money you would have spent on the insurance monthly into a savings account to use when you need. Even with the kidney failure, it would have cost me more to pay for insurance over the years than it has to just pay it out of pocket.

Then you have your basics like licensing, dog park permits (if your area requires them), leashes, harnesses/collars, treats, chews, crates, toys, more chews, pet sitting if you want to go on vacation, new shoes when you run out of chews... And the other resources you would need to put in, time and energy in training, walking, feeding, cleaning up after them.

But if you let them snuggle you will save quite a bit on heating costs ;)

Overall I would say about $100 a month for the life of the dog is a decent estimate. I honestly just keep a separate acct for the dogs and I put $300 a month in (again, 3 dogs). All their food, toys, medical comes out of this so I may not spend that much in a month, but it is there if something happens and they do need an emergency visit.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 06:18:41 AM by alyxmj »

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2016, 07:19:11 AM »
Thank you! Lots to research.


My bvery first jobsjfvMjobsj fire cell is playing up and I can't delete what up type. Sorry.annoying to read I know.




My very first job at 13 was to look after two dogs....a tiny Chihuahua and a Hungarian sheep dog.
I got $50 a week.

What I actually g it was paid to be intensely happy.
I cried when those dogs went back to their owner after my half a year pet sitting.

What are pinschers like? There is a dashing Pinochet at the local dog rescue. I wonder if that is a good breed with a 4 and 6 year old???

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 07:20:51 AM »
That would be a daschund

puncherpdb.


pincher

😁

Jakejake

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2016, 07:30:46 AM »
Items to budget for: A fence if you need one. Boarding the dog if you travel without it. Replacing the carpeting in your house if house-training is an issue. Either replacing all the drywall in your living room, or taking a loss on the sale of your house if the dog is left home alone and gets bored one day and eats the walls.

My dog ate the living room walls, but I maybe got off easy. When I was a kid, our awesomely nice collie was left home alone while we went grocery shopping - but accidentally got closed into the bathroom. It did not want to be there. So it ate its way out - through the wall into the adjoining bedroom.

Not saying that WILL happen to your house, just saying you need to have the financial cushion to be able to deal with it on the off chance that it does.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 07:53:14 AM by Jakejake »

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2016, 07:51:06 AM »
Wow. Didn't think of that.
On the plus side I just learnt how to dry wall on YouTube as oa

As I had to break into the wall to access a pipe with a leak, so I can tell you you can repair dry wall pretty cheat and pretty quickly. S

The fence we have. We don't expect to be travelling much apart from the odd 25$ a night camping g trip to Malibu....our mortgage is taking 60 per cent of our one wage right now, so we have no choice but to live on a very small budget.
I do have an emergency 15 k tucked away in the UK......for house issues. But I know this is a paltry amount. As soon as I start work we intend to save my entire salary. Maybe we shod wait till I have an income.......

alyxmj

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2016, 07:52:18 AM »
The mini pinschers I've had have varied greatly in personality, and I've had a lot at this point. Long story not-so-short we adopted 2 min pins and found out that one was already pregnant. Enter 5 puppies. We also found out that the mother came with ring worm so could not find homes for the puppies til it was eradicated completely. We had them 7 months, with the 2 parents, and the border collie. And it turns out that because ring worm is so contagious no vet would neuter them til it was eradicated. Dog goes into heat again and enter 5 more puppies. Throw 3 kids in the mix and we had a very full and stressful house for a year. xD

In the end we kept 2 from the first litter - one because everyone loved her and the other because at some point he had broken his leg and we were worried about finding a home with proper care for him. When I moved recently we tried to rehome all 4 min pins, 2 we found homes for and 2 we didn't and luckily my new housing situation decided to put up with the extra dogs.

Of the 4 that I had:
Misty (mom): was a cranky old lady who just wanted to lounge around, hated walks, and got cranky whenever the border collie wanted to play with me because he would make too much noise for her
Skeeter (dad): is completely psychotic. he is one that we still have because he has small dog syndrome and bad. If you're sitting he will gladly come snuggle but if you stand up he will instantly decide you are the enemy and bark like crazy
Patch: was teeny for the breed and liked to jump 3 ft gates, get on the table, get on the desk, jump in any lap that had an inch of space open, crawl under fences...
Castiel: huge for the breed and I'm sure the broken leg doesn't help, though he still runs around like crazy, luckily without pain, but it looks really painful >.< He loves to snuggle and spent 3000 miles on my lap while i was driving a uhaul because it was safer than trying to fight him (and no space for crates :/ )

Overall, mini pinschers are often referred to as the king of small dog breeds. They are fairly proud and often have a big dog personality. All the ones I have had have been super snuggly though. Being small and short hair though, they do get cold easily and will gladly find a way into your blankets if you're not careful. It can also make potty training outside difficult... esp in Wisconsin in the winter...

They probably aren't great for kids that small though. Being small dogs they are easily breakable, depending on how rambunctious your kids are they could accidentally hurt the dog.

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2016, 08:01:56 AM »
Amazing lyricslAmazi informative.


This cell....I need r to replace.....I can't correct anything I type!!!!



So informative. Thank you.

This dog us a cross with a dashing which are stickier animals so it says it is not as fragile as a pitcher.pincher.

But our 4 year old has the capacity to be overly affectionate so I need to consider that potential to hurt a delicate breed by accident.
I wonder what breed would be good with young kids. I can't go too big as I remember the two hour walks we had to do for our family spaniel.....I want a lower exercise needing breed. The dog will get 2(   e
39) 30 min walks a day I reckon.

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2016, 08:02:54 AM »
Dashing!!!Daschund!!!
Stockier not stickier!!!

little_brown_dog

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2016, 08:05:18 AM »
Dogs can be cheap or expensive...really hit or miss depending on how you luck out with vet bills. Our dog has chronic knee problems and has required 3 reconstructive surgeries. Total cost over his lifetime for his knees (surgery, meds, diagnostic and follow up visits, xrays, physical therapy) has cost us over 12 grand. Totally worth it, but still very expensive.
If you are like most people and your dog isn't a medical trainwreck, you can expect to pay about $35/mo for food, and about $120-$150 every 6 months for flea and heart worm preventative medicines. Annual wellness checkups around here run about $200.
I would budget a couple grand a year for a dog to be on the safe side.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 08:07:46 AM by little_brown_dog »

alyxmj

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2016, 08:08:11 AM »
I would check out http://www.akc.org/find-a-match/#slide1 and http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html to look for possible breeds. They can help select one based on living circumstances and what kind of attributes you want. Though while there are some general traits between breeds every individual dog will be different and may not conform to the breed standard.

edit: accidently put same link twice xD fixed

spruce

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2016, 08:15:29 AM »
We have two 50lb dogs, both rescues from the local shelter. I've had the oldest for 4.5 years (she's 5), and our second for two years (he's 3).

For two dogs I think our costs average out to $100/mo. We spend ~$55/mo on high-quality grain-free kibble. Annual vet visits maybe $200-300. Our vet offers a free vaccines for life program which helps save money. We don't buy toys, just give them each a Nylabone which lasts maybe a year, tennis balls, and sticks from the yard. Our family watches them when we're out of town. Have never had any health issues, except for a knee issue my older dog had one year. Vet recommended rest and glucosamine before any surgery, and after about 3 months she was good as new, no surgery needed. I looked into pet insurance a long time ago, but decided I'd rather just keep a savings account that I can earn interest on. So far have  never needed it, but as they age we'll likely start seeing issues.

We crate train our dogs and have never had them destroy anything in the house (they're in their crates when we're not home).

Dogs do cost money but the cuteness and snuggles and companionship is well worth it. We've found having two dogs is easier and only marginally more expensive than having one (and at least three times as much fun ;)).

Rightflyer

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2016, 09:04:50 AM »
Our 67lb Border Collie cross goes through about $40 worth of food a month. She gets good quality kibble supplemented with table scraps (veggies and meat).

Advantix and vet bills come to around $300 a year.

(Worth every penny!)

RetiredAt63

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2016, 10:28:37 AM »
It is really important to pick the right dog for your family.  What size feels right?  What energy level is right?  What temperament will fit in well?  How much grooming are you willing to do?  If the dog doesn't fit in well with your family, you will resent every $1 you spend on it - if it fits well, the costs will just be part of family costs.  Which, being a good mustachian, you will still track  ;-)  Oh, and be sure to get a good crate, it is an essential part of training and general life.  I don't see bargains on Kijiji, crates last a long time and so don't go down in value much.

I find a lot of the web sites that suggest a breed don't do that well - they certainly never give me a suggestion on a breed that I would want to have!  If you go for a mix but know a breed that you like, mixes tend to behave like the parent breed they most resemble (note I said "tend", there are no guarantees).  I personally like purebreds (from a responsible breeder), because I can see the parents, I can see the health records, and I know the general temperament of the breed.  There are also many breed-specific rescues so you can get a dog of a breed you like, that has been fostered by people who know the breed and had its health and temperament evaluated, and the rescue organization wants to make sure the dog and the family are a good match.

I see a trend these days to small dogs, but there are lots of middle and large breeds that make great pets. 

If you have the right dog, it will add so much to your life - mine is not the breed that most people would think I would have, but she is the third dog of this breed I have had, I love them.  Expensive to groom?  Yes, but not for me, because I do it myself, and trim nails myself.  We have done dog agility together (not a breed known for this), we have tested for herding instinct (not a breed well known for this), and she is a therapy dog (not a breed known for this).  So much depends on your training of the dog and day-to-day interaction with the dog.

MrsPete

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2016, 11:17:09 AM »
Think of pet costs in two phases:  Initial adoption phase ... and then maintenance phase. 

When we got our dog two summers ago, I'd say we spent over $500 over the course of a couple months:  Adoption fees, first vet bills, neutering, dog bed, a second dog bed after he ate the first one, collar and leashes, obedience class -- I was surprised at how much we spent in those first months.  A new dog "costs" in terms of time too.  Our fellow caught onto house training quite quickly -- I'll say just over a week -- but we worked at it pretty constantly.  I'm glad I wasn't working while we were helping him adapt to his new home.

However, now we're spending about $35 every two months for a big bag of good quality food ... and a few treats and incidentals, so I'd say it's $25-30 per month ... and $250 for his yearly check up in June, which includes a year's worth of heart worm prevention and flea medicines (I prefer to buy it a year at a time and not have to think about it in between).  We don't skimp on his food, and he now is very healthy, active and happy -- he has improved significantly since we brought him home and improved his diet. 

When we had our old 70-lb dog, she ate way more food.  She also had some medical issues in her last months of life, which were pricey. 

To choose a low-cost dog, here's what I do:

- Choose a rescue dog; you may have to shop around /wait a while, but you can get pretty much any dog you want through a rescue ... and morally it's the right thing to do.

- Choose a small dog.  Not only will it eat less ... but medicines, grooming, and equipment cost less, and if you need to board the dog, it'll cost less.  We are thrilled with our dog's 25 lb size -- he's not a tiny thing, so he isn't dainty looking, and he can go out into the back yard.  We're the boss of our 25 lb dog ... our neighbor, a young guy in good shape, is NOT the boss of his three full-sized German shepherds -- I see him and his girlfriend out being walked by the dogs -- and it scares me a little.

- Choose a short-haired dog that you can bathe at home.  A "pouffy dog" that requires grooming every couple months will cost you big bucks.  I do pay $12 for my dog's nails to be trimmed about every two months because I'm so afraid of cutting him ... and because he hates it so much. 


icemodeled

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2016, 12:16:43 PM »
Our baby is a 3 year old mini Australian shepherd. We spend $31 for a 40lb bag of diamond natural food which lasts 2 months. Average vet bills a month for routine shots and exam is about $200. We also spend about $150 on flea/heartworm pills. We normally get a rebate back though, so little less. Thankfully so far he has been healthy. Once we had to take him in after hours due to a sudden illness, it was very bad, but it was $300 or less. We bathe, trim nails and hair ourself so the cost is minimal. Also, we havent ever had to board him at the kennel because my parents watch him for free and we do the same for them. Treats and toys are very low cost also. He doesnt chew much so many toys last a long long time. No more then $20 a year in treats and toys. Biggest cost will be medical issues and exams, shots ect. Also if you plan to have grooming done that can add up as well.

best thing is to research breeds first and see what would work best for you. Size, temper, maintenance, and common health issues. Also the adoption fees and upfront costs could be a bit pricey at first. Ours was $500 or so upfront witheverything including first exam and all. We also had additional expenses like buying a cage (he no longer needs now) and leash, bowls ect.

lbmustache

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2016, 12:26:36 PM »
Average vet bills a month for routine shots and exam is about $200.


Is this a typo??? I think I spend less than that a year... only shots I get are bordatella (maybe $10, $15 every 6 months). Rabies, DPPP are every 3 years.

RetiredAt63

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2016, 12:51:32 PM »
What Mrs. Pete said, definitely.  And sorry this got long, but there is a lot that goes into choosing a dog.  A "forever" dog, not a "drop off at the pound when it is inconvenient or driving the family crazy" dog.

Summary: don't fall for cute, think about it!!!

Health - If the dog is old enough and a breed that has hip issues, having the hips checked can save a lot of grief and expense.  A breed prone to cataracts?  Get the eyes checked.  Ear shape - floppy ears get more ear infections, and the longer the floppy part, the more likely the ear infection.  Face shape - flat faced dogs have breathing problems, plus you get to listen to them snore at night.  Starting with a healthy dog (or cat, or whatever) makes a huge difference down the road.

Mrs. Pete's neighbors have made three obvious mistakes - too many dogs for the people, too big a dog for the level of training, and not enough training - those are smart dogs that learn to heel easily, and until they do a Gentle Leader or Halti is a good investment.  My dog (45 lbs.) would be a pain to walk without one, her basic take on life is "ooh, something interesting, must check it out" - people, animals, smells by the side of the road, whatever.

Not totally sure about the "pouffy" aspect" and bathing - mine gets 2 baths a year whether she needs them or not.  But I comb a lot, and I am willing to live with the loose hair.  Short straight dog hair (think Labrador Retriever) sticks in everything and is hard to remove (I have a friend with 2 Labs - she loves them, but acknowledges we both have dog hair shedding problems, just different problems).  Really fluffy - a groomer can do a "poop chute" that doesn't show, but keeps them clean.  Nails - depends on how fast they grow, I find I trim every week.  If you can hear a nail click on a hard floor, that nail is too long.  Bribes work with training the dog to cooperate - mine heads straight for the treat jar after nails, but she doesn't fight me while I trim them, so it is a good trade.  Grooming is a trade-off - you do it, it takes time and effort, but can be a bonding time with the dog.

OP, you didn't say if you have had dogs before - if you haven't (didn't grow up with them) an "easy" breed is best, and easy refers to temperament.  Golden Retrievers and Labs are popular for a reason.  Smaller dogs - Keeshonds, Papillons (small, cute, smart, not yappy).  One of the nicest small retrievers out there is the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, but you would need to go to rescue, you won't find those at a shelter.  Sweet and small and not too bright and a fair bit of grooming - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Stanley Coren called his a "love sponge".

Talk with a good trainer about breed temperaments, they see the good and the bad.


Think of pet costs in two phases:  Initial adoption phase ... and then maintenance phase. 

When we got our dog two summers ago, I'd say we spent over $500 over the course of a couple months:  Adoption fees, first vet bills, neutering, dog bed, a second dog bed after he ate the first one, collar and leashes, obedience class -- I was surprised at how much we spent in those first months.  A new dog "costs" in terms of time too.  Our fellow caught onto house training quite quickly -- I'll say just over a week -- but we worked at it pretty constantly.  I'm glad I wasn't working while we were helping him adapt to his new home.

However, now we're spending about $35 every two months for a big bag of good quality food ... and a few treats and incidentals, so I'd say it's $25-30 per month ... and $250 for his yearly check up in June, which includes a year's worth of heart worm prevention and flea medicines (I prefer to buy it a year at a time and not have to think about it in between).  We don't skimp on his food, and he now is very healthy, active and happy -- he has improved significantly since we brought him home and improved his diet. 

When we had our old 70-lb dog, she ate way more food.  She also had some medical issues in her last months of life, which were pricey. 

To choose a low-cost dog, here's what I do:

- Choose a rescue dog; you may have to shop around /wait a while, but you can get pretty much any dog you want through a rescue ... and morally it's the right thing to do.

- Choose a small dog.  Not only will it eat less ... but medicines, grooming, and equipment cost less, and if you need to board the dog, it'll cost less.  We are thrilled with our dog's 25 lb size -- he's not a tiny thing, so he isn't dainty looking, and he can go out into the back yard.  We're the boss of our 25 lb dog ... our neighbor, a young guy in good shape, is NOT the boss of his three full-sized German shepherds -- I see him and his girlfriend out being walked by the dogs -- and it scares me a little.

- Choose a short-haired dog that you can bathe at home.  A "pouffy dog" that requires grooming every couple months will cost you big bucks.  I do pay $12 for my dog's nails to be trimmed about every two months because I'm so afraid of cutting him ... and because he hates it so much.

Fire2025

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2016, 01:07:01 PM »
13lbs pound rescue

$175 to break her out of doggie jail, this included spay and one years shots.

Ongoing cost:
$38 per month for catastrophic health insurance.  $250 deductible/ 90% paid
$20 food and other
$175 yearly vet visit
$72.58/ month
This is split between two people.

Had a friend who always teased me about my dogs health insurance.  Her little dog jumped off a bed and ruptured a disc $3000 dollars later, now with a pre-existing condition, she doesn't laugh at me anymore.  I would have paid $550.00.  But I will say this, if I had more of a financial cushion than I do, I would maybe opt to pay for the catastrophic event out of pocket, so I could add the $228/year to my investment accounts, and will more than likely drop the insurance when I feel more flexible financially.  But $3420.00, for the life of the pet, doesn't feel all that dumb.  If your dog gets cancer that's $6000 or more.  Or a torn ACL that's about $5000, plus physical therapy.  We didn't get the physical therapy rider for our dog, she's small so the risk of ACL is a little lower. 

I never want to have to choice between my dogs life and money.  That said, this is my third dog, as an adult, and I have never had insurance before and have never had to make that choice, the last two dogs lived to 18 (stoke) and 16 (heart attack) years old and where in great health up to the end. 

Good luck with the dog, best money I spend!!!  The return (in love) on investment is way better than the market.

Kitsune

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #24 on: January 01, 2016, 01:18:40 PM »
- Choose a small dog.  Not only will it eat less ... but medicines, grooming, and equipment cost less, and if you need to board the dog, it'll cost less.  We are thrilled with our dog's 25 lb size -- he's not a tiny thing, so he isn't dainty looking, and he can go out into the back yard.  We're the boss of our 25 lb dog ... our neighbor, a young guy in good shape, is NOT the boss of his three full-sized German shepherds -- I see him and his girlfriend out being walked by the dogs -- and it scares me a little.

- Choose a short-haired dog that you can bathe at home.  A "pouffy dog" that requires grooming every couple months will cost you big bucks.  I do pay $12 for my dog's nails to be trimmed about every two months because I'm so afraid of cutting him ... and because he hates it so much.

Responding to only these two points: being in control of your dog has nothing to do with the size of dog and everything to do with the time/effort spent training them. I've met just as many nipping and yappy little hairball dogs that weren't trained because the owners thought they were small and cute and because they could just be picked up didn't bother doing any training... Ugh. So aggravating. Don't be that person, whatever your size of d. (That said, large untrained dogs are more dangerous than small ones, just via size of tooth...)

For nail cutting... They hate it at first, but if you make it a weekly ritual (petting, brushing, nails, treat), they do get used to it. My mom used to use an electric nail file on her German shepherds nails (more expensive initially, but zero nail clipping costs afterwards) because he hated it less and there was no chance of cutting him with it. Maybe that's an option for your dog?

Also get costs depend strongly on where you are. I highly recommend driving out of town to a country vet (one that also treats large animals is ideal). They tend to cost about 1/4 of the cost for the same quality of care (this held true for regular visits and tooth cleanings), and be very down-to-each about recommended treatment (fix what's fixable, administer palliative care when necessary, euthanize when it's time. Or, in other words: no chemo for cats, which is what my city vet was pushing for.)

Food question: every vet insists that the kibble sold at the vets (90$ for a large bag) is necessary to prevent health issues. The Kirkland brand (28$ for the same size bag) has super high nutrition reviews. I don't wanna be cheap and mess with my dogs health, but I also don't wanna pay extra to line the vets pockets. Does anyone have a source for the actual difference in nutritional content?
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 01:41:05 PM by Kitsune »

Fire2025

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2016, 01:34:07 PM »
Food question: every vet insists that the kibble sold at the vets (90$ for a large bag) is necessary to prevent health issues. The Kirkland brand (28$ for the same size bag) has super high nutrition reviews. I don't wanna be cheap and mess with my dogs health, but I also don't wanna pay extra to line the vets pockets. Does anyone have a source for the actual difference in nutritional content?

Also if you have a Costco card.  The Costco brand is the same ingredients as "Taste of the Wild" for a fraction of the price.

lbmustache

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2016, 01:41:26 PM »

Food question: every vet insists that the kibble sold at the vets (90$ for a large bag) is necessary to prevent health issues. The Kirkland brand (28$ for the same size bag) has super high nutrition reviews. I don't wanna be cheap and mess with my dogs health, but I also don't wanna pay extra to line the vets pockets. Does anyone have a source for the actual difference in nutritional content?

Which food does your vet sell? Mine usually sell Science Diet or another crappy brand, which based off of this bag: http://www.hillspet.com/products/sd-canine-adult-advanced-fitness-original-dry.html

Ingredients: Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal,

Dogs shouldn't really eat any kind of grains, if they do, it's recommended that they be brown rice or similar. Corns are definitely terrible and usually cause allergies.

Versus the general Kirkland Signature dog food: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/kirkland-signature-dog-food/ (can't find this on the Costco website)

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), egg product,

Dogfoodadvisor is a good place to look at the nutritional content of foods.

startingsmall

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2016, 06:43:01 PM »
Dogfoodadvisor is run by a dentist, not an individual with any knowledge of veterinary medicine.

As a veterinarian who works in a practice that does not sell food, I typically recommend Purina ProPlan, Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Eukanuba. The large companies employ more DVM/PhD-trained nutritionists and exercise better quality control. If that's too expensive, then I tell clients to feed whatever their pet does best on. My favorite grocery store brands are Iams and Purina One, but I also see plenty of dogs do well on Kirklands and other brands.

Corn does not 'cause' allergies. Neither does wheat. Dogs who are allergy-prone can develop allergies to anything they are being fed (so people who start their dogs on expensive salmon-and-rice foods as puppies often end up with salmon-allergic dogs), but it's usually the protein source. The most common allergens are beef and chicken, not because they're inherently evil but because most dogs are exposed to them.

Also, low-cost veterinarians do not typically provide the same level of care as a higher-cost vet. I've worked in both environments. At the low-cost clinic that I worked at before vet school, dental cleanings were performed by untrained high school students under injectable anesthetic only... no endotracheal tube (meaning fluid/debris can drain into the lungs), no IV catheter (which means no access in case of emergency), and no anesthetic monitors. At my current practice, we place an IV catheter and run fluids throughout the entire procedure, place an endotracheal tube to deliver gas anesthesia and prevent aspiration, and have all patients hooked up to a number of monitors (pulse oximeter, blood pressure, ECG, temperature every 5 minutes, etc). It's fine to get cheap care, as long as you realize that you're getting what you pay for and there IS a significant difference.

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #28 on: January 01, 2016, 11:43:12 PM »
Thanks so much everyone. So many good pointers.
I grew up with a spaniel. Then we rescued a king Charles from the senior home my mum worked in as he had hip problems. That dog was so devoted to my mum.then my first teenage job was looking after a Chihuahua and a Hungarian sheepdog. I loved the latter as it was so loyal to me. I have never seen that breed here in the usa.

We are totally getting a rescue.
However I  thinking we should foster for a month or so, help out a shelter and check neither of our kids are allergic. Our son does have a severe food allergy.

The kids really want a puppy of course but it will be a rescue pup.

I think the insurance sounds worthwhile.
The kids are beyond excited and have been talking about it so sweetly today. They keep seeing pictures of rescue dogs online and saying. That one is definitely lonely. She is crying.
My husband was brought up around greyhounds which we love  but they are so huge.

I think we will go small but trying to avoid the lap yappers. There are a lot of Chihuahua mixes that get handed in here. You can even have them spayed for free, such is the effort to reduce the population of them.
I am trying to work out why so many end up in shelters. Maybe people think them cute then realise even a small dog is work every day, as well as joy


Leaning towards a daschund Chihuahua mix. They look a bit like gremlins with big bat like ears when grown but rarely over 25 pounds.

Trying to just reign in everyone's excitement so we act rationally.

Great input everyone.



DeltaBond

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2016, 05:50:02 AM »
I have a mini-pinsher/chihuahua mix, and he's about 15 lbs now.  I have 4 dogs of differing breeds, and the min pin is the calmest one.   If you take the time to train the dogs, they don't get the "small dog syndrome".  A friend of mine has 2 min pins, she didn't bother training them to sit for treats and not jump, and they are absolutely psychotic.  How a dog acts has a lot to do with their owner and how much time they have spent with the dog, and how much effort is put in to training them.  It isn't that difficult, you just have to have the patience to wait for them to do what you're wanting those first few times, and after that its basically just consistency.

One of my dogs is part Coon Hound -  said to be untrainable... but she sits for treats and is extremely well behaved overall.  Breeds have their personalities, but dogs are still dogs, and all are trainable.

Oh, and how they act inside your house when you're not around, well, that's kind of a crap shoot... you mentioned you're going to be gone 8 hrs a day, but you have a yard for a dog.  I would highly recommend getting more than one.  Dogs are social, and having only one dog isn't the best thing for the dog in most cases.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 05:52:00 AM by DeltaBond »

Jakejake

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2016, 06:58:23 AM »
Since you mentioned fostering for a bit and checking for allergies, I want to add in that you should listen for an increase in snoring. My husband has a cat allergy and I had a cat when we got married. Naturally it just lived forever (19 years), despite being an indoors/outdoors car who liked sunning herself in the middle of the street in front of my house. Anyway, I didn't realize until she finally died how much the allergy was affected the quality of life for both of us. My husband's snoring almost stopped when we got rid of her - so it wasn't just "I feel congested" - it was affecting his sleep, which  in turn affects long term health. And his snoring affected my sleep - and my health.

Another thing to consider is where the dog will be while you are at work. Are you going to keep it loose in the house? Caged? Outside for 8 hours a day, potentially barking and annoying the neighbors? I've got one neighbor who does that. I can't tell you how much I resent being woken up at 8am on a day off because their dog has decided to bark for a half hour or more.

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2016, 09:18:58 AM »
Thanks Jake. Yes I agree. Great points.
No if one of us is allergic that will be a deal breaker. No dog will be happening. We are hoping the rescue group will allow us a two week trial as many do, simply for allergies. I am a stay home mum for another 8 months but when I return to work doggy will be in the house 9 till 3 each day. I reached out to the rescue to check this last night. Is the hybrid we are interested in a dog that can be alone 3 to 4 short days a week?
I am sure people do this
 Sometimes our spaniel did 6 hour days home alone as my parents worked shifts.

But has anyone any insight on that angle?
I would not want to be unfair on a dog just to fulfil our needs. But surely it is not just people who are at home who have dogs?
Thank you!

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2016, 09:20:26 AM »
Depressing but practical thought....how much dies it cost to euthanize a small dog if it got critically ill or injured?

Jakejake

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2016, 10:05:33 AM »
I can only speak to cats on that point, but my experience is that the cost of putting an animal to sleep is not - on its own - all that much. But even when you know the animal is at its end, the vet might guilt you into "doing everything possible" - in other words, paying thousands of dollars for end of life care with no real chance of recovery. In our house we were at the point with the 19 year old cat where we knew it was the end, the cat was crapping and peeing and vomiting all over the house, having seizures, etc. We were paying for meds, kept suggesting to the vet it was time to put it down, and he would act like he didn't hear us.

Then I made the mistake of mentioning to my kid that I was going to put it down because I can't spend hours every single f'ing day cleaning shit and vomit from my carpet, and if it went on much longer I was going to have to pay thousands to replace the carpet, plus the thousand in vet bills, for a 19 year old cat that we got as a feral kitten to begin with, and at this point could barely hold her head up straight or eat.  She blocked out everything about the cat not having any quality of life, and only heard "we want to kill the cat because of our carpeting" and had a melt down. Can't really explain the extent of it, except to say that she's a vegan who has worked in a cat shelter - you can fill in the rest.

Anyway the cost of euthanizing an animal, if you look it up, only tells a small portion of the real cost.

MrsPete

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2016, 02:27:46 PM »
Mrs. Pete's neighbors have made three obvious mistakes - too many dogs for the people, too big a dog for the level of training, and not enough training
Oh, I totally agree -- especially about the not enough training part.  And if you're going to choose a big, powerful dog, it's your responsibility to be sure you can control him.  Common sense says you should do that while he's still a small, easy-to-control pup. 

One of the guys in our obedience class (open to all breeds and sizes) had a South African Mastiff.  Beautiful dog, but 130 pounds and still growing -- I wouldn't have wanted him personally.  We all laughed when the owner asked this question: "The dog wants to sleep on my bed, and right now I can make him get off, but the day is coming when I won't be able to do that -- how do I train him out of this behavior now?" But even as we laughed, we all knew he was wise to ask the question while he still had a possibility of enforcing discipline.

$175 to break her out of doggie jail, this included spay and one years shots.
This is going to vary based upon your location and specific rescue.  I paid $75 for our dog's adoption, which included basic puppy shots (he still needed a couple more at the vet) and a coupon for a spay-neuter only if done within 30 days at the county's spay-neuter clinic.  I also had to sign something promising to have him neutered, which -- obviously -- is the right choice unless you have a dog worth breeding. 

We are totally getting a rescue.
However I  thinking we should foster for a month or so, help out a shelter and check neither of our kids are allergic. Our son does have a severe food allergy.
Let me put another thought into your mind.  When we rescued our pup, I made one hard-and-fast rule, which my daughter thought was cruel:  I told her that we'd adopt the dog, and he had to go straight to the vet -- and if he had heart worms, he had to go back to the shelter immediately.  Heart worms are very expensive to treat and the treatment doesn't always work -- I wasn't willing to take it on for a brand-new dog, whom we didn't yet love.  Now that he's part of the family, we are providing him with a healthy lifestyle, and IF he were to become ill, we'd take on the expense of treatment ... but with all the healthy dogs in shelters, I wasn't going to take on one with heart worms.  His adoption fee was non-refundable, but I would've walked away from the $75. 

Fortunately for us, he was heart worm free. 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 02:35:03 PM by MrsPete »

Cassie

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #35 on: January 02, 2016, 03:57:45 PM »
WE have 4 old dogs and the vet bills have gotten crazy-ages 10-18. WE would never do chemo but they all are on meds for hip pain, etc-different problems for different dogs.  WE have spent thousands of dollars thru the years. I would never have more then 1 or 2 dogs again.  NOthing has been so big that I would put them to sleep for but what happens is that you start treating a condition and fairly soon you realize over a period of months that you have spent a lot of $.  I never really thought about what would happen when they all got old. Good thing we can afford it.  Having said that they have brought me a ton of love and fun ,etc and I would never be without a dog but I would never have this many again either.

MrsStubble

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #36 on: January 02, 2016, 04:26:47 PM »
Currently have a 16lb beagle - 5 years old.  She was a rescue and we've had her for 3 years.  She costs us $1100 a year in vet bills and food.  (Blue Buffalo, baby carrots, and greenies when her breath is rancid).  This has been consistent for us and this is the 3rd dog we've owned from a young age.   My two older were a pug and a little poodle (allergy-safe), both which lived to be almost 20. Neither ever cost us over $1500 a year even with 2 surgeries. Plus being dog people has helped us meet other dog-friendly friends so we've never had to pay for dog sitting when we've traveled.  We share the sitting duties with our friends and support each other for free. 

What i'd say if that if you are thinking about a dog, be smart about what you get and why.  Do research. Some breads are disease/injury heavy and you need to come into ownership with your eyes open to the potential costs.  It's possible to have happy healthy dogs for little money with a little extra effort and care, even if you get them from a shelter like we did. 

Also, for insurance. We had it for the first 2 years but after that the premiums weren't worth the cost of the insurance so we just cancelled it. Never had it before this dog, so not sure how much it would have helped with the 2 previous dogs and their healthcare.  Also, be sure to shop around for a Vet.  I had what i thought was a great vet at a great price, only to find out my friends were using another highly rated vet who was charging almost half of what i was paying.  Now she's my vet too :)

last thing i promise:  tip on dog toys.  My dog's favorite toy is 2 of my husbands lost socks (1 sock, no partner) tied in knots.   Cost = Free!   Entertainment = Priceless! 

10dollarsatatime

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #37 on: January 02, 2016, 05:36:41 PM »
I have two standard poodles.  Adapted from a family who didn't have time for them anymore.

Initial costs
$80 adoption
$300 shots/checkup/registration
$120 good quality hair trimmers
$100 assorted leashes, bowls, collars, etc.

I was feeding them purina at $22/month for a 50 lb bag, but they developed digestive issues.  Smelly ones.  I've recently upgraded them to Pure Balance at around $50/month.  Much less smelly now.

I buy them the occasional smoked bone, rope toy or chuck it ball (they have yet to destroy one, but we do lose them sometimes).  I also just bought them saddlebags so that they can carry their own stuff when we go hiking.

If I were outsourcing their haircuts, they'd be much more expensive, but grooming is not that difficult once you learn how. 

icemodeled

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #38 on: January 02, 2016, 07:45:35 PM »
Depressing but practical thought....how much dies to euthanize a small dog if it got critically ill or injured?

yes, my parents have had to do this 4 times now. The last time I believe it cost around $700 for euthanization and burial/removal. There dog was approx 50lbs though. Certainly not cheap either.

Kitsune

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #39 on: January 02, 2016, 08:15:09 PM »
Depressing but practical thought....how much dies to euthanize a small dog if it got critically ill or injured?

yes, my parents have had to do this 4 times now. The last time I believe it cost around $700 for euthanization and burial/removal. There dog was approx 50lbs though. Certainly not cheap either.

Comparison: the country vet I went to for my last dog (and they did everything right: vet exam to make sure it was the right decision, sedation, euthanization with us there holding the dog, followed by cremation...) was 200$.

Fire2025

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2016, 08:34:59 PM »
Depressing but practical thought....how much dies to euthanize a small dog if it got critically ill or injured?

yes, my parents have had to do this 4 times now. The last time I believe it cost around $700 for euthanization and burial/removal. There dog was approx 50lbs though. Certainly not cheap either.

Comparison: the country vet I went to for my last dog (and they did everything right: vet exam to make sure it was the right decision, sedation, euthanization with us there holding the dog, followed by cremation...) was 200$.
When our last dog had to euthanized it was $250.00 and that's in Los Angeles, at a city vet.  We had a special room, with a couch and Kleenex.  They gave us the dog so we could visit him one more time, told us to come and get them when we were ready for him to get the shot, they gave him the shot and left the room and said to come and get them when we were ready.  They also cremated him and his ashes where put in the Pacific Ocean.  It was all very well handled.

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2016, 08:40:01 PM »
Ok. So we are the knew companions of a beautiful 8 week mini dachshund/ Maltese/ Chelsea( my spelling)

She was rescued from a shelter...an accidental litter that would have been euthanized.she is lovely.We are all very happy.

Fire2025

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2016, 08:41:18 PM »
Woohoo.  Congratulations that's wonderful.

Prepube

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2016, 11:59:24 PM »
I have three five year old large breed dogs (200 pound Newfoundland, 150 pound Saint Bernard, 125 pound Leonberger) and two cats.  Total cost last year was 2775, with only few total visits to the vet (maybe two or three), a few weeklong dog sitters (500.00) and higher quality kibble. The newf blew out a knee a couple weeks ago, and we'll probably put him down next month. I don't know yet, but it will be difficult when it happens as I love this dog more than most.

I agree with whoever said that training larger dogs while they are young is very important.  My Newfie is bigger than me, and he could be really dangerous if he were not well trained.  Regardless of size, do obedience classes and socialize the dog so it gets along with people and other dogs.

I disagree with with the poster who said to consider dog ownership in only two phases.  That should be at least four phases, all with different costs and varying goals. Acquiring the dog and associated costs is phase 1.  Puppyhood and training is phase 2, and is the first 12 to 18 months.  Be prepared for costs you didn't anticipate during this phase.  I had two newf puppies once who broke down a door of my house, then took all of my clothing and shoes into the back yard and chomped on them all day until I got home. Very expensive.  Adulthood is the next phase.  All my dogs have had injuries from playing or accidents during this phase.  The old age phase differs from breed to breed.  Smaller dogs live a lot longer.  Mine average 9 or 10 years.  An important part of dog ownership during all phases is realizing that you are in total control of the dog's quality of life and their dignity in death. I have good memories of all phases of my doggies lives, from puppyhood to death day. All have died in my arms, looking at me and trusting me and my decisions on their behalf without panic or fear. 

Midcenturymater

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #44 on: January 03, 2016, 02:52:26 AM »
Prepube. Well your dog's are lucky. I worked voluntarily in a dog shelter as a teen and it was awful to see how little care many dogs we saw, got.

I like what Kant said.

You can tell all you need to know about the heart of a human being, by his they treat animals.

Puppy is so sweet. Having.g never had a small dog we are getting used to shuffling around d as she is always behind you....and not trapping her in a door. I think we need to do pet insurance asap.

Can anyone recommend a company. I seem to be get to g 25 to 28 for medium coverage through the company I found.

Fire2025

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Re: how much does owning a dog cost?
« Reply #45 on: January 03, 2016, 05:56:37 AM »
Can anyone recommend a company. I seem to be get to g 25 to 28 for medium coverage through the company I found.

If you know who your vet is going to be, call and ask if they do any direct charging to pet insurance.  This is getting more and more popular and will save you a step when you go to use it.

I haven't needed to use mine yet, woohoo, so can't recommend it other than I found them through a 10 best pet insurance article on the ASPCA website and their website is easy to use.

Again congratulations on the new family member!!