Common Expenses that Dog Owners Face for Dog Healthcare
By James Hopkins, guest author and dog owner
They say that dog is man’s best friend for a reason. What could be better than coming home after a long day of work to a furry four-legged companion who is overjoyed to see you? While the upsides of owning a dog are fairly obvious, having a dog requires a major commitment. In addition to making the decision to take care of a living creature for his or her life, deciding to adopt or purchase a dog means making a financial commitment to provide for your pet. While most people may think that they know what they’re getting into when they become dog owners, the true cost of having a dog may still be a surprise.
This is particularly true when it comes to healthcare costs. One of the most expensive parts about owning a dog is the medical expenses that can quickly add up due to regular vet visits, vitamins, medications, and even more serious procedures and surgeries. In addition to grooming and other necessary steps to keep your dog healthy, these medical expenses can be a shock to your budget — which is why it makes sense to fully explore healthcare costs before you add a dog to your family.
When you first purchase or adopt a dog, you will have some initial medical costs that will likely include a medical examination, being vaccinated and dewormed, spaying or neutering (if applicable) and being microchipped. These examinations, shots and procedures can cost you several hundred dollars or more, depending on the size of your dog, the area that you live in, and whether you adopt your dog from a shelter or purchase one from a breeder.
Once you are home with your pup, you will need to take him or her for routine veterinary care. At a yearly examination, the doctor will perform a thorough physical exam, including a dental examination, give your dog heart worm medication and any necessary vaccinations and any needed flea and tick medications or treatments. These regular checkups are absolutely necessary to maintain your dog’s health and can be vital to cut your overall pet care costs; after all, if your vet spots a potential issue early on and treats it, that can help save you significant money in future healthcare bills. Again, depending on the size of your dog and the area that you live in, the bill for an annual vet visit could range from $200 to $400.
Of course, pet owners should also budget for non-routine veterinary care. While dogs would ideally only need to see the vet for their annual examinations, they may need to see a doctor for issues such as accidents, being attacked by another animal or diseases such as cancer. They may also require surgery for congenital problems with their joints or to get medication for skin problems or other issues. An emergency vet visit could cost thousands of dollars, particularly if surgery is required or more extensive treatment (such as medication for cancer) is necessary.
For this reason, some dog owners choose to purchase pet insurance. This is a relatively low cost type of health insurance that provides coverage for emergency vet bills. The cost of pet insurance will be based on the age and breed of your dog, along with the area where you live. Typically, you will have to pay your vet bills directly, and the insurance company will reimburse you for the cost. If you do decide to purchase pet insurance, be sure to review the coverage terms and conditions carefully to be sure that it is comprehensive. While pet insurance may cost several hundred dollars each year, it can be a good way of making sure that you are not stuck with a sky high emergency vet bill. Pet insurance may be particularly useful for anyone with an older dog.
In addition to veterinarian bills, dog owners should also expect to spend several hundred dollars each year at the groomers to help keep their dogs happy and healthy. A groomer will give your dog a bath, brush its fur, trim its nails and coat and clean its teeth. Taking care of your dog’s skin and teeth with regular trips to the groomers — or doing it yourself — is an important part of keeping your dog healthy. If you don’t have the ability or desire to groom your pet, make sure that you set aside some funds to pay for regular grooming.
Keeping your dog healthy can be expensive. If you are planning to welcome a dog into your home, make sure that you understand these costs and are able to properly provide for the newest member of your family.
Do you feel pet insurance is necessary? Feel free to leave a comment below.