Welcome to Lesson 4!

Can I Afford To Keep A Dog? Budgeting For Your Dog

This is a shorter lesson than some of the others because it’s focussed more on you doing some real learning and understanding the true costs of caring for a dog.  There’s less of an introduction and more thinking time for you.

You want to get a dog and shower it with love and affection.  But can you care for it properly?

So often, people jump into choosing a dog and forget how much it’ll cost to care for over the long term.  There are lots of sad cases in rescue centres where the owner has given up the dog because they haven’t got the money to look after it any more.  There are also those where the owner simply didn’t appreciate how much it would cost every day to feed, clothe, support and train the dog and keep it in good health.

This lesson is about you realising just how much dogs cost to keep, and all the things which you will have to pay for.  It gives you a rough taster of what it costs overall, but your coursework is the main feature today.

The biggest thing to remember is:

The cost of buying a puppy or the adoption fee for an adult is the least important cost of its whole life.

This means you have to be absolutely sure you can cover the cost of each day, week, month for the rest of your dog’s life.  You should work on this being at least 10 years.

It’s said that you need at least $1,400 per year (about £1,000) for one average (medium sized) dog.  In reality, I’ve looked at this closely and it’s an under-estimate.  My figure is to do things properly, you really need about $2,500 (£2,000).

That means you need to have ‘spare cash’ of £166 per month (or equivalent your own currency) every single month to comfortably afford the average dog.

Just to illustrate this point, my lurcher Kylah broke her jaw in 3 places in 2008. I have no idea how it happened – she just came back with a mangled and bleeding nose.  The vet treatment was £1,300 to piece her all back together.  If she had needed a specialist dental veterinary surgeon, and not my local vet, I’d have been looking at a bill of £3,000.

In total, I estimate my own veterinary costs since 1996 to be possibly £10,000 or more.  My dog food costs £80 per month.  Kennels cost me £30 per day or part day when I’m on holiday.  Insurance would cost about £60 per month.  Dog walking if I require it will cost £15 per hour at the very least for someone with dog experience worth hiring.

The bigger the dog the more expensive everything is. Also remember that costs can vary depending on the breed of dog you have and where you live too.  Also some costs don’t occur very often.  Some costs are daily ones, like food for your dog.  Some costs are yearly, like veterinary vaccinations.  Some might be monthly and others might be ‘as they come’ such a boarding kennel fees for holidays.  You need to factor all this in to your budgeting.

There’s a whole chapter in the book about budgeting for your dog which gives you far more help, but this exercise below will really get you thinking.

Lesson 4 coursework

Sit down and make a list of every single thing you think you might need to pay for when you have a dog. (If you end up with a list that scares you, that’s good).

Remember, all this is being provided in your free course book at the end of the course.

Look out for Lesson 5 in your e-mails!

Bev x



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