Dolly Jumps for Joy

There is no such thing as a free dog!

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I was recently gifted a lovely 18 month old standard poodle. Such a great thing for the dog and for me! The former owner has had many poodles in the past, but this particular dog was more than she could deal with at this time. So the owner did the right thing and found a good home, which happens to be mine. A free poodle! But wait, really?

Which brings me to the subject of what is the cost of owning a dog? “Can I keep him Mom!?” How many times does a parent hear this? I tried the same plea on my parents when I was young! The reality of owning a dog was not clear to me – but it was to my parents. The commitment of time, energy and resources required to properly care for a dog is beyond the grasp of children and for that matter many adults.

A commitment to a dog is much like a commitment to a child or a spouse – it should be for the life of the dog. The life span of a small dog can be 12 to 15 years or more and the life span of giant breeds averages about 8 years. Getting a dog should not be an impulse purchase!

Not every breed is going to be a good fit for your family or match your vision of what life with a canine companion should be. Before you leap into this commitment consider how much time is available to spend with the dog, how much money it will cost to keep the dog, and who will care for the dog if something happens to you.

No matter the cost (or not) of initially getting a dog, there are definitely costs for properly caring for a dog. Following is an estimated yearly cost of keeping a medium sized (45 pound) dog if the dog lives 14 years:

This estimate is based on a moderate approach to providing for a dog. Certainly much more could be spent, and clearly there are folks who will try to spend far less by feeding low cost food, skipping vet care, heart worm prevention, and the rest.

The cost of dog ownership may not have been something you have considered, my intention is not to scare you away, rather to help you make a clear headed decision about whether or not you really want the responsibility of dog ownership.

It’s been said that a dog is the only love money can buy and I agree and would add that the cost is totally worth it!

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