Pet Care Tips and Articles

Dog Adoption - Budget Worksheet

Costs of adopting a dog Part of owning a pet is the financial responsibility that comes with it. Use the worksheet below to help plan for the costs of adopting a dog. Costs will vary depending on where you live. Please adopt a dog rather than purchasing from a store - adopting saves lives!

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One-Time Costs

  • Adoption fee. Many shelters and pet rescue organizations offer discounted adoption fees for adult dogs, senior dogs, special needs dogs, or bonded pairs of dogs.

  • Leash and collar. Lots of different types of leashes are available. You'll need a standard short leash (usually 6' or less), for regular walks. A long line is helpful for training. Some people like retractable leashes, although flexi-leashes can be dangerous and should be used judiciously.

    The collar will probably need to be replaced in the future - and if you are adopting a puppy, that may occur sooner rather than later! Remember that puppies will chew and that collars may need to be replaced as they grow.

  • Food and water bowls. Tall dogs may find it easier to eat from an elevated feeder. A pet waterer is another handy option for dogs who drink a lot. These devices allow you to refill the water bowl less often.

  • Bedding. This can be one of many types of dog bed, or just a comfy towel or blanket that your new dog can call his own. Popular pet beds include bolster dog beds or memory foam beds (great for supporting the joints of older dogs). Look for something with a removable, washable cover for easy cleanup.

  • Vaccines. Puppies need a few sets of shots to help protect them until their immune systems are fully developed. Adult dogs who enter the shelter system are likely to also receive a set of vaccines if there's no veterinary history. Shelters and pet rescue organizations typically include these vaccines as part of the adoption fee.

  • Spay/neuter surgery. This will prevent adding to the pet overpopulation problem (even if you are able to find homes for the litter, that means there are even fewer available homes for the pets waiting at animal shelters and rescue organizations). Many shelters and pet rescue organizations include the cost of spay/neuter surgery in their adoption fee. If you cannot afford the cost of surgery, ask your local vet or SPCA about spay/neuter programs you may qualify for.

  • Identification. This can include a city license tag, general ID tag, tattoo, and/or microchip. It's important for your pet to wear proper, up-to-date ID at all times, just in case your dog gets lost. A simple ID tag with your dog's name and your phone number(s) can be quickly and readily printed on-the-spot at many pet supply retailers, or online.

  • Grooming supplies including a brush or a comb, pet shampoo (human shampoo is too harsh), a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste (again, don't use the human stuff), and nail clippers. Some dogs don't like the feel of nail clippers, in which case you can try using a dremel instead to grind down long nails.

  • Kennel or crate. Puppies can be kennel-trained to minimize any mess or destruction. Dogs of all ages should be familiarized with a kennel because it's a useful and convenient tool for times you need to safely confine your dog, such as when you're traveling, on moving day, etc.


On-Going Costs

  • Dog food (dry/moist/raw/homemade). Factor in any additional costs if your dog requires prescription food.

  • Treats. Who can resist giving the occasional treat? Include a variety of dog treats as well as longer-lasting chew treats (to provide some mental stimulation).

  • Toys. Keep your dog occupied and happy with at least one or two great toys. Toys often get destroyed in play, so they need to be replaced.

  • Annual check-up and vaccines, as needed. A regular visit to the vet will help to ensure your pet remains healthy and that any problems are caught early.

  • Heartworm, flea, and/or tick medication. If you live in an area where these are a problem, your dog should be regularly treated. You will also need to budget for these medications if you and your dog intend to travel to an area where these are a problem.

  • Boarding or pet-sitting costs. Includes doggy daycare or overnight boarding if you don't intend to take your dog when you travel.

  • Pet fees, when traveling. Most pet-friendly accommodations charge a fee for pets. Call ahead to find out the specifics.

  • Grooming. Some dog breeds have higher grooming needs than others. Budget for these costs if you plan to use the services of a professional groomer.

  • Dog license fees. Check with your municipality to see what fees are applicable. Some cities will discount the fee if your dog is spayed or neutered.

Additional Costs

  • Puppy expenses. Puppies are adorable, but they come with the knowledge that puppies also love to chew! Set aside some money to repair or replace items that get destroyed.

  • Replacement of worn-out or broken items. This includes stuff like collars, leashes, bowls, toys, etc.

  • Unforeseen or emergency veterinary care. Pets can become ill, too ... and sometimes it may require only a check-up at your friendly neighbourhood vet's, at other times it can be serious and require hospitalization or specialized treatment. Some pet owners choose to purchase pet insurance for peace of mind. Include in your budget annual bloodwork as well as a thorough dental cleaning every few years or as recommended by your vet.

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