I was reading a financial forum the other day where members suggested that a woman give away her beloved pets to save money. I am all for pinching pennies when I can, but my pets are members of the family. I can't imagine giving them up. However, it did get me thinking about how expensive pets can be, and since I'm trying to talk my husband into adding a second dog to our menagerie (one dog, one cat and 5 fish), I figured I would appeal to his practical side. So, I began to plot out my arguments as to why adopting a dog would be a better bargain than getting a purebred puppy. Compare the costs for yourself.
Obviously the up front costs would be significantly lower with a shelter dog. Our area shelter only charges $100 to adopt a canine that is 6 months or older, and $120 to adopt a younger puppy. Purebred puppies can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars up front. Friends of ours recently bought a purebred lab puppy that set them back $1600. That's a lot of Fido!
POTENTIAL SAVINGS: Upwards of $1000 or more.
The initial health costs associated with a shelter pup are also much lower. Shelter dogs typically receive their initial vaccinations (rabies and distemper), and are spayed or neutered before becoming available for adoption. Just having a dog spayed or neutered through a veterinarian can cost hundreds of dollars, not to mention the cost of vaccinations. In addition, most shelters now microchip dogs as part of the adoption package to prevent lost animals from ending up unclaimed. Having to microchip a new puppy at the vet's office can raise your bill significantly! These perks of adopting a shelter dog can add up to big savings!
POTENTIAL SAVINGS: $300-$500 or more.
Participating vets in our area will give any shelter animal their initial wellness exam free as part of an effort to encourage people to adopt homeless animals. This allows new owners to get peace of mind by having their adopted pooch checked out by a vet that they trust. With vet visits running $30-$50 just for an exam, this is an added bonus to factor in. Check with your shelter to see if they offer any partnerships with vets in your area.
POTENTIAL SAVINGS: $30-$50.
Training (both housebreaking and obedience) can become costly, especially with a stubborn or strong-willed dog. One woman I know had to take her dog through the basic obedience class three times in order for it to sink in! Often older dogs from a shelter will come to you either fully or partially trained. This allows you to avoid the expense and hassle of training. Costs such as carpet cleaner, paper towels, and new throw rugs are all a part of housebreaking puppies. Also, obedience classes are not cheap! Our local kennel club offers puppy socialization classes and basic obedience classes. Taking a furry friend to both of these classes would set us back about $120, while many shelters have volunteers who work with adoptable dogs to learn basic commands. A dog that is comfortable with people and other dogs, who can sit, stay, and come when called will save you from having to shell out more money.
POTENTIAL SAVINGS: $150 or more.
Purebred dogs are prone to a number of breed specific health problems. These problems can range from hip dysplasia to eye problems to skin ailments. Diagnosis and treatment of these ailments can become costly–often running into the thousands of dollars. Mixed breed dogs tend to be afflicted with fewer breed specific genetic ailments. Over the life of a dog, this can save you a bundle in vet visits and medicines.
POTENTIAL SAVINGS: Several thousand over the lifetime of the dog.
Finally, shelters are often overcrowded and scary places for our furry friends to be. Many lovable and faithful animals are just waiting for their "fur-ever" homes. By adopting a shelter dog, you are giving a deserving animal a loving home and will be paid back for years to come with companionship and adoration. How can you put a price on that?
POTENTIAL SAVINGS: Priceless!
This has been a guest post by Lisa from Milford, DE
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