For those of you who own an animal, you know how costly it is to keep them healthy and well fed. A lot of people come up with the “nice” idea of offering an animal to someone as a Christmas or birthday gift. Unless you have thought it out carefully, this can result in being the worst gift idea ever.
Yes you could be saving a beautiful creature from eventually being euthanized, but it may still end up that way if the person receiving the animal either doesn’t like it or can’t afford its upkeep. Too many animals have been cast aside in situations that could have been prevented.
Here are some numbers for you to mull over first if you were planning on getting a dog:
Small to medium-sized dogs
- Estimated life span: 14 years
- First year: $740 to $1,325
- Estimated annual costs thereafter: $500 to $875
Total cost over a dog’s lifetime is about $7,240 to $12,700.
Large to giant-sized dogs
- Estimated life span: 8 years
- First year: $1020 to $1,825
- Estimated annual costs thereafter: $690 to $875
Total estimated lifetime cost: $5,850 to $7,950.
Before you find your way to the pet shop, local animal shelter, or an accredited breeder, here are some points to consider whether you are intending to give an animal to someone or to yourself:
- Evaluate your current lifestyle (home vs. small apartment, frequent traveling) and willingness to make a long-term commitment. My brother has a parrot named Chip that is almost 25 years old and he swears like a sailor!
- Determine in advance if you or anyone in the household is allergic to pet dander.
- If you have children, consider how old they are and what kind of pet/breed would be better suited to especially young children.
- Budget a pet as a monthly expense to include: food, annual vet visit, on-going medication, pet insurance premiums, and potential emergency visits.
- There are also irregular pet expenses such as: obedience training, pet-sitter, kennel fees, or alternate arrangement during out of town traveling.
- Can you afford the costs of a long-term or debilitating illness of a pet?
- With kids it may be a good idea is to start them off with a small pet like a fish, hamster, or a turtle. These smaller creatures are not as high maintenance but children would still learn the act of responsibility by feeding them and cleaning their cages/bowls.
Having an animal as a companion can positively add to the quality of your life and I can guarantee if you treat them with love and respect they will give you that back and so much more. In the same token, caring for a pet is a serious responsibility, so think long and hard before you get one.
Do you have a pet? Did you consider your budget before getting a pet, and how much does the bill usually come to every month?