Getting a new puppy is truly a rewarding experience. They are cute, exciting and bring a ton of joy. Just make sure you are financially prepared for all of the unexpected costs of getting a puppy.
Time to get real. I want to fill you in on how much it actually costs to get a puppy. Pet ownership is a lot more than the cost of the food. Who knew!
A few months ago, we got our first family dog when he was just 11 weeks old.
After doing a ton of research we located Enzo’s original family on a farm about 2 hours from our house. We drove there and right back just in time to surprise the girls when they got out of school. It was the best feeling to see their faces! We told them for months we wouldn’t be getting a dog when actually we were saving up to make it happen.
While saving, we made a list of expenses and thought we had thought of everything. You know, the basics everyone thinks about when getting a puppy. Our list looked something like this:
- Cost of the dog
- Flea, tick & heart worm medicine
Seems like we had it all covered, right? Wrong! The more Enzo grew, so did his expenses.
A few months into our new puppy journey we started noticing Enzo didn’t enjoy running around as much as other puppies his age. During a routine immunization visit to the vet we learned his hips seemed a little abnormal and needed x-rays.
Long story short, our sweet Enzo was born without hip sockets. The vet said she has yet to see this in a Shepherd and of course we would get the one in a million puppy. He needs a double hip replacement once he has finished growing, about eighteen months or so. Because nobody in the state of Indiana can do it, we have to take him to a university in Ohio and is estimated to cost between $5,000-$7,000. So there’s that.
Other unexpected costs of getting a puppy:
Here are a few other expenses we didn’t take into account when figuring how much to save when getting a puppy.
Average cost of a vet visit – $58-$150
Most veterinarians have a standard fee just to walk in the door. And let’s not forget about all of the extras. The above image is from the American Kennel Club website. As you can see, all of the little things add up quickly.
There are several types of pet insurance which add to the monthly expenses. We never even considered pet insurance until our first exam. They have a preventative maintenance type and then other pet insurance that is similar to health insurance plans.
Chronic or breed-specific health issues.
We knew German Shepherds were more prone to having hip issues, but we figure that would come much later when he was older. We didn’t know we would start our puppy journey having to fix the puppy we just brought home. Be sure to do a lot of research on your breed-specific puppy, even if you get them from a rescue shelter.
Puppies chew on everything. We were blessed by the folks from Kong with tons of toys for Enzo when we first brought him home. That still didn’t stop him from chewing several pairs of shoes, two MacBook chargers, the cord to the brand new fan, the corners of the tables, a basket, the sleeve of my jacket, countless stuffed animals and who knows what else.
Holy carp! Training a puppy is really hard work. No matter how many times we would try to teach him something, he was not going to listen. So we sent him to Barkefellers for puppy school hoping they would have better luck than we did. While he learned a lot, it was just one more expense we didn’t account for.
Daycare or Boarding.
We travel a lot. And because we don’t have any family in town we have to pay to board Enzo when we leave town. On average, the cost is between $28-$55 a night. It adds up fast!
We purchased several bags of dog food before finding one that Enzo would actually eat. And of course once we found one and bought it in bulk, we learned we had to switch it again due to his hip problem.
Puppies grow quickly. We have had to upgrade Enzo’s collar, leash and harness three times so far. Keep sizing in mind when choosing a breed. Oh, plus the never ending supply of poo bags we’ve had to buy. And since Enzo doesn’t enjoy walking on a leash, we’ve had to try several different methods including a leather leash, an easy walker and a gentle leader.
Getting a puppy can be an amazing experience. But, as it turns out, it can also be a surprisingly costly one. Make sure you are fully prepared and do lots of homework before brining home your furry little friend.