Adopting a dog can be a fun and exciting experience. Yet, it is also important to make sure that you are ready to take on the financial responsibility of being a dog owner. There are several expenses you should consider before deciding to adopt a dog.
Your dog will need a place to play. For many people, this means having a fenced yard. If your yard is not already fenced, you have several options to provide your dog with an adequate exercise area. You can buy a fence. In some cases, you may be able to fence off a portion of your yard, giving your new dog a fun play area. You may be able to cut the cost of a fence by splitting the cost with one or more of your neighbors, especially if you are putting up a fence between your houses.
If you don't have the money now to get a fenced-in yard or if it is not a practical idea, you may also want to try an off-leash dog park. This provides your dog with an area where it can run around freely. If you live in an area with several dog park options, you may want to try out a few of them to find the one that works best.
There are likely parts of your home where you will not want your dog to go, especially if you are adopting a puppy. Baby gates are a good way to keep your dog out of certain parts of your home. For dogs that are not fully potty-trained, baby gates can help to contain the mess when you are not home. They are also a great way to keep destructive dogs from destroying furniture or other items when you are not home. In some cases, as your dog gets older (and less destructive), you may be able to stop using baby gates. At that point, you might be able to sell the gate.
Dog food is a big expense for many dog owners. Buying in bulk or going with a less expensive brand may allow you to save money. When buying a cheaper brand, though, be careful. Some of the cheaper brands do not have as high of quality of ingredients.
The Little Extras
Your dog is going to need a place to sleep, a dish for food, a water dish, a leash, and probably a few toys. If you are comfortable having your dog sleep with you or on a couch, you may be able to skip the expense of buying a dog bed. Giving your dog an old blanket to use as a bed is another option. You may also be able to find an inexpensive dog bed at a pet store or online, especially if they've had it for a while. You can find a less expensive leash in the same way.
Old whipped topping containers or similarly sized containers can be used for your dog's food and water, which can save you money. You may also be able to find tennis balls or other toys around your house to use for dog toys. It's a good idea to hold off on getting a bunch of toys for your dog until you understand its personality. While some dogs love playing with toys, others really do not have an interest. Some dogs like playing with a certain type of toy, but they don't enjoy other toys. Waiting a bit before buying toys can help you to match the toys with your dog's interests.
Other Potential Expenses
It is also important to think about dog-related expenses specific to your situation. For example, if you are renting your home, even if it's a dog-friendly rental, you may have to pay a pet fee or pay extra per month to keep your dog in the home. You may also need to hire a dog trainer to help your dog gain some discipline. If you are away from home a lot or if you are concerned about your dog getting lonely, a dog babysitter or pet walker may also be needed.
Adding a dog to your family is a great decision for many people. If you are willing to be a smart, financially-savvy pet owner, you can do it without having to worry about the added financial expenses.