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Pet Ownership: How Much Does Caring For A Dog Cost ?

They say money can’t buy love, but you can get a dog and that’s pretty much the same thing. But sometimes, we are caught unawares by the actual one-time and ongoing expenses to ensure our four legged friends stay happy, healthy and active. This article is an estimate of your likely financial commitment for a new puppy. We hope it will help you make a well informed decision before you bring home a pet

When Should Puppies Start Eating On Their Own?

One-time / Annual Expenses

Puppy

There is a wide range in how much buying a dog costs. Breeders sell puppies for varying amounts depending on the breed, lineage and the conditions that the mother and puppies are kept in. Of course, if you adopt a dog off the streets or from a shelter, this is eliminated, you get an amazing dog, and your dog gets a home with lots of love. We strongly encourage that win-win!

Vaccinations

In your puppy's first year, you'll spend around Rs. 4000 - 5000 on vaccinating them against deadly diseases such as rabies, distemper, parvovirus etc. After the first year, you'll need to give them booster shots annually which cost around Rs. 2000.

Sterilization

Discuss the pros and cons of spaying/ neutering with your vet. If you choose to, the surgery will cost between Rs 5000-8000.

Pet Insurance

Dog Insurance Chart

Insuring our dogs is a relatively new concept in India, but has been quite popular in developed countries for some decades. The average cost of pet insurance varies from Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000 depending on age, breed and preexisting health concerns. However, dog insurance may be a good investment to avoid worrying about skyrocketing vet bills during a crisis.

Getting Your Home Prepped

Your little one will need a bed, food and water bowls, a collar or harness and a leash and some chew toys. Puppy-proofing your home should be a priority to make sure your dog stays safe and so does your furniture. Puppies are naturally curious, so you need to set up barriers such as baby gates etc to keep them out of rooms or open areas where they’d be at risk. You also need to keep your dogs away from certain foods, so make arrangements to keep those in a place they can’t reach. You should cover exposed wires with bitter apple spray or neem oil to ensure your curious fur-kid doesn't chew them and get a shock.

Monthly Expenses

Food

Depending on the age, breed and dietary requirements, plan to spend between Rs. 3000-10,000 a month on dog food. Homemade food might seem a bit cheaper at first glance, but a nutritionally balanced dog food will save you time and money on vet visits later. Pedigree’s dog food contains all the essential nutrients your growing puppy needs in the right proportion to ensure they grow happy and healthy. Your dog would also appreciate some treats, but they shouldn’t exceed 10% of their daily caloric intake. Don’t get swayed by those puppy-dog eyes!

Deworming and parasite control

Dogs need to be dewormed every few months depending on your vet’s advice to ensure they maintain their health. The dosage depends on the weight of the dog, but the deworming tablets for a mid-sized dog costs Rs. 120. Further, you’ll need to protect your dogs from parasites like fleas and ticks. Discuss your pet’s lifestyle and parasite control requirements with your vet to find the right regimen which could be as little as around Rs 300 every quarter or Rs. 2000-8000 every year. The cost depends on the type of treatment like shampoos, tablets, spot on treatment or collars.

Vet Visits

In the first year of your puppy’s life, you’ll need to go for regular checkups every month or two to ensure that their developmental milestones are being properly met. The consultation fees vary for each vet, but Rs. 350 is a good average to consider. Some breeds are more prone to eye problems, joint ailments and certain cancers, which would need more frequent visits. Also, senior dogs might need to visit the vet and get treatment for age-related ailments such as arthritis, or issues with their heart, liver or kidneys.

Optional Expenses

Apart from this, there are optional expenses that you may opt for based on your time and needs. If you opt for anal sacs and ear cleaning, it can cost Rs. 500 to 1500; nail clipping works up to Rs. 500-1000 per visit and if you’re getting your dog groomed in a salon, it can cost upto Rs. 2000. Dental care treatments can cost up to Rs. 5000.

Those who can’t take their dogs out for a walk a few times a day might opt for a dog walker, which will set them back Rs. 2000 to 10,000 a month depending on your city and the walker’s expertise. Trainers often charge Rs 1000-1500 per session which may be a good investment to tackle behavioural issues before they become problematic. If you travel often, you’ll need to board your pet at a homestay or dog hostel, which will cost around Rs. 700-2000 per day.

Pet Care Expenses At A Glance
Monthly Expenses One-time / Annual Expenses
Food Rs. 3000-10,000 Vaccinations 1st year - Rs. 4000-5000 | Annual booster shots - Rs. 2000
Deworming / Parasite Control Deworming - Rs. 120 | Parasite control - Rs 300 every quarter Sterilization Rs. 5000-8000
Vet Visits Rs. 350 on average Pet insurance Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 30,000

In conclusion, the cost of dog ownership varies greatly based on the quality of food and number of services you need. On average, you’re looking at spending approximately Rs. 5000-6000 monthly considering food and other expenses you might have to make (deworming, parasite control, vet visits, vaccinations, dog walking, grooming); and a further Rs. 2000-3000 annually. Planning for your fur-baby’s needs and working them into your budget is a very simple way of ensuring a smoother transition into pet-parenthood.

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