Taking the time up front to understand what it takes to care for an animal for the rest of his/her life is a critical step in becoming a pet parent. If more people truly understood the magnitude of the commitment needed to welcome an animal into their home, fewer animals would be returned to shelters.
To help prepare for a long and happy human/pet relationship, we’ve outlined a few things to consider before taking in future animal companions:
Budget: Initial investment: $200-400, depending on size; annual upkeep: $500-$1500.
Additional Costs to Consider:
Routine vet care: $100-$500 annually
Spay/Neuter: $50 -$250
Housing: Puppies need to be contained when no one is around. If an adult dog doesn’t have a crate, provide a soft bed in a warm, quiet spot. All dogs and puppies need plenty of exercise every day. We do not recommend leaving your dog outside for long periods of time unattended; however, if you must, be sure to provide a shady spot to relax and plenty of food and water.
Cleanup: Dogs need to be walked multiple times per day. In public spaces, humans must scoop the poop! Also, most dogs shed, so you’ll need a decent vacuum, or be ready to sweep on a regular basis. On the plus side: no more crumbs under the table.
Diet: Puppies normally eat several times a day; an adult dog usually eats once or twice a day. Foods vary widely from store-bought to homemade. Visit your vet soon after welcoming home your new dog to discuss food portion sizes and nutritional needs.
Kids: Most dogs love to play with children, though play should be supervised–even the most gentle pup can snap if a child is too rough or abrupt. And no matter how friendly, the dog should never be left alone with young children.
Life expectancy: Lifespan varies by breed. In general, the larger the dog, the shorter their natural lifespan. A Chihuahua can easily live for 15 years or more; a Great Dane may not live much beyond 8 years.