Friday, February 17, 2012

The Dog Diaries: Chevy, the budget buster

Before we got a dog, I did a fair amount of asking around about how much a dog would cost me.  I asked several friends with dogs the question "What is the annual cost of owning a dog?".  The answers ranged from "not much" to "just food and occasional vet bills" to the classic blank stare (as if the question of a total yearly dog expenditure amount divided by 12 for the montly budget was a weird question to ask).  I decided those answers added up to about $1200 a year, or $100 a month.  That assessment might have had something to do with the fact that I had a monthly bill of $107 that was ending soon and I could easily repurpose that money to a dog category.   But whatever the reason, that was the amount that I decided to plan for. 

I am here to tell anyone who will listen that owning a dog is more expensive than that.  Take a gander at the first 21 days of dog expenses:
  • $13.00 pet shampoo and deoderant spray (oatmeal based, for his dry skin)
  • $31.50 King County License
  • $77.00 first 6 months of flea medication
  • $200 first trip to PetSmart.  Dog crate, dog bowls, dog food, tennis ball, treats, dog toy, etc.
  • $250 cost of rescuing Chevy from the Humane Society. Includes a 6 week training class.
  • $15.00 lint tape, for getting dog hair off my clothes
  • $13.00 dental chews, because the vet says he's got tartar/plaque
  • $11.00 bitter green apple spray, so he'll quit chewing through his leashes
  • $14.00 Nylon bone, to give him something he is allowed to chew on
  • $176.02  Cost of lab workups and meds for Chevy's first vet visit.  Vet waived the labor cost of the first vet visit for rescuing the pup from the Humane Society. 
  • $76.00 cost of medication after we learned that Chevy had a parasite
  • $20.00 dog bed from Costco (total waste of money. He prefers to sleep with the kids)
  • $30.00 barrier for keeping Chevy in the back of the Honda (Chevy destroyed it in minutes)
  • $300.00 cost of replacing the seatbelts in my Honda Pilot
  • $20.00 2nd leash, retractable
That comes to about $1300.00.  Yep, thats a big number for the joy of falling in love with a dog.  Good thing hubby wasn't that expensive in the first 21 days!!!

Chevy's expenses aren't over yet. The big expense that we still have looming is a dog kennel and fence solution. Or maybe that is an either/or scenario. Costco has a dog kennel right now that is around $300 (or was it $400?) that looks really nice. 6 ft high fences all around (important since we've got a jumper) and a 10 ft by 10 ft. area for him to hang out in. I found one that looks the same on, but its price says $750 so it must not be the same one, but you get the idea!

We have a difficult yard to fence, so we are looking into non-physical fencing solutions.  There is the Invisible Fence option that we've considered, and another option that is basically a wireless version of that.  I'm leaning toward the wireless version. It is called PetSafe Wireless Instant Fence.  You basically install a transmitter on your house and put a collar on the dog.  The dog gets a shock if he goes outside of the radius allowed by the transmitter. One of the benefits is that the wireless version is portable enough that we could take it with us when we go to the cabin.  Another benefit is that we can install a 2nd transmitter on dad's house and Chevy would be able to run through both the yards.  I bet the 2 transmitter solution with collar will run us another $750.  So...basically $2500 for the dog, just to get everything set up for him.  Sure, ongoing costs won't be as much.  Yearly vet bills, yearly flea medication, daily food and some toys.  I'm still hoping those numbers will come in under $100 per month.  Unless you count the bigger vehicle that I'll need to haul him around!  =)

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