First off, thanks for all of your votes on our new logo concepts! We’ve narrowed it down to Concepts 3 and 5. We’ll be making adjustments to both over the next few days and will unveil the winner next week! If you haven’t had a chance to vote yet, you can weigh in here.
So, affording a dog. As we mentioned in this post, Juno has her own line in our family budget spreadsheet. You can bet your bottom dollar (pun intended) that she has her fair share of needs and wants. And they add up.
So let’s crunch some numbers, shall we?
A Breakdown Of What We Spend Per Month and Once A Year, And What We Needed In The First Year
For Our 5-Year-Old Female Labrador Retriever
We buy a bag of Natural Balance Sweet Potato & Venison dry food every 6-7 weeks. Juno gets fed twice a day.
Juno gets fruits, veggies, and yogourt in various combinations and forms (frozen etc.) as treats. We don’t include these in Juno’s budget line specifically, since we’re already picking them up at the grocery store. If we’re feeling particularly spendy one month, we pick up a $4 bag of parsley-infused treats that she loves and they last a good while.
Rawhide bones: $19
Juno gets a rawhide retriever roll in the early evening every night. They keep her occupied for a good half hour or so and keep her teeth and gums looking healthy and pearly white. She loves the mental focus that the chewing requires – not much stands between that girl and her rawhide! We buy a bulk bag of 8″ retriever rolls from Costco about once a month.
Waste bags: $0
As we mentioned in this post, we use just about every bread bag, produce bag, and milk bag that comes into our house for dog waste collection.
This is a once a year expense for us. Juno gets a toy or two at Christmas in exchange for one or two that have seen their day in the sun and need to get tossed in the garbage.
Juno has a leash, a collar, an ID tag, an indoor bowl, an outdoor bowl, and a few beds around the house. We keep a spare leash we used on her as a puppy as well as an old collar in a basket, in case something breaks. If we’re going swimming, we put her old collar on (making sure to switch out her ID tags) so her regular collar doesn’t get water-logged or bleached. We bought ceramic and metal dog bowls when she was a puppy and we still use them and they get tossed right in the dishwasher. We also just use a plastic shoe and boot tray underneath for catching leaks and spills. We picked up several Costco dog beds a couple of years ago and they have stayed in great condition. The cedar chips inside keep them smelling fresh. We wash the covers once every week to two weeks depending on the season.
We trim Juno’s nails with a nail clipper that we picked up from the pet store a few years ago and brush her with a Furminator (in large) that we got two summers ago. Labs don’t require much grooming which is nice on the budget and we’ve opted to groom her at home. She gets bathed twice a year; once in our shower during the winter and once in the yard at the end of the summer. We still use the original bottle of Bio-Groom Fluffy Puppy shampoo. We wipe her down after a rain with cheap towels we got at Zellers when she was a puppy and after a snowy, salty walk with facecloths we picked up in bulk, also from Zellers. Both go right in the laundry and dry quickly.
Juno is healthy at this point in her life and doesn’t require medication on a regular basis. That said, she gets a monthly dose of liquid Revolution every summer, from June to November, for flea and heartworm prevention, and usually needs a round of Vanectyl-P every September or October to keep her reaction to ragweed under control.
Fencing, Boarding, and Walking: $0
We purposefully chose a house that had a fenced yard and I work from home, so we don’t have any day care or dog walker costs. When we do need to board Juno, she stays at the home of Golden Retriever breeders about an hour from our house, on a farm, for $25 for a 24-hour period.
Once A Year
Waste Bags: $5.98
We buy 2-3 bags of Max & Co. Poop Ease dog waste bags per year as back up for when we run out of bread bags, produce bags, or milk bags, or need something in a pinch. They also look nicer on public walks than clear bags do when they’re ‘full’. We find ours at Winners for $2.99 or less each. They also smell sweetly like baby powder!
Toys: $10 – $20
Being a Lab, Juno is chewy and mouthy and fairly unforgiving on toys. She needs the good stuff, the stuff that isn’t soft or squishable or made of any type of fabric. She needs Kongs and Nylabones and Kong Tuggers, which come with a heftier price tag. That said, her absolute favourite toy is still a small .99 cent squeaking orange basketball that we picked up at PetSmart the week we brought her home. She loves that thing. We also pick up a floaty toy or two each summer for throwing at the beach or in the pool. She particularly loves her Kong Wubba and any Kong on a rope.
As we mentioned above, Juno gets Revolution in the summer and Vanectyl-P in the early fall most years. Some vaccinations are also a once a year occurrence, so those factor into the cost here. Our vet is amazing and usually waives the exam fee if she’s giving Juno a vaccine or dispensing Revolution. Juno goes for a check-up once a year, which we book for June (June for Juno helps), so we can coincide an exam with a new summer season’s worth of Revolution.
The First Year
(I don’t have specific costs on these, so I’ll just list them)
Bringing Her Home:
We got Juno from a breeder. There was a purchase fee and a Canadian Kennel Club registration fee.
A leash, collar, ID tag, indoor bowl, outdoor bowl, beds, water bottle, backpack. We were also gifted a crate, which Juno hated, so we stopped using it, and put up two sets of baby gates instead.
Nail clippers, a brush, towels for their crate or room, their beds, and the car, facecloths, shampoo, enzymatic cleansers for accidents in the house or car (or other peoples’), bitter apple spray for discouraging unwanted chewing; even though we kept Juno in an open-to-the-kitchen mudroom when we went out, she still tried chewing on what she had access to: beadboard, door frames, and baby gate plastic.
Appointment with your own vet, extra deworming, puppy vaccinations, and spay surgery. Of course, any or all of these may already be done if you’re bringing home an older dog.
Did I miss anything?
As much as you don’t want to put a price on ‘love’, it’s better to be realistic about just how much ‘love’ you can really afford. And the planned costs don’t have to be that high, because, of course, there will always be unexpected costs that pop up (injury, sickness, house, yard, or car damage etc.).
Of course with a smaller dog, you may spend less on food, but more on grooming, for example. With a senior dog, you may spend less on toys and training, but possibly more on medical costs.
It’s all about what fits with your lifestyle and what kind of dog lifestyle you’re looking for!