Pet Ownership: The Plain Truth

Everybody knows a dog’s best friend is his human

– Trusty, Lady & the Tramp

I am an animal enthusiast – dogs mostly; but all animals have a place in my heart. I grew up with so many different types of animals; chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, freshwater fish, saltwater fish, parrots, other birds, and more. We were a large family living in a small house full of chaos. The experiences I shared with these animals gave me the appreciation and love I have for them now. So, when I grew up, I knew I would be a pet owner.

Pet ownership is more than just owning an animal because you are lonely or need a sense of companionship. Pet ownership requires time and money. A classmate of mine recently wrote a post about his experience owning a Great Dane called So, you want a Great Dane? Financial lessons learned in pet ownership, Part 1 & So, you want a Great Dane? Financial lessons learned in pet ownership, Part 2. This blog is broken into two parts and I can personally relate to the experiences!

Time

I had a concrete plan. I was going to adopt a dog after graduation. He or she would be my best pal for the remainder of their life. But then my boyfriend and I ventured into a PetSmart on an adoption day while I was supposed to be studying for midterms, and that concrete plan went out the window. A 3-month-old mutt stole my breath away. Luckily for me, I grew up with animals but for those who have not, getting a dog or any type of animal on a whim is not smart.

Puppies are more work than an older dog, but they both require time in the long term. With training, walks, play time, and attention, dogs are a handful. Now that your daily routine has taken a complete hit, consider your free time or vacation time. When you leave the house, you now need to think about the animal in the room.

How long will you be gone?

Are they securely locked up?

Did they use the restroom?

These are just a few questions you must ask yourself when you leave the house. And vacation? Are you boarding or having someone babysit? Is your animal traveling with you and is your vacation spot pet friendly? Before you take the leap to pet ownership, take the time to consider what it means!

Money

Pet ownership requires mula! Let me break it down for you:

Upfront Fee: Whether you adopt or buy from a breeder, you will be paying a fee. For my adoption fee, I paid $200. That is pretty cheap for a puppy. If you are buying from a breeder and the animal is pure breed, you could be spending thousands on this dog. Adopting older animals is not as expensive, but there is still a re-homing fee. Along with the adoption, you will need to register your dog with the city/county you live in. This may require a payment on a yearly basis.

Initial Supply Purchase: After adopting my pup, I had to buy all the necessities. Food, toys, beds, puppy pads, poop bags, etc. The list feels like it is never ending. I think I spent around $400 after spending $200 on the adoption. Then you take the pup home and for the first year, every time you go to the store you leave with something for your furry friend.

Veterinary Bills: Initial cost may be for your dog to get chipped or neutered. Then you have rabies shots and yearly booster shots. Then you have emergencies. I took my dog on a hike; what felt like a very nice cool day was actually an extremely hot day for my pup. After walking a mile and a half up the mountain, I walked back down with him in my arms. The pads on his feet completely burnt off. Two hundred dollars later, he was all set to go. This is just one of the many occurrences I have had with him within the last 3 years – ear infection, pink eye, acid reflex, and more.

Monthly Expenditures: I buy 1 bag of food a month. I tend to mix it with an egg or sweet potatoes for a nice filling meal. Then his heartworm medicine which is a 6-month supply. Finally, grooming. I take my dog to the groomers once a month – PetSmart calls it a Pawdicure Plus. He also gets a bath once a week. I live in an apartment and I love my dog, but he smells like Fritos after a week.

Contemplation

I am sharing this information because as a volunteer dog walker at the Nevada Humane Society in Reno, NV, I have witnessed too many people adopt dogs and bring them back after a couple days. It is so sad. With the current pandemic, I have seen a lot of young adults adopt dogs and other animals because they are at home and lonely. I pray they are not returned after the pandemic is over.

So, take the time to consider the pros and the cons of becoming a pet owner. It is a big decision. This animal has the possibility of watching you grow throughout adulthood.

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