How to Keep Your Pet Budget and Expenses on a Leash

You may have heard people refer to their pets as “fur babies,” and plenty of pet owners do seem to dote on their animals as though they were children. As a nation, the amount we spend on pets is steadily increasing each year. According to the American Pet Products Association, US consumers are projected to spend $62.75 million on their furry friends by the end of 2016. These dog expenses range from essentials like food, pet supplies and veterinary care to luxuries like clothing and yes, massage therapists.  Given these expenses how do you keep your pet budget on a leash?

You Are What You Eat

Your typical 30-pound bag of dry dog food costs anywhere from $30 to $60. That amount will last you between one and two months, as dogs of different ages and breeds can have wildly different dietary needs and appetites. But under most conditions, you’ll probably end up spending a dollar or two per day on food for your dog – which you’ll need to factor in with your other daily expenses. Pay attention to the ingredients when you buy dog food, and avoid brands that include grains and vague descriptions like “meat” or “animal filler.” Of course, if you want to go gourmet (mmm, wet food!), you can end up spending as much as three or four dollars per can – which can start to add up pretty quickly. But even when you buy the good stuff, make sure it’s actually made with healthy ingredients – just as you would for yourself.

The clothes make the dog. People have been dressing their dogs for thousands of years. Sometimes it’s for practical reasons, such as a raincoat during a torrential downpour. And sometimes it’s just unbearably cute to dress your dog like Yoda. When it comes to accessorizing man’s best friend, the human imagination seems to have no limit (dog wigs, anyone?) – and the line between practical and cute can get a little fuzzy, if you’ll pardon the term. You can generally expect to spend $10 to $50 on a typical dog outfit, from a sweater to a princess costume. But if you want Rover to be safe in a medieval battle, consider getting him a suit of armor, which will cost you around $367.

Dog Care for Every Budget

A healthy dog is a happy dog, and dogs are generally pretty low-maintenance when it comes to health care. Your puppy will need some initial vaccinations, which will cost around $100 altogether, along with some extra ones for certain regional conditions. Flea and tick treatments range from collars to oils to pills, but you can usually keep the bugs away for anywhere from $45 to $200 a year.

Just as there are for humans, a growing variety of nutritional supplements and healthcare products now exist for dogs – from shampoos and toothbrushes to homeopathic remedies that can cost as much as $45 for a month’s supply. And then there are dog therapists and dog masseuses, who charge as much as their human counterparts!

Whether or not you opt for a massage, you’ll want to bring your dog to the vet at least once a year for a checkup. Should Spot become injured or ill, an emergency visit can cost thousands of dollars – which will break your wallet as well as your heart. Depending on the breed, certain dogs are prone to chronic medical conditions that can require expensive treatments and procedures – which is why you may want to consider some type of pet insurance, which can cost anywhere from $10 to $50 a month depending on the coverage you choose.

All of these hidden costs can make having a dog seem like a daunting expense. But when your fur baby greets you at the door with kisses or snuggles with you at night, you realize that this is an investment in a trusted friend – and the dividends are far greater than you can count.

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