June 25, 2011

You can’t put a price on love.

Posted in dogs at 9:57 pm by Angie Hilbert

A Tamaskan Dog! We’re actually getting a Tamaskan this winter! Now that we sent our deposit to Judy at J&J kennels for our baby girl, it’s time to make serious plans. Dog ownership is a serious financial responsibility. Few people budget more than the cost of kibble and a rabies shot when becoming pet owners. However, complete care and keeping of a well-adjusted dog requires much more than that.

Now, I’m not talking about a designer pooch-purses or rhinestone collars. (Though if that’s your thing, go for it.) I’m talking about thorough and responsible care when it comes to raising a healthy, happy family member.

Wayne and I plan on taking very good care of our little Paka ESPECIALLY in the all important first year. She will be attended by a carefully screened veterinarian and covered by carefully researched pet-health insurance. We will be feeding her the highest rated all-natural, organic dog food formulated for large breed puppies. We are purchasing durable, high quality equipment and supplies in the larger sizes appropriate to accommodate her expected growth. And we are arranging to meet our social responsibility in regard to license and training to insure she is brought up to be a well-mannered canine citizen of our community.

These are our priorities in pet ownership. Yours might be different and your budget may look different. But as a case study, I’m willing to calculate the expected costs of Paka’s first year given our priorities, preferences and choices. (You mileage may vary.)

PAKA’S FIRST YEAR

$60 new-puppy vet check

$129 core vaccinations and worming

$190 flea/tick prevention (a year’s worth of monthly treatments)

$49 heart worm test

$89 heart worm prevention (a year’s worth of monthly treatments)

$35  microchip

$60 six-month check up

$27 rabies vaccination at 6 mos.

$37 Lyme disease vaccination (We’re outdoorsy folks. Paka will be in the woods and fields with us)

$438 spay (The only reason anyone should breed a dog is to improve the whole breed. AND they better really KNOW what they are doing!)

$100 teeth cleaning

$300 pet health insurance (covers 80% unexpected accidents, injury or illness )

$816 dog food (Orijen, large breed puppy formula because it’s the best.)

$14 dog license

$10 Collar (adjustable puppy type)

$12 id tags (hand-made, copper, with dogwood charm for the puppy collar)

$14 leash (standard 4′ lead)

$56 collar/leash set (full size personalized, engraved clasp and matching 6′ lead)

$79 crate (2-door, puppy divider, collapsible wire)

$215 dog crate table top  (This crate will be part of our living space, not stashed out-of-the-way somewhere. I want it to blend with my home.)

$30 FURminator  (Without a good shedding out during the moult, living with  Paka will be like living in a snow-globe!)

$11 basic grooming brush

$28  tick key (I hate ticks! We will have tick keys in each car, my purse, the first-aid kit, medicine cabinet and my bike bag. Nasty, Gross, Blood-sucking mini-monsters! Did I mention I HATE ticks? )

$23 nail clippers

$10 pet shampoo

$17 urine odor neutralizer

$57 one thousand poop-bags (biodegradable, eco-friendly)

$60 Two nights at Lucky Bones kennel and doggie day care including the “pawsitively spoiled” package. (we have a weekend event to attend next year that is not pet-friendly.)10

$30 Getaway Cabins pet fee (our annual spring vacation to the Hocking Hills is a puppy’s dream vacation!)

$98 dog bed (we had a 25% off coupon!)

$60 bowls (and a designer elevated rack to put them in. I mean, she’s eating in the dining room with us, I don’t want plain ugly tin bowls in my nicely decorated dining room.)

$8 bitter apple spray

$4 ball (durable, high visibility)

$6 squeaky toy

$9 tug toy

$10 kong toy

$9 chew toy

$78 (estimated bully stick consumption for 1 yr.)

$12 stuffed toy

$14 educational treat dispenser toy for dogs  (seriously!)

$80 puppy kindergarten class (start at 4 months old)

$85 basic obedience class (start at 8 months old)

$300 rent increase of $25 per month for having a pet

I’ll save you the trouble of adding it all up. It’s $3,769

And that does not include the payment to Paka’s breeder, Judy at J&J or the cost of travel to go get her. This list represents only predictable and anticipated expenses. I’m sure toys will need replaced as they get lost or destroyed. I’m sure there will be household damage and stains to repair and clean. I’m sure we will find many other useful things we may decide to buy. But this list is a good start for considering the financial responsibility of pet ownership.

Now, what about those items in italics? Well, those are the things we have purchased already. That’s right. With start-up expenses like this, we thought it a good idea to start gathering equipment early. Our little Paka’s mother isn’t even in season until August. We don’t expect our Paka to be born until October and we will wait 8-10 weeks after that to go get her and bring her home with us. But when she gets here, she will find everything is as it should be.

I’m not sure what dogs know or how they interpret their perceptions. But I do know that if puppies have the capacity for discernment, Paka will know she is a welcome and long-awaited addition to our family.

And THAT is PRICELESS!

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3 Comments »

  1. D Tucker said,

    Hi Angie! I found your blog via Judy’s facebook page and have been checking out some of your posts. My fiancée and I are also on the list for a pup from J&J, and I have to tell you that your blog is great. The recap of your trip to their home (and all the info about the TDR, CHD, and the animals in general) was awesome. I wish we could make a trip down there too.

    But anyway! I chose to comment here because there is one thing on this list that we are also torn about and I want to suggest as a point of thought: the puppy food. My fiancée (as a vet) has told me that we should be looking for puppy food that is lower in protein than the Orijen LB Puppy food. For large breeds in particular, it sounds like you don’t want your pup getting too much protein or they will literally grow too quickly and could have complications later on as a result. The dogfoodanalysis site does mention that this food should be for adults only (weird, right?). Are you familiar with this? I was going to choose the Orijen too but am now looking at Innova or Fromm til our pup gets bigger.

    This is by no means law and could be wrong, but you seem like the type to clearly do all your research so I just thought I’d offer the help. 🙂 “Food” for thought!

    • “Food for thought” indeed!
      You’re right. When you look at the nutritional information the “large breed puppy” Orijen formula is not very appropriate for large breed puppies, is it?
      I was planning a blog post about the diet and exercise precautions to take to avoid the development of CHD in our puppies, but I think an article focused just on proper diet and how to evaluate puppy feeding options might be a good idea.
      Do you think your fiance might be open to talking with me about it? If she’s up for a discussion on the topic, I’d be happy to exchange a link to her veterinary office website for a quote or two and the privilege of publishing her advice.
      If she’s up for it, let me know on facebook and I’ll give you my contact info for her.
      ~Angie

      • D Tucker said,

        Hi Angie. We are both a little reclusive at heart and don’t actually have Facebook accounts, but I’ll shoot you an e-mail at the address on your website if that’s ok. Until then!


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