You have made your decision to get a dog! You have done all your research and you've even picked him out. Hours have been spent choosing just the right name. You have "the talk" with your kids about animal ownership and the responsibilities that come with it. You pack up the kids, head to the shelter, leash in hand, but, do you really know what that dog is going to cost you?
The shelter fee is $50.00, right? Sure, but Fido comes with a bit more financial commitment that just the shelter fee. Your new "best friend" has needs too! According to "Cost of Owning a Dog" an article published at pededucation.com, "very few people have any idea how much owning a dog really costs and (most people) grossly underestimate it." This could definitely explain why many dogs adopted from shelters eventually find themselves back to the shelter or, worse yet, homeless. Dogs, just like children, require time, care and money. The financial obligations of dog ownership tend to get overlooked in the excitement of procuring the dog. It's only human nature! Everyone is excited about the prospect of bringing home the new puppy until, suddenly, that puppy starts making significant changes to the household budget.
Based on national averages, Drs. Foster & Smith, Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, have come up with some shocking figures. Based on their independent study, the average cost of owning a 50 lb. dog over a period of 14 yrs., (the avg. lifespan of a 50 lb. dog), is $12,468.00! And, this is just an average figure. All things taken into consideration, according to Drs. Foster & Smith, these figures can vary from $4,242.00 on the low end to an astonishing $38,905.00 on the high end!
These figures could explain the high ratio of dogs returned to shelters within the first year being adopted. Even though most shelters require the prospective "new parents" to fill out an application that, in most cases, blatantly asks the prospective clients to "describe what they think they need to budget into their household expenses" for their new pet, apparently, more attention needs to be given to this detail. To make sure you don't become part of a "growing statistic", make sure you can afford Fido, before you bring him home! A little extra accounting homework can make the difference between a "happy ending" or just a different "chapter" in a shelter dog's life!