If you’re wondering if Colorado has gone to the dogs you’re not alone. Colorado has three cities ranked in the top 100 cities for pet ownership: Colorado Springs, Denver, and Aurora according to WalletHub.com. The first year of owning a dog you will experience a little bit of sticker shock if you don’t plan well. There are a number of ways that you can minimize the cost of buying your first dog. Start with taking the time to research the different things that you should know about your future dog’s care. Consider breeds you would be compatible with, city ordinances that may affect what breed you can have and other long term cost as well.
How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?
Decide where you would like to get your dog. You could purchase a purebred dog, which will cost significantly more than if you decide to go to the local animal shelter and choose the most loveable mutt in the room. Adoption currently costs up to $150 at the Denver Animal Shelter. The cost includes having your dog neutered and the initial vaccines needed for your puppy. The Humane Society Pikes Peak Region list adoption fees from $150 to $600. In Mesa County you’re looking at $95, in La Plata County, from $29 to $199 and in Larimer County from $50 to $500. As you can see the fees vary based on where you are. More often than not, you should budget right around $100. Adoption fees typically include microchipping, id tags, vaccinations and neutering.
Buying a pet from a shelter is most always going to be a cost saver over other options as well as a great way to give a pet a home. That said, free dogs can be found just by asking around too so this is something to think about as well.
Hounds in the House
Once your dog has been purchased and micro-chipped the next step in your journey as a new pet owner is to pick up the various items that your pet needs when it gets home. Some items are necessities while other items could be considered the whimsical wants of the pet owner. Necessities would include most of the following (using Walmart.com):
- Dog treats budget about $3
- Dog bowls around $4
- Dog food for about $30 for a 30lb bag
- Dog beds starting around $5 dollars.
The costs quoted are at the lower end for all items and you may end up spending more depending on what you decide to buy. Check out your shopping apps to see if it’s possible to purchase certain items at a discount. I’ve seen dog food rebates on the Ibotta app and I imagine that other apps may offer discounts as well.
Also, ask your friends if they have extra pet related items that they would be happy to share with you. Talk to your friends about what is an absolute necessity and what is completely unnecessary such as clothes for a dog that has a ton of fur.
Man’s Best Roommate- First Year Cost
Just like with people, there are ongoing costs to consider when owning a pet. These expenses range from getting your dog’s teeth cleaned, exams, regular grooming, getting their nails clipped, and preparing for the unexpected. Preparing for these expenses in advance will eliminate a lot of the financial stress.
For healthcare, you may consider buying pet insurance. Costhelper.com says people pay between $22 and $28 a month for dog insurance.
Grooming cost are also a factor. Some estimate prices can be as low as $20 for puppies and small breeds all the way up to $150 for larger breeds. Of course you can buy a pair of dog hair clippers and give it a whirl yourself too. Check out this article if you want to learn how.
Time Well Spent
Finally, you should also factor in the following other cost: time. Caring for your pet will take a lot of time and energy. You have to wake up early in the morning to walk your pooch around your neighborhood. You will also need to walk your dog when you return home from work. If your new dog has a lot of fur you may even find yourself cleaning up more than usual. Many pet lovers would say that the companionship is more than worth the time spent cleaning and walking your dog.
How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?: This beagle in Colorado Springs would run me - $65
Hounds in the House: Priced out a dog bed, set of dog bowls, 30 lb bag of dog food and dog treats for - $93.28
Man’s Best Roommate- First Year Cost: Dog Insurance is included in adopting a pet at the Humane Society Pikes Peak Region. Beagles don’t generally need haircuts but the Pet Pawlor has good prices on nail filing, teeth brushing and other services - $15
Total - $173.28 (figure in cost for re-ups on dog food and grooming visits accordingly)
Dog lovers! Send The Dime your favorite picture of your pooch and a savings idea not mentioned in this post. We would love to hear from you.
This post was written by PERA member Michelle Jackson, a former University of Colorado employee and personal finance/lifestyle blogger. If you’re interested in writing for The Dime send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org