Following on from my post about what it's like to own a dog, I thought I'd do a little checklist for what you'll need if you decide to become a dog owner because I did mention the kinds of things you'd have to think about but I didn't really go into detail. Obviously you could do things on a smaller or bigger budget but I've done an estimated cost of what it would be for your first month of owning your own little bundle of dog joy.
- Food & Treats £8.00
I buy Jasper dry and wet food and mix them together; I use Pedigree and supermarket own brand mixer biscuits and he gets a full tin and a cup of biscuits every night for his tea. Then he gets treats during the day as rewards and just for when he's got his cute face on.
- Collar & lead £15.00
There are lots of options for these; it all depends on personal preference really as to what you buy. You want a collar to be comfortable for your dog so always make sure it's not too tight or too slack; you might want a regular collar and also a body harness to use for when they're actually out walking. Then there are different kinds of leads: retractable and regular one length, again it depends on personal preference but I have both because I like a one length one for street walking and a retractable for longer walks where I can let him go a bit further away.
- Chipping/Tagging £25
In the unfortunate event that your dog was lost or stolen, the best way to get them back is to have them chipped so that they can be scanned and identified at any vets and hopefully returned to you in good health. Obviously you could have a tag on their collar but who's to say that this wouldn't fall off? A chip is under their skin and should be there for life.
- Vaccinations £30 (approx)
There are all sorts of nasty diseases your dog can contract if they're not vaccinated. They need to be vaccinated twice; once at 8 weeks and again at 10 weeks and then they are allowed to be walked safely at 12 weeks old. It is recommended that you get your dog a booster vaccination every year and you need to make sure you do this especially if it stipulates this as a requirement in your pet insurance policy!
- Insurance £10.00 (approx)
I have the best level of cover for Jasper which obviously comes at a price but like with any insurance you can get different levels of cover depending on what you're prepared to pay for both in premiums and in any vet bills which might occur and also the older your dog gets the more your premium goes up (which makes sense, because your dog technically becomes more of a 'risk' to insurance company). The best thing for you to do would be to have a look at some companies like Argos* to get a quote and to see what different types of cover they do.
- Food bowls £8
I've tried lots of different types of bowl and I find that metal ones are generally the best; they're easy to clean and they're sturdy. I actually got a double diner bowl on a stand so that he couldn't chase it around the room once he'd finished.
- Bed and/or Crate £25
Dogs need somewhere to call their own, not only a place to sleep but also a place to 'get away' from anything that might be going on in the house. Believe it or not some dogs can get a little overwhelmed especially when there are screaming children around or lots of people talking and making general noise and they like to be able to have a bit of 'me time'.
- Toys £10
Stimulation is key with dogs; if they're stimulated enough they are less likely to destroy anything of yours so make sure that they have some toys to keep them occupied. Jasper has a proper little collection; at the moment he has a blankie, a fox, an octopus, 2 balls, a rope, a pheasant and a duck.
- Poo Bags/Poop-a-scoop £5
As I mentioned in my other post, dog ownership isn't all glamorous and unfortunately your dog has to get rid of whatever goes in its mouth and you have a duty to clean it up both in your garden and in public so you need a ready supply of bags and a scoop to help you deal with the situation.
- Gates £20
There's only one way to stop a dog going somewhere in your house and that's to shut it off from them. Baby gates are definitely your friend when keeping places off limits; Jasper has free run of our house but we did start with all good intentions as we had a baby gate at the bottom of our stairs to stop him coming up but that's gone by the by (because we're too soft).
- Grooming products £15
At the very least you're going to need a brush and some dog shampoo. Don't think it's ok to use human shampoo on dogs because it can really irritate their delicate skin; you don't have to spend a fortune but it's important to make sure that you get special dog shampoo.
- Flea and tick treatment £30
As I mentioned in my previous post, the supermarket stuff won't touch fleas and ticks; you need to buy it from a vet. We buy Stronghold which only does fleas and we deal with ticks by extracting them as and when we need to (which admittedly isn't very often but he does get them, especially in summer when he's been in long grass). From what I hear, fleas have become immune to Frontline so it's a lot less effective than it used to be even though it always seemed like the leading flea treatment. I can highly recommend Stronghold though, it really does the trick for Jasp.
Estimated total cost: £201
So that's approximately what it would cost you during the first month of owning a dog, on top of whatever you have paid for them. Don't get me wrong, Jasper is 100% worth it for me and I don't regret getting him at all but I know that for some people the cost would be a real deal breaker. Please don't be fooled into thinking that getting a dog is cheap and easy. I really hope I've made things a little clearer for anybody considering getting a dog (if it stops one dog from going into a dogs home due to someone making a mistake then that's mission accomplished for me!).
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