Monday, December 19, 2005

Calculating The Cost Of Dog Ownership

That doggy in the window costs much more than you think.

How much? Almost $12,000 over a lifetime for a small dog that lives 15 years, and more than $23,000 for a larger breed that lives for 12. Those are just averages. The numbers grow quickly if, say, illnesses require trips to the vet.

These figures come from Jim Wilson, a veterinarian, lawyer and consultant who has created a detailed spreadsheet, down to the last chew toy, using data from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association and owners. Wilson crunched the numbers as part of his research into damages in lawsuits over pets and his work for a pet-insurance company.

Numbers such as that might give anyone pause. "People think they can get the puppy from the pound for $125," he says. "And they honestly don't have a clue as to what the annual costs are going to be."

Some highlights from the spreadsheet: "Destruction of Household Items" averages $1,000 for a larger dog. Wilson knows of a Weimaraner that chewed up $3,500 worth of Sport Utility Vehicle dashboard. "Sometimes a tail takes out a whole table, and then you have broken china, red wine stains," he says. "Nobody takes that into account."

I have to ask people some times... what costs less... some dog training or the destruction of an expensive piece of furniture, or a carpet, or your yard?

It is important to realize that dog ownership comes with a price... and it is more than just the purchase price of the dog.

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