I’m in confessional mode today, thanks to House of Two Bows, who goes so far as to publish her dogs’ expenses every month. Our September expenses were positively outrageous, even by our standards, so I am not going to follow suit exactly.
People talk very little about the financial side of owning pets. Most Americans don’t like to talk about money. Many choices we make with our dogs, from food to toys to veterinary care, are a reflection of our own lifestyles and income brackets. Optional items bought for pets can seem like waving a big flag: “Look at Me! I have so much extra money that I spend it on my dog.” Unless you are deliberately using your pet as a vehicle for conspicuous consumption, like a movie star or socialite, that can be a little uncomfortable.
I sincerely believe that most Americans would be better off, both emotionally and financially, if money weren’t such a taboo. Hence the following rambles about our dog finances:
The fact is, we spend a lot of money on Silas. This is partly optional, partly not. We don’t have kids. We drive paid for cars. We consider it to be living fast and loose if we eat out once a week. So why not spend some money on the dog? He has a few $25 toys. He wears a $60 leather collar. His dog bed is the $150 model from LL Bean. None of those are regular purchases, but they’re there. (The dog bed was his Christmas gift last year; the collar was his first birthday present. He’s gentle enough with toys that nice ones are worth the investment. [See how intensely I feel like I have to hedge? And you all are a sympathetic audience.])
Silas is also just a fairly expensive dog, in a day-to-day, non-traumatic, kind of way. I’m not complaining, just stating the facts. His average vet bill is right at $120, not including neutering. That’s a real number, not a guess. So far this year we have been to the vet in March, April, May, June, August, and September. At one point his special food was costing us $250 a month. His raw diet is pretty economical in comparison–quick and easy math puts it around $60 a month–but it’s still more expensive than the top-of-the-line kibble he ate before, which was closer to $40/month. That $60 is before I add supplements, which add up really quickly, or treats. Fortunately we come off easily in the medication department. Silas doesn’t need regular flea control, and his heartworm medicine is fairly cheap. The cost of his food allergies is reflected entirely in his diet, unless he has a bad skin flare up.
I’m sorry I only have observations right now, rather than a grand conclusion.