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Pet Expenses Can Take you by Surprise


My best friend Zoey had some major surgery last week. She had five non cancer cysts removed from her body, she was put under anesthesia, told she couldn’t eat or drink for 12 hours prior to her surgery, and was unaware of how serous her surgery was going to be. Zoey was so happy the morning of her surgery, she jumped in the car with me and was on her way. Little did she know how serious her day was about to be, Zoey is my 20lbs Cockapoo dog! Pets make a house a home and are 100% part of my family. Zoey is my child and I treat her like one, this means she cost a lot of money just like a kid does. Over the past four years having Zoey she has brought much love and joy, but also a lot of bills. I don’t think the daily food and toys coast a lot of money but the unexpected trips to the vet, training courses, and grooming do! When buying a dog there are so many things people need to consider and money/financial stability is a huge part of that decision. I have a few good tips and stories from my experience owning a dog, that I think could be useful and valuable to people who are planning to get a dog.

First, the price of your dog is nothing compared to the amount of money you will spend over time on them. We bought Zoey from some random lady two hours away from our house. She had Cockapoo puppies for sale in our local area new paper for $300. I knew I wanted a dog buy my spouse was unsure. We went to look at the puppies, one was male and one was female, both were a beautiful Carmel color like we wanted and so fun and sweet just as puppies should be. We couldn’t pull the trigger that night on taking our new puppy home with us, and left empty handed. We discusses the pros and cons of getting a puppy all night, and felt like she was the best dog for us, but we were afraid that is would too hard or crazy for us. I knew in my heart that I wanted this dog and the next morning I called the weird dog lady and told her that I would pick her up around 7 PM that night after work. She proceeded to tell me that because we didn’t leave a deposit for the dog that another family was coming to look at her at 5 PM and if they wanted her she was going to sell them to her. I was so upset that I called my spouse told them I was going to get the dog and drove two hours in the middle of the day to go pick up the puppy. I knew Zoey was perfect for us and I had to have her.

Over the course of the next week or two, we spent tons of money on puppy gates, a crate, toys, and all the essential items a puppy needs. We took her to the vet to get her first check up and shots. The $300 spent to purchase Zoey was nothing compared to the accessories and first vet visits, but we knew what we were getting into so it didn’t faze us. About one month into having our puppy she got really sick with Giardia, and intestinal infection caused by a parasite causing pain and diarrhea… nice right? Well in the middle of the night Zoey was crying in her crate, I ran downstairs to see what was wrong, and my tiny little puppy was covered in her own poop jumping around spreading it all over my floor and her bed! I was not expecting this kind of disgusting mess the first month with my new puppy, but ok….. I proceeded to give her a bath, throw out her soiled blanket and wash the room from top to bottom at 3 AM. I had to let her out every few minutes so she could use the bathroom all through the night, and then the next morning make an emergency vet appointment to get this taken care of. Between the vet visit fee, three medications, and a visit to the groomer I spend hundreds of dollars in just a few days.

Not only does getting a new pet affect your bank account, it also affects your relationship with your significant other.  We were constantly arguing about dumb things, and when Zoey would eat another pair of underwear or socks it was my fault. We would fight about why she chewed the legs of our coffee table, and who was going to walk her in the snow. I was so tired from being up all night with puppy that work was really annoying and I was crabby.  We hardly had sex for the first few months having this new puppy because she consumed our every move and life! At one point we weren’t sure if Zoey was worth all this stress, money, and frustration she was causing. I’ll never forget driving Zoey to my parents’ house and her peeing in the car EVERY time! It was like she was doing it because she was nervous, and cleaning up that mess was annoying and frustrating. I even called the vet to ask what the heck was wrong with her, and the said to train her to drive in the car every day in the neighborhood. So I did what the vet said and overtime it worked, Zoey stopped peeing in the car! But, how many rolls of paper towel and disinfectant sprays did I go through just for this one little quirky thing? I felt like this was never going to end!

Zoey is super hyper, and we knew that she would eventually break a leg from jumping off the top of the deck to chase after a squirrel, or fall off the top of the couch, or maybe even land on her head from jumping circles for her leash. Knowing these scenarios were a possibility given the dog we had, we invaded in pet insurance. Pet insurance sounds crazy, but it’s not! The plan we chose was for accidents up to $10,000 and paid $13 per month. This plan didn’t cover any sicknesses or preventive medicine but it was still worth it for accidental purposes. Fortunately for use Zoey never had to use the pet insurance and we did cancel it after she turned two years old. Reoccurring health conditions are not covered by our pet insurance and the cysts sadly are something we have been dealing with her whole life.

When Zoey turned two years old we noticed skin tags and cysts popping up on her. We would pick at them and try to get them to go away but after time they would grow and became painful for her. We went to the vet and they tried to drain them, and then heal them with bandages, ointment and steroids but that didn’t work. Zoey ended up getting three cysts removed at the age of two and that surgery was $500. When Zoey was three years old more cysts popped up and once again she needed surgery. Since she was going to be under anesthesia again we opted to spend an extra $225 to get her teeth cleaned as well. That surgery cost of $700. Her most recent surgery with five cysts removal and a teeth cleaning cost us $800 and was by far her most painful post-operative experience.

The patches of hair shaved off her fluffy body, the pokey stitches, and the pain in her eyes was heartbreaking when I saw her after her surgery. She wasn’t my happy Zoe Zoe, she as a shell of herself for over 24 hours after. Taking care of sick dog is a lot of work and is very stressful as an owner. Making sure she took her pain medicine, her antibiotic and her steroid were crucial in her recovery. Not being able to give her a bath for two weeks or trim her fur is frustrating, and now that her spirit is back in full swing a week later, I can’t allow her to swim in the pool or go in the lake. Not only to surgeries cost a lot of money but they take a lot out of your dog and your life.

Being prepared for anything is hard, but knowing that life can bring you and your dog unexpected expenses and hardships is crucial in raising a healthy and happy pup. Money doesn’t buy you happiness, but if money can help buy you and your pet another 10 years of life together that brings you both happiness then maybe money does play a role.  When getting a puppy make sure you know that there is much more to a dog than feeding, walking, and playing with them.

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