How to own a dog on a budget and what breed to get
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How to own a dog on a budget
So you really want to get a dog, but you have a small budget for keeping it. So you need to know how to own a dog on a budget. Dogs are so expensive to buy, look after and feed. Or are they? Well not really. Depending on where you get it from and the breed you go for, you can certainly get a dog that will be budget friendly.
There are many things to consider when getting a budget friendly dog. If you make the right choices, then you can certainly have a dog that will not break the bank to own.
Not every dog breed requires expensive grooming and pampering, special dietary requirements, or known health issues with expensive vet bills.
Where to get your dog from?
In the old days, a pet shop would have probably been your first choice when getting a dog. These days pet shops are evolving into places that do not really sell the actual animals and are more focused on things like accessories, food, etc. There are still pet shops selling animals, but they are getting less and less as time goes on. You would be looking at quite a sizeable amount of money to get a dog from a pet shop.
Dog breeders are in two different camps. The good ones and the bad ones. The problem is the bad ones can be hard to detect for someone who is inexperienced at buying dogs. Bad dog breeders are in it just for the money and the dogs themselves are secondary. These types of breeders are best avoided at all costs. Good dog breeders do exist and they are good if you have to have a puppy. Check out our article on Buying a puppy.
The cheapest and best way to get a dog is always going to be from a dog rescue centre. They normally have a decent selection of dogs and there are lots of rescue centres all over the country. The payment for a dog from a rescue centre will normally be some sort of donation that should not break the bank. Check out our article on Dog rescue centres.
A puppy or an adult dog?
An important choice that needs consideration is if you are going to get a puppy or an adult dog. A puppy will always be cute and adorable, but it will end up costing more to own.
When you get a puppy, there are lots of things to do, as you are getting a dog at the beginning of its life. All of the following things required, unless some of them are already done prior to you getting the puppy.
- Chip implant.
- Vet visits.
- Miscellaneous health treatments.
- Health checks.
- Special dietary requirements.
All of the above things alone will not cost the earth, but if you need to get all of them done, then it can soon add up. A puppy should have regular health checks at the vet for the first 1 – 2 years. This is to ensure that it is fit and healthy with no problems.
If you go for an adult dog, then you can avoid most of the above. Depending on the breed, a dog will be an adult from 1 – 2 years. So you could still be getting a dog with lots of life ahead of it.
With all the important things done already and the vet visits will reduce to about one a year, assuming the dog has no health issues.
An adult dog will be less fussy about its food with a good diet, and depending on the breed it can also eat human food scraps as well as regular dog food.
If on a tight budget, then getting an adult dog will make a lot of sense.
Pet insurance and vets
One thing to consider when owning a dog, is that it is inevitable that you will need to visit the vet. It might be just for an annual health check, or maybe your dog has some health issues that need attention. Vet bills these days are not cheap and if you are having some health issues seen to, then it can soon add up.
Pet insurance is a way to counteract these expensive vet bills. There are many choices with pet insurance, and you need to do your research and choose the policy wisely.
You will make regular monthly payments for the insurance, and then if you get a vet bill, you will be able to claim off of the insurance. As mentioned already, there are many choices and polices that offer all sorts of different cover. Attention to detail here is very important.
Also worth noting is that there are dog breeds that have more health issues than other breeds. You may find pet insurance will cost more for these breeds, or you may not be able to get cover at all.
So going for a regular dog breed would make more sense that a special breed that is more costly to own. And a special dog breed might not get good pet insurance cover or maybe none at all.
Training and obedience
If you opt for a puppy, then training it will be high on your priority list. This will be a lot of work and will require a lot of your time. If you have a busy lifestyle, then a puppy might not fit in well, with the attention it will need from you.
If you do go for a puppy, then there are some choices for training it. You can go to special dog training centres and have expert guidance. This is obviously going to cost a fair bit of money to do.
The alternative, is that there is a wealth of information out there on how to train your dog yourself. If the have the time and the patience to do it, then there is no reason why you cannot train your dog yourself and save a load of money in the process.
Different breeds of dogs will require different types of food. Some breeds are more fussy than others and might want more specialised food that will cost more money. A regular breed will be happy with regular dog food and also human food scraps.
A puppy will need a special diet until it becomes an adult. This might mean no human food scraps at this stage. So everything will be puppy food.
Also the size of the dog will determine how much it will eat. A smaller dog will eat a lot less than a larger more active dog. So food bills will vary depending on this.
This is a good thing to consider. Depending on the dog breed you go for, they will require different amounts of upkeep with their coat to keep them healthy and looking smart.
Some breeds shed hardly at all and other breeds will shed like crazy. Breeds with long coats will require a lot of grooming and this is for their health as well as their appearance. Depending on the breed, grooming could be quite often and maybe by a professional company if you are unable to do it yourself.
What breed to get
So the last thing to consider is what dog breed you would like to get. Obviously a rescue centre will not have every breed going, so you might not always have the best choice. Or you might have to travel to a rescue centre further away. It is best to have a number of choices, so you have something to fall back on if your first choice is not available. Lets check out the different dog breeds that are easy on the money to own.
Beagles are a medium size dog but do not cost a fortune to feed. Their coats are short with little shedding and require not much grooming. Known for good health with just a few things they can suffer from.
Bichon Frise dogs are a small size dog and will not eat too much. Their coat will require regular grooming, but with practise, you should be able to do this yourself. A good track record for being healthy.
Bolognese dogs are a small size dog and will not eat you out of house and home. With a long coat, they will need frequent brushing, but nothing too specialised. With a good health record, they should not cost a lot in vet bills.
Bullmastiff dogs are a large dog and will eat more than the other dogs here. With a short coat, the grooming front should be minimal. There are some health issues, and you can check with the breeder about its parents if going down this route.
Bull Terriers are a medium size dog and should not eat too much food. With a nice short coat, their grooming needs are minimal. They have a good health record and should not pose many problems.
Cane Corso dogs are a medium size dog and will eat a little more than the smaller dogs here. With a short coat, grooming will be minimal. Not many health issues to be too concerned about.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are a small dog and will not eat a ton of food. They have a long coat, but grooming requirements are not too difficult. There are some health issues, but nothing too serious to worry about.
Chihuahuas are a small dog and will not require much food to keep them happy. Despite some of them having a longer coat, they do not require much work on grooming them. There are some health issues as they get older, but healthy ones can reach 20 years old.
Miniature Dachshunds are a small size dog and will only require a small amount of food. With a nice short coat, grooming needs are minimal. Not too many health issues to worry about.
English Foxhounds are large dogs and will eat more than a smaller dog, so expect to buy more food. With a short coat frequent brushing required, but nothing much more than that. Known to be very healthy with few issues.
Feist dogs are a small to medium size dog and will not eat too much compared to a larger dog. Grooming is easy with simple maintenance. Known for their good health but being very active can make them susceptible to injuries.
Glen Of Imaal Terrier
Glen Of Imaal Terriers are a small dog with a small appetite. With a fairly long coat, they do not need complex grooming and most people will be able to do this themselves. No real health issues to run up vet bills.
Jack Russells are a small dog and will not eat all your food. Known to be friendly to their owners and their wallets. With a short coat, there is not much needed on the grooming front. As a puppy, they will need good training, and this will cost a lot if you go down the professional route. No major health issues to worry about.
Labrador Retrievers are a large dog and will eat more food than most of the dogs here. Grooming needs are minimal with a short coat. Health issues are not too bad and not a lot to worry about.
Maltese dogs are small and will have a small appetite. With their long coat, they might look like a lot of work, but simple brushing and clipping if needed is fairly simple. Not too many health issues to worry about.
Manchester Terriers are a medium to large size dog and food bills should not be too expensive. With a short coat, they do not need specialised grooming. Minimal health issues given a good diet.
Miniature Schnauzers are a small size dog and will not eat too much. With their long hair they will need grooming, but this is quite easy. Known for being a healthy breed.
Puggles are a medium size dog and should be fairly cheap to feed. With a short coat, there is not a lot of work needed to keep it in order. There should be no major health issues to worry about.
So with lots of things to consider here, it can be friendly on your wallet to own a dog. Choosing the right breed will greatly help with how much it will cost to keep. The main things that will cost money to own a dog are vet bills, food and grooming.
Vet bills will be a thing with all dogs, but some breeds are more susceptible to health issues than others. Sticking with a breed that has a good known health track record will reduce vet bills, but not avoided completely. Pet insurance is good to combat these bills, and a good healthy breed will be easy to insure.
Food will be dependant on the size of the dog and if it requires a special diet that could cost more than regular food. More active dogs will burn more energy and can require more food.
Grooming can be a problem with some breeds and requiring a lot of work or even professional help. But even with high maintenance breeds, it should be possible to learn how to do it yourself.
If you get a puppy, then you need to factor in training. With research you can do this yourself, but some breeds are more problematic than others and you might need professional help.
As we champion here a lot, getting a dog from a dog rescue centre will be the best route to take and also the cheapest way to get a dog. Pet shops and breeders will certainly charge a lot more money.
So with some careful thought and planning, you can get a dog and keep it on a fairly tight budget without it bankrupting you.