The price to pay!

Every now and then, I read about a dog who cannot receive the necessary medical attention, because of a lack of available funds. Every now and then I hear about a dog that was turned into a shelter because it needed medical attention. Every now and then I come across a GoFundMe account which is designed to cover a dog’s medical expenses.

Dogs, like children, can be quite expensive. I really don’t see that statement as being earth shattering, so why do so many people not factor their financial situation into the dog adoption decision making process?

Dogs, like children, are almost certainly going to need medical attention at some point in their lives, and those bills are probably not going to be covered by a country’s health plan!

Dogs, like children, are going to be eating regularly throughout their life, and may even require special foods at times.

Dogs, like children, are going to require regular medical check-ups however, unlike children, their costs are not covered unless you have pet insurance.

I have been going through the vet bills during Ray’s first few months with us, and some interesting facts presented themselves.

A checkup which included blood screening, vaccinations, fecal examination etc. totaled well over $500.00. We have a number of bills very close to $1000.00 from his heartworm treatment. He has been on anxiety meds ever since he came home with us, which are a lower cost from our regular pharmacy than buying from the vet, but they are still quite expensive. We have to periodically get ear drops for him as he is prone to ear infections. He lets us clean his teeth and clip his claws, and we groom him regularly, so costs are minimal there.

Whereas Ray’s heartworm treatment was a major expense, and while many dogs may never get the condition (although it is on the increase), he has not broken any bones to date, and he has not eaten anything that presented internal issues which necessitated an emergency vet visit, and he has not chipped any teeth! So many other dogs are not so lucky!

If you, or anyone you know, is contemplating adopting a dog, please ensure that there is a realistic grasp of what costs could well be incurred, and either budget accordingly or take out pet insurance.

It is very sad when a family pet needs medical attention, but there is no available money to pay for it. It is sad when a dog has found its perfect home, and is then taken to a shelter because its owners cannot afford the necessary treatment.

It is really not difficult to compare the money “coming in” against the money “going out”, and see what remains in a typical month.

If you have done the math and taking care of a dog is going to stretch your finances a little, then please consider delaying that adoption decision. It is so important to remember that while you may have all the desire necessary to take care of a dog, that desire will not be paying the inherent bills that will be forthcoming. Surely it would be better to stall the dog adoption idea until your financial circumstances improve, rather than rush into it and possibly jeopardize the dog’s future by having to give it up?


33 thoughts on “The price to pay!

  1. I suspect that you have “ruffled some fur” today! You make very valid points that many fail to consider prior to obtaining pets. This can only lead to sorrow for the owner and more sadly for the pet. Thought and planning are essential…beforehand, not after. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A good point Colin. I think many people are taken in by the excitement of getting a puppy and don’t think of the expense down the line.
    Here in CT there are many poor people with dogs in townships. There are free clinics and meds available for their dogs at many rescue centres. If you want to adopt a dog there, but have little money, there are some dogs you can adopt for free and all vets bills will be taken care of at the centre. So here at least, there are ways for people to still give a home to a dog in need, even if they themselves are not well off. It still helps the centre by making space for another homeless dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the key difference though …. in CT the dog’s medical bills are accommodated given the right circumstances. We do have vets that will “bend” as necessary, and our Humane Society did help us out with Ray’s initially high medical bills … but the vet has to cover his/her costs in order to stay in business, and a shelter that is totally dependent on voluntary financial support must be very careful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You make a valid point Colin. However, none of us has any idea what financial crisis may lie ahead. Most of us probably ‘think’ we’re financially solvent until some costly situation arises and we realize we were wrong.

    It’s a sad state of affairs, but it would be even sadder to stop adopting pets because we don’t know what the future holds….we only know what we have right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ginger. Amy made much the same Comment, and I totally agree with both of you. However, because we cannot predict what life has in store for us in the future, should not prevent us from assessing our financial situation based on our current commitments and expenses.

      We could compare the situation with renting/owning our home. We sign an agreement based on our “today’s knowledge” that we can meet the obligations. Nobody would suggest not getting a home because one cannot predict the future, and I would not suggest not adopting a pet either. What I am suggesting is to review ones financial situation to ensure that pet ownership is a financially realistic step to take. If it is going to be a struggle “today”, then it could well be disastrous “tomorrow”.


  4. Good points Colin. Maggie has been fairly cheap to run over the years, but the past six months have seen our doggy fund hit twice with bills over the ยฃ200 mark. We are on a fixed income, but I am good at budgeting, and Maggie comes into that category, so I have been building it up again. As she gets older, we expect more things would trouble her and so plan accordingly. It’s not a bottomless pit and will always come down to quality of life. Hopefully we will never find ourselves in a position where we can;t pay for any treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully not Di, but there are avenues which can be pursued if things get really “tight”. My frustration is with people who have no available cash flow, and yet adopt a “cute puppy” who is guaranteed to generate additional expenses of food, medical bills and (hopefully) professional training guidance.


      • I agree wholeheartedly. Some people have no concept that those cute puppies can grow to be quite large, and thus need sensible feeding, exercise and socialising too. It’s not the dog’s fault if they get ill and some vets here are prepared to stagger the bill so that it’s more affordable. When Maggie had her mammary strip in 2015, we were house sitting for MSM and she actually paid us, so it was covered, though we did have sufficient funds to pay anyway so it was nice to have that cushion. Since we cancelled Maggie’s insurance, I’ve put the ยฃ200 a year ‘fee’ into the doggy fund for emergencies. Her annual jabs are already catered for without touching it.

        Liked by 1 person

          • I’ve got no curly pieces of paper, but figurework is basically what all of my adult jobs entailed. I loved my job as a financial analyst (again, nothing on paper to prove I could do the job I did) as it was an indepth scrutiny of the balance sheets.
            I enjoy it and setting myself little challenges to improve things or save a few bob here and there. Hopefully I’ll soon have enough for my new cooker! But I also have to have enough for new worktops and the gas guy to come and connect it. I’ll get there!!

            Liked by 1 person

  5. I think what you have failed to consider is that life conditions may change: loss of a job, unexpected medical expenses for the owner, etc. It’s just not so cut and dried.
    Case in point: When Lexi was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my husband had been out of work for two years, picking up any odd jobs he could get, and I had just lost my main income, leaving me working only 3 days a week plus any temp work I could get. Although we were ready to mortgage the house if it would have saved Lexi, we will be forever thankful for the help our blogging friends gave us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All good points Amy.

      My intent was to stress the importance of those situations that are predictable and which can be valued. i.e. there is no reason why a couple cannot total their net income, and deduct their rent/mortgage, taxes, food and clothing average, vehicle fuel, taxes and insurance etc. etc. If they find that they are breaking even at the end of each month, or living on credit, then an additional financial responsibility would make little sense.

      Yes, there are certainly many circumstances in our lives which cannot be predicted, but there are also so many that can, and I would suggest that it is better to plan around what you can … rather than not plan at all.

      Liked by 1 person

    • A friend who is a vet can be a great asset however, for people like us who do not have a vet in our social circle, it is not difficult to develop a courteous and productive relationship. Our vet supported our request for assistance from our Humane Society re Ray’s heartworm bills. They have recently charged us for a brief check of Ray, and said that they would reduce his annual checkup cost proportionately. They also supported us not buying his meds from them! Ray’s healthcare is still not low cost, but at least we can work together with the vet to keep them reasonable.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good post. It’s tough on any pet to return them to a shelter especially if it’s after their youth when they are most adoptable. Basic maintenance goes a long way to keeping a pet healthy. One of our “granddogs” required surgery for hip dysplasia. Cha-ching, cha-ching but it was a very loved dog and he lived several years afterward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s it isn’t. At some point during it’s life, it will likely run into an expensive medical condition, and when even routine checkups are a significant cost, the financial responsibilities of looking after a dog must be taken seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

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