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7 Truths about Dog Expenses

Reviewed by Jane Robertson DVM, DACVIM on Thursday, November 13, 2014
Posted November 13, 2014 in New-Dog Checklists

Girl hugging big dog

Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a traveling, board-certified surgeon in Allentown, PA. His website is He is the co-author of “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound” (

AJ Debiasse, a technician in Stroudsburg, PA, contributed to this article.

Pet adoption is one of the most gratifying and worthwhile experiences many of us will ever have. Unfortunately, it can be easy to let yourself get carried away and to adopt a new companion without fully considering the responsibility that is entailed. What follows are 7 financial truths that every dog lover should be aware of.

1. There is no such thing as a free dog
Every veterinary professional will cringe at the words "free dog." There is no such thing. Every animal you adopt will require food, yearly wellness care and possibly unexpected medical expenses. When making the decision to add a new furry family member to your home, you should keep in mind that even the healthiest dog could cost an average of $500 in veterinary expenses each year. Adopting a dog is not something to be taken lightly.

2. Adopting a giant dog is more expensive
Sure, Great Danes and Mastiffs are cool. But if you live on a teacup poodle budget, maybe you can postpone adopting a large dog until you are more comfortable. Most things are proportional in veterinary medicine: big dogs need larger doses of medications and larger amounts of food.

3. Not spaying or neutering can cost you money
Trying to keep costs down by not spaying or neutering your dog is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Spaying your dog eliminates the risk of a life-threatening infection of the uterus called pyometra. In addition, spaying before the first heat cycle can eliminate the risk of breast cancer. Both conditions require — you guessed it — costly surgery.

Neutering your dog eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, helps prevent prostate diseases and reduces the risk of testosterone-driven girl-chasing incidents.

Is anybody really surprised that an un-neutered male dog, who roams off leash, might eventually get hit by a car while running after a cute female?

4. Procrastinating can be expensive
Removing a small skin lump is logically less expensive than removing a mass that is large enough to require its own zip code. In addition, surgery is much less invasive early on.

5. Skipping basic dog care can drastically

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Dr. Phil Zeltzman is a board-certified veterinary surgeon and author. His traveling practice takes him all over Eastern Pennsylvania and Western New Jersey. You can visit his website at, and follow him at