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Select a Dog

Title: Select a Dog

Description:

Owning a dog is a big responsibility!

The following questions need to be carefully considered and honestly answered before making the decision to become a dog owner

Have I the time to care properly for a dog?

Your dog will need daily exercise and training as well as grooming, feeding and quality time with you.

What is the cost of owning a dog?

Choosing to become a dog owner is a big decision and it’s important to understand the financial commitment involved before purchasing a pet.

The Animal Health Alliance’s report ‘Pet Ownership in Australia 2013’ estimated the average annual cost of ownership as $2,275 per dog. Their estimate was based on the following costs:

Item

Dogs

Pet food

$ 382

Veterinary services

$ 308

Pet healthcare products

$ 140

Clipping/grooming

$ 159

Products or accessories

$ 78

Pet insurance

$ 206

Boarding/minding

$ 167

Competitions/memberships

$ 143

Training behaviour/therapy

$ 119

Walking

$ 95

Transport

$ 82

Pet purchases

$ 313

Other

$ 83

Total per year

$2275

 

Bankwest’s ‘Family Pooch Index’ estimated that the average family spends $2,452 annually on owning a dog (in addition to $585 initially spent on purchasing the dog). The RSPCA NSW estimates that a dog costs between $2,350 and $5,220 in the first year of purchase, with the ongoing cost being a minimum of $910 per year.

The above estimates suggest that the cost of owning a dog may range from $910 to $2,452 per year. A dog can live up to 15 years, so the lifetime cost of owning a dog is a considerable budget commitment which may range from $13,650 to $36,780.

Examples of the costs involved in owning a dog include:

  • Pet food
  • Veterinary services
  • Council registration fees – in South Australia dog registration is compulsory and may cost between $30 and $72 each year
  • Microchipping
  • Desexing
  • Pet insurance - CHOICE’s ‘Pet insurance buying guide’ suggests the cost of pet insurance ranges from $130 up to $1300 per year, depending on factors like the pet’s age and level of cover chosen
  • Grooming
  • Health care products
  • Toys and accessories

These estimates don’t comprehensively estimate every cost of owning a dog, however they provide a good indication of the kinds of expenses involved and the lifetime costs of owning a dog. It is important to make an informed choice when purchasing a dog and carefully consider the lifetime financial commitment owning a pet involves.

Can I afford the registration costs?

Annual dog registration fees with your local council, while not expensive compared with the cost of proper care, should still be taken into consideration.

Can I afford the veterinary costs?

Your dog should have annual vaccinations, regular worm treatments and any other health care treatments, all of which take time and money.

Is my property suitable for keeping a dog?

Properties containing dogs should be fully fenced, preferably with high fences that are strong and fitted with lockable gates. Your dog must have clean bedding and access to proper shelter from the heat and the cold.

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Selecting the right dog

How do I choose the right dog?

Ensure that the dog you choose is a good fit with you, your family, and your lifestyle.

What breeds are available?

There are approximately 170 breeds of dog available in South Australia. If you are thinking of purchasing a dog, visit a dog show or an obedience-training club to see different breeds in action. Speak to owners and breeders who know and understand the requirements of various breeds.

For advice and assistance in the choice of a suitable dog, contact your local dog club, veterinarian or animal shelter.

Can I adopt a dog?

There are always dogs available from the various animal shelters throughout the state, which need loving homes. These organisations will be only too happy for you to ’adopt‘ your new pet at a very reasonable cost.

When adopting a dog from a shelter, it is important to consider all the issues above and not to adopt a dog simply because it looks cute. Listen to the shelter staff and heed their advice. Remember dog ownership is a long-term commitment.

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