The cost of unconditional love

My free dog isn’t cheap. Now that the cute little puppy I rescued from a neighbor’s garage has turned into drooling, snarfing, barking dog, he is costing me a bundle.

I was thinking that once I got the large initial costs (such as neutering and buying a crate) out of the way that the expenses would ease up. In reality, here is what I spent on Buddy’s first year at home:

Dog food/treats: $ 580
Boarding: $ 200
Training: $ 400
Vaccines: $ 80
Carpet cleaning: $ 160
Dog Whisperer book: $ 20
Toys, leashes, etc: $ 360
Heartworm pills: $ 50
Licensing: $ 25
Grooming: $ 360
New sod: $ 290
First year at home: $2,525

The average medium sized dog lives to be about 13 years, so I can expect him to cost me a shocking $32,825 not including initial costs or future veterinary expenses for illnesses.

I know that you can’t put a price tag on love, but it does make financial sense to bring awareness to the fact that I am doing more than my fair share to contribute to the $36 billion consumers spend annually on their pets. According to the ASPCA, annual costs to care for a dog ranges from $420 to $780, which includes food and medical costs, toys and treats.

Use this handy spreadsheet to figure out what you are spending on your furry friend. Please feel free to share your results (and cost cutting advice!) through the comments section.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.