Many families across the U.S. have been using their extra time at home during the pandemic to adopt a dog. And why not? Dogs are a great way to add a little more fun to your daily life, especially when you can't see friends and extended family.
Of course, it's important to remember that you can't impulse-adopt a dog. It's important both for the dog's wellbeing and your budget that you're well-prepared for your new furry friend. That said, here are a few tips you can use to prep your finances and your home for a new puppy.
1. Don't adopt before you have the funds
Adopting a dog costs more than just the adoption fee. You want to be sure that you not only have enough money saved up for veterinary costs, food costs, grooming costs, and toy costs but also for any potential veterinary emergencies and aftercare costs. Take a hard look at your budget, too, to decide whether you can actually afford a puppy outside of your savings. Even if you have enough funds saved for the costs we've listed above, if you need to pinch and save just to add to that budget, it might be a better idea to delay getting a dog until you can really afford it.
2. Opt to adopt if you can
Adopting is a great way not only to save the life of a dog (adoption gives room for more dog rescues) and it's also a great way to make getting a dog more affordable. Oftentimes, getting a puppy from a breeder can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the breed. However, adoption fees are typically only a few hundred dollars and they cover the cost of vaccinations and neutering/spaying.
Of course, sometimes you may need to buy a puppy from a responsible breeder if you need a dog that's able to meet specific needs. For instance, if you have a family member who's allergic to fur and you need to adopt a dog that's hypoallergenic, you may have a better chance of finding one from a breeder.
3. Build costs into your budget in advance
A great way to start preparing for a puppy is to act as if you already have a puppy. Calculate the expenses you would be spending on a dog every month and build those costs into your budget. Set aside the costs in a savings account to help you prepare for unexpected costs later down the road like vet fees.
4. Clear out your backyard
The most budget-friendly way to prepare your home for a dog is to clear out any clutter that's in your home or in your backyard. Your new puppy is like a child -- they need plenty of room to run around and you don't want to leave anything that could be easily damaged lying around.
For a dog-friendly backyard, make sure that your grass lawn is ready for some playtime activity. Hydroseeding is the fastest, most cost-effective way to seed your lawn because quality grass typically grows within seven days. Another cost-effective way to make your yard dog-friendly while also increasing your home's value by 14% is to keep any trees and shrubs in your yard well-maintained so foliage is soft and safe for your pet.
5. Reuse and recycle what you can
While you can't cut corners on a lot of dog expenses, there are a few costs you can curb by buying used products like dog food containers, crates, carriers, and food and water bowls. Just make sure that you clean these items thoroughly after you've purchased them. Items that are better off bought new include toys, collars, and leashes.
It's no secret that it's expensive to get a dog. But with the right preparation, you can make saving up for a new furry friend a little less stressful.