Frugal Fido: How To Minimize Your Dog's Veterinary Expenses

Posted on: 13 March 2015

Dogs are often more expensive than what new owners expect. While no dog is guaranteed to live a long and healthy life, you can minimize your potential veterinary expenses if you take these two things into consideration:

Mixed Breed or Purebred?

Mixed breed dogs are overwhelmingly cheaper to own than their purebred counterparts. For starters, the base price of buying a mixed breed is usually lower than the purchase price of a purebred. Mixed breeds are frequently available at animal shelters for adoption fees as low as $10, although the adoption fee is usually more because of pre-adoption expenses. These expenses range according to the additional care that the dog needs prior to adoption, like neutering, de-worming, and vaccinations.

Purebreds, on the other hand, average $500 to $1,000. Certain breeds, like bulldogs, cost even more because of special breeding needs. You can still find a purebred at an animal shelter; however, only about 25% of shelter pooches are purebred. You can also find cheaper purebred dogs through rescue organizations.

Overall, mixed breed dogs are healthier than purebred dogs. This is because of a phenomenon scientists call "hybrid vigor." Mixed breeds inherit their genes from at least two gene pools, so recessive genes, which are commonly responsible for debilitating inheritable disorders, do not surface. On the other hand, approximately one in four purebred dogs have a hereditary disorder because of over-breeding, which allows the recessive genes to be expressed.

Puppy or Adult?

Adopting an adult dog is usually cheaper than adopting a puppy. Puppies are in higher demand than adult dogs, so the base price of a puppy is usually higher than that of an adult. If you are buying a puppy from a breeder, a large chunk of this base price goes to the expenses that the breeder paid to plan for and have the litter.

Also, when you buy an adult dog, what you see will most likely be what you get. Many hereditary disorders, like hip dysplasia, do not surface until a puppy grows up; thus, you are more likely to know what kind of health conditions--and treatment costs--you are getting into if you buy an adult dog.

When you buy a puppy, you cannot positively predict what kind of health conditions will manifest when your pup matures. Most pet insurance plans will not cover hereditary diseases, so you will be financially responsible if your puppy develops a disorder as an adult.

Even though all dogs need a core set of vaccinations, like canine distemper and parvovirus immunizations, the chances are greater that you will foot the bill for these shots if you bring home a puppy instead of an adult dog. True, adult dogs can slip through the cracks, but you are more likely to find an adult dog that is up-to-date on vaccinations than a puppy.

The Bottom Line

If you are bringing a dog into your family, think about the financial obligation that you are undertaking. All dogs have basic needs like food and toys, but you can minimize your total expenses by thoughtfully considering whether you want a pure or mixed breed and a puppy or adult. In the end, no matter what pooch you select and what health problems your new friend might develop, your dog will more than repay you in love and companionship.

To learn more, contact a company like The Pets Place Animal Hospital with any questions or concerns you have.