Ever wondered how much it costs to own a dog? Recently we celebrated Woody’s adoption day, marking our first full year together. It’s crazy to think this time twelve months ago I had only just met my little buddy and to see how far we have come! When I first adopted Woody I had no idea how much it would cost to own a dog and for a while I worried a lot about it. I’ve been sifting through bank statements and receipts from the past year and have totted up the totals. Today I thought I’d share with you how much it has cost to own Woody during his first year with me.
Before we go any further, I feel a disclaimer is in order. The figures mentioned in the post are accurate to Woody and I, our lifestyle and budget. Not all the items I have purchased are entirely necessary, in fact many of them are luxury things I wanted to buy but could easily have lived without. Also, due to the nature of my job and our blog here at The Cornish Dog, Woody and I are sent products and free samples to try from time to time. Finally, I’m not the best at keeping receipts (something I definitely learnt creating this post!) but I have tried my best to estimate costs as best as I could. So, without further a do, let’s find out how much it really costs to own a dog!
Prices are accurate as of September 2018.
Adoption Fees: £400
The first purchase you’ll come across when owning a dog, is the initial cost of buying them. I adopted Woody when he was 1 years old. I adopted him privately from his previous owners, who wanted £400 for him. Working Cocker Spaniels are a medium sized dog and as a puppy Woody could have cost me anywhere between £500 and £1,000 depending on the breeder and their location. In Cornwall, Working Cocker Spaniel puppies tend to cost around £600.
Food and Treats: £265.33
One ongoing and fairly frequent purchase for your dog will be their food. Woody and I have been on an interesting journey when it comes to his dinner. Back in January this year, he completely refused to eat! To say he was fussy was an understatement. Fortunately we found the wonderful Guru Pet Food, which Woody has loved ever since. It’s not the cheapest food on the market but the sheer fact that Woody is excited to eat it, makes it worth it to me!
The figure for this category also includes all the treats I can remember giving Woody. I’ve actually cut back on the number of dog treats I give him, as my current budget doesn’t stretch that far. Woody is happy being given his Guru cold pressed food while out on walks, as well as the occasional cube of cheese! I do still buy him Bonios though, as they’re his favourite bedtime treat.
Healthcare and Grooming: £505.54
This category includes vet visits, flea and worm treatment, grooming product purchases and insurance costs over the past year. Fortunately Woody has had a clean bill of health this year, so we haven’t had to make any additional trips to the vet. I did pay for his injections, which had to be restarted because I didn’t know when he was given them as a pup. Pet insurance has been a necessary evil but I know I will be grateful for it if and when I need to claim!
Woody absolutely hates being groomed, he cowers whenever I bring out the scissors. Fortunately we’re working on this slowly, he now tolerates the brush! As a result, I groom him from home and only when it’s entirely necessary. Woody already owned his brushes and scissors, so my purchases in this category have been fairly few! Mostly just ear wipes, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
When you welcome a new dog into your life, you may have to make a few adjustments to your home. I lived in a rented house share when I adopted Woody and agreed with my landlady that I’d install a stair gate. We lived on the ground floor, so I happily agreed and bought one from the supermarket the next day. I also bought Woody two bowls, one for water and one for his food.
Other costs in this category include his bedding. I bought Woody two baskets and cushions in total. The larger one he uses to sleep in occasionally (he definitely sleeps on our bed most nights!) The other I bought to take to work or weekends away. Admittedly, we don’t really use the second, smaller bed but I’m reluctant to donate it because I’d love to foster or adopt another spaniel at some point in the future.
Collars and Leads: £153.49
I’m a little bit ashamed about this category. I’m surprised the figure is so high! Finding Woody the right collar was definitely a challenge and it took me a few months to really get it right. At first, I was set on Woody using leather collars. However, I quickly found out leather and sea water don’t really mix. I also went through the phase of buying light up collars, for our evening walks during Winter. I eventually settled for an LED collar from Amazon*, which I’d highly recommend! It’s taken time but I’ve finally settled on the Ruffwear Hoopie Collar as Woody’s everyday collar. It’s durable, functional and simple in design. I can’t see myself buying any others, unless this one breaks!
Despite spending too much on collars, I have only used two leads. I was kindly gifted our Mable and Merryn leads but would happily repurchase them again. I’ve included the retail price of these pieces in the total for this category, just to give a more realistic end figure.
Contrary to popular belief, Woody isn’t too fanatical about toys. Aside from his beloved Mr Pasty and Kong* at dinner time, he doesn’t really play with any at home. For a while he was obsessed with tennis balls but that soon turned to pebbles and stones at the beach. He’s created a very intricate and complex game with stones, which is quite hilarious to watch. It’s a mixture of digging, dragging and chasing them into the water.
If your dog loves tennis balls as much as my parents’ dog Millie does, I’d highly recommend buying them secondhand. They’re sold in bulk on eBay, often from tennis clubs where they’re no longer usable on court. There’s still plenty of games of fetch left in them though!
Aside from Woody’s collar and leads, these are the items we take out with us every day on walks. This category includes my amazing dog walking bag from The Cosy Canine Company, as well as poo bags and Woody’s Equafleece – a necessity come winter time. Most of these purchases will serve us for years to come and we definitely get our use out of them!
When it comes to poo bags, I could definitely buy cheaper. We currently use BecoPets unscented bags, which claim to be bio-degradable and more environmentally friendly. I used to use cheaper nappy sacks from the local supermarket but I do prefer the thickness and size of these bags!
Adventure Gear: £184.49
The final category is by no means necessary, it’s very much tailored to our lifestyle here in Cornwall. Woody and I have fallen in love with long coastal walks and with exciting adventures on the horizon, I recently bought him his own backpack. After weeks of deliberation I purchased the Ruffwear Palisades Pack* and so far, I’m really impressed! I like that the backpack is detachable from the harness. Woody’s old harness had definitely seen better days, so I saw this purchase as a long term investment.
Collapsible bowls and poo bag holders were also on the list, along with Woody’s pet buoyancy aid. We get plenty of use from it, living by the sea. It was actually one of the first purchases I made for Woody! As I mentioned, we could easily get by without any of the items in this category. However, they all help us enjoy more time and hobbies together, so for me they’re totally worth it!
The Grand Total: £1772.04
If I’ve done my maths correctly (and I sure hope I have!) Woody has cost just under £1800 in his first year with me. I quickly researched the average cost of cocker spaniels over their lifetime and it’s reassuring to know that we are around average with this price! Saying that, I’m hoping to spend less on Woody over the next 12 months. Most of the products I have bought him have been purchased with longevity in mind. So long as Woody remains his healthy, happy self, I can’t see why this figure would increase over the next year!
How much does it cost to own your dog? I’d love to hear in the comments!
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