San Francisco is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. Owners can take their dogs just about anywhere: to restaurants, into stores, and even on the bus. It seems like I’m surrounded by happy pet owners and their pups at all times, so it’s no surprise that I now have the itch to get a dog. My boyfriend and I are moving to a pet-friendly apartment building later this year, so we’re starting to discuss the possibility of getting a dog.
Before we make a decision, we need to think about the price of adding a dog to our lives. There are the obvious costs of medical care, food, toys and grooming. But we also need to consider some of the “hidden” costs of getting a dog—the expenses that sometimes sneak up on pet owners after they’ve already committed to a new furry friend.
For example, one of my co-workers hired a dog walker to take her pooch out once a week while she’s at work. For those of us who can’t always head home at lunch on a normal workday to take the dog out, this is a pretty big expense. Even hiring a dog walker once a week is pricey! But if you want your dog to be happy and healthy, this is an important service to think about.
Another big expense: boarding your dog if you go away. My boyfriend will be doing some traveling for his graduate program, and I sometimes travel for work. And what if we want to go on vacation? The cost of boarding your dog can add up. Unfortunately, the cost of taking your dog with you when you travel isn’t much more affordable.
And then there’s the cost of adopting the dog itself. Since I’m allergic to most breeds, we only have a few hypoallergenic breeds we can consider. Heading to the local animal shelter will likely yield limited options for us. We may end up having to pay a bit more for the type of dog we want, either through a breeder or a breed-specific rescue organization.
The bottom line: We will probably put off getting a dog for the time being. Right now, both my boyfriend and I need to establish ourselves a little more and clear some space in our daily schedules so we can eventually get a pup. It’s difficult to stick to this decision when I see so many cute dogs out and about each day, but I know our future dog will be better off if we add him or her to our lives at the right financial time.