Dear Paws: A friend of ours recently passed away and left two dogs that need someone to care for them. We’re happy to take them in, but I know we’ll need to adjust our budget to cover their needs. How much does it cost to care for two healthy adult dogs? — Karl in Albany, N.Y.
Dear Karl: First, kudos to you for taking care of your friend’s pets! It’s a selfless act, and transitioning them to your home likely will help ease the emotional impact of losing their owner.
The cost of pet care varies with the type of pet you have, their health and other variables. However, the American Pet Products Association has come up with some average costs for caring for pets.
For dogs, overall care costs average about $1,650 per year, according to Hearst CIO Roger Paschke citing a 2015 APPA report. About half of that amount goes to veterinary care. Pet food purchases take up another big chunk of that annual spending. And owners tend to spend a bit more on toys and similar products for dogs than they do for cats — $47 versus $28 per year.
So, with two dogs, does that mean you’ll be spending twice that amount, or $3,300 for both of them each year? Perhaps. Veterinary costs tend to be non-negotiable, for example — but you could look into purchasing pet insurance to cover unexpected expenses beyond their annual physical and vaccinations. Dogs don’t really need to be festooned with toys, but you do need to purchase a good quality collar and leash for each of them.
By looking at various options for care and hunting for bargains on quality food and toys, you can keep the cost of caring for two dogs within your new budget.
Send your questions or pet care tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.