Owning a pet was easy in the Philippines. You get a pet: buy it from a reputable pet store / breeder, adopt one from family, friends or a neighbor or pick one off the streets (which we did a lot). Feed it: your choice of table scraps or pet food off the animal feed store. Play and walk with it whenever you have the time. Let the househelp deal with the dirty jobs like giving it a bath, scooping the poop and cleaning the kennel. Occasionally bring it to the vet, mostly during emergency situations.
I was that kind of pet owner. Too busy to really care. Maybe even irresponsible (sadly), highly dependent on other people.
But in America, I learned that owning a pet is so much more than giving love. Duh. It costs money (like most dreams do). Let me tell you what you need to budget for when you decide to get a dog in the US.
The initial cost of the fur baby.
We initially wanted to buy from a reputable breeder, which would set us back around $700. Even if you adopt a dog, there are corresponding rehoming fees that range from $25 to hundreds of dollars. Good thing we got Obi for free. Yes, we paid ZERO DOLLARS. We were extremely lucky.
The veterinary costs.
Like human health care costs, as witnessed by me in a pocket burning dental procedure, pet health care costs is expensive. Costs you need to consider when having a pet include spay / neuter (Obi came neutered already. Whew!), vaccinations (rabies – every 3 years, DHPPC – annual, Bordetella – annual), heartworm test, stool test and dental cleaning (it was recommended that we get Obi’s teeth cleaned every year).
America really takes the cake for being the insurance capital of the world. Imagine that apart from renter’s insurance, car insurance, health, dental and vision insurance, they have pet insurance. Da hell, right? We don’t have that though. I made a computation and realized that the payment would cost more than the routine stuff. So Obi, please behave and do not get into any accidents. If you can.
If you are an apartment dweller like we are, most likely, your landlord will need to know if you have a pet and may charge you extra for it. It will come in either a refundable deposit plus a one time fee or a deposit plus a monthly fee ranging from $10-$15. This will set you back a couple of hundreds a year or per lease.
Yes, you will be required by the city to register your pet, which will sometimes be required by your apartment. Oh, our city registration required us to submit Obi’s rabies vaccination certificate, which also indicates that he is neutered. See how all these costs are related?
Heartworm is one of those things that you just have to be wary of. A single mosquito bite, which carries the worms, can send your fur baby to its death, so Obi has his monthly treat flavored heartworm preventative. The medicine is a prescription med that you can get from your vet or online with a prescription.
Flea & tick prevention.
One of our family pets back in the Philippines actually passed away because of a bad tick problem. And I don’t want this to happen to Obi. Or get a flea & tick infestation inside the apartment. Gah! So we do have the monthly topical flea & tick medicine, plus home spray (I chose a natural alternative which smells clove-y and pepperminty). Next year I will definitely amp it up with a heartworm and flea & tick preventative combo, which will cost additional in money for peace of mind and general cleanliness and apartment upkeep.
Thank God that Obi is not maselan to grooming unlike other breeds like the poodle, shih tzu, shetland sheepdog, etc. Maybe once or twice the year at most. BUT corgis are power shedders, so I had to buy a deshedder brush (I use Furminator that I bought off eBay) to remove stray undercoat hairs. BTW I do brush Obi’s coat everyday. Speaking of grooming, this includes teeth cleaning. Yeah, yeah. Some people opt of toothpaste and toothbrushes, while other choose to use more specie specific methods via bone chewing. How could I even forget dog shampoo and / or conditioner?
When the pet gets lost, you want it to be found. So you will provide identification such as microchip (a grain sized chip that contains your pet’s information including your contact details, which is embedded in the animal’s skin via a surgery) and / or a pet tag to be attached to the collar / harness.
You cannot leave your dog’s doodie behind. Our city requires that we pick up after our pets. Makes sense. So you do need to allocate budget for pet poo waste bags.
I don’t know how to lump all of these things together, so I will just classify them as stuff. Like collars, harnesses (I got Obi one because he is a puller when we go on walks. I don’t want to strain his neck), leash (Obi came with both retractable and fixed leashes), booties (Okay, I have not gone that far), life jacket, pet bed, crate, food / water bowl and whatever things you need that will fit you and your pet’s lifestyle.
Food and water.
Of course, you have to feed and hydrate your dog. That’s the most basic right?Some people even go as far as giving vitamins and supplements just like humans do.
Whew! That was a mouthful. A lot to take in noh? I think I even missed a couple of stuff. Feel free to add in.
But even if Obi does cost us an additional in our budget, I think that the joy that he brings in our daily lives – from the moment we wake up to the second before closing our eyes to sleep – is priceless.