How much does it cost to own a dog?

pets are wonderful

Owning a dog is unique

Ready to get a dog for the Holidays?

Let’s face it: a world without pets is an empty one. I recently heard on 680news the question:

“If you had a chance, would you rather spend your time with people or your pet?”

That’s an important question. For us veterinarians in Markham the answer is quite easy… I think you guessed it. But not only vets love pets: You can’t go anywhere without running into a pet, be it at the local park, a café, or your neighbor’s front yard.

People of all ages love to show off their pets, plastering images of Fido or Snowball on shirts, mugs, pillows, and keychains. They might even push their furry friend around in a stroller on warm summer days. We are proud of them. They make our lives special.

If you don’t own a pet (but really, really want one), seeing so many happy owners can be torture. You want to get the ball rolling and head to the nearest shelter ASAP.

Your kids need a play buddy and you need somebody to sit and watch TV with you. It’s win-win.

But hold on. Are you truly ready for a pet? Do you know what you’re getting into?

There’s more to pet ownership than hugs and kisses. As any Markham vet knows, pet ownership has a “dark” side. And by dark side, we mean responsibility. It is responsibility for a lifetime of the pet. Buying a pet out of impulse and without proper preparation is a setup for failure. That’s why our shelters are so full.

Buying a pet to make Christmas special for their kids is a BAD idea.

You need to know much it costs (both financially and time-wise) to properly care for a pet?

Let’s say you want a dog.

The OSPA and OVMA have listed expected costs and care requirements for prospective dog owners.

Here are just a few things you’d have to deal with:

1.      Daily walks. Dogs have to be walked at least twice a day. Many people think it’s enough to let Fido into the yard for a few minutes so they can do their “business” and trot back in. However, this won’t provide your dog with adequate exercise (or opportunities to have fun). Your veterinarian can help you come up with a schedule or plan that works for your family. Cost: $time

2.      Just like you, dogs need their teeth cleaned and hair brushed regularly. Cost for tooth brushing … your time and effort plus $20 for toothpaste etc.

3.      Frequent trips to the groomer ensures their nails and coat won’t grow too long, either. $55-80 every few months

4.      Dogs need enough space to move and play. If you want a large dog, remember that small living spaces won’t work for them. Would a Saint Bernard be comfortable in a one room apartment? If you have a yard, get a fence.

You also have to pay for:

  • Toys  Cost per year: $55
  • Food Cost per year: $600-700
  • Vet visits (a veterinary clinic helps you keep your dog content and healthy) Cost per year $300-800
  • Training (if applicable) $200
  • Pet sitters (for vacations or long absences)
  • Dog walkers (if applicable)
  • Collars, leashes, bedding, carrier, seatbelt, poo-bags etc. $200

Puppies have to learn not to pee in the house. They may chew and destroy possessions, too. As for adult dogs, while many are housetrained by the time you adopt them, some may have rough pasts and require special care and attention.

We leave it up to you to add the numbers. If you do, you have shown the first step in qualifying for a pet. So please do your homework. Don’t go out and just get a pet without knowing what to expect..

Dog ownership is rewarding, but it also comes with responsibilities. Before you adopt a pet and take them to your veterinarian for a checkup, make sure you’re prepared.


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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Fear Free Certified Practitioner

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.). We pride ourselves to provide cost effective veterinary medicine and give you options for treatments. Some may think our services as cheap, but our goal is to give good value.

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.







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