Dogs with Allergies Are Expensive!

Personal Finance Dog Daphne

I told you the History of Daphne the Dog and how much money you can spend on a pet in a short period of time back in August. As you can likely guess, more expenses have popped up since I am writing about her again! We thought her itching and allergies were getting better at the time but they ended up getting worse… much worse.

What Happened?

She was doing well until the antibiotics ran out and then she started to get worse again. I’ll leave out the nasty details but she was a wreck. Her skin was horrible and she was constantly itching. She would bite her toenails to make them sharp to itch herself which just caused her to wound herself. Once we figured out it wasn’t going to get any better we took her to the vet again.

The vet said it was likely allergies and that we could try the antibiotic again so we went with that. This time it helped a little bit but it didn’t clear her up as much as it did the first time. When they ran out her allergies continued getting worse again. That was a $123.43 visit that didn’t result in any significant long term help.

Still Itching Like Crazy

Daphne continued to itch like crazy and her skin started looking worse and worse. We decided it was time to go to the vet again. We took her in and consulted with the vet yet again and covered all of our bases. The vet did a skin scrape to make 100% sure it wasn’t Mange. It wasn’t, but the test still cost us about $20.  Our dog was miserable and there was one promising, but expensive, option left that would be most likely to help her long term. We decided to get Daphne an allergy test.

Allergy Testing

We had talked to the vet before about allergy testing but wanted to explore our other cheaper options first. Nothing was working though so it was time to go with the allergy test. They drew blood and sent it off to a lab to test for the top 40 allergens in the south eastern United States. The vet prescribed a half antihistamine half steroid drug and more antibiotics to treat her horrible symptoms until the allergy test came back. All of these tests and drugs set us back $429.81 for this visit alone. That doesn’t even include the treatment serum for the allergies.

Allergy Results and Treatment

Three weeks (and another refill of steroid/antihistamine drugs) later the results came back. The allergy testing company made a treatment serum with her top 12 allergies, which were mostly weeds, dust and molds. We now have to give our dog shots every other day for the first few weeks and eventually she’ll get to one shot every 21 days. The serum, which should last a couple months in the beginning and longer when the shots are every 21 days, and the refill cost $190.00. We’re hoping this will desensitize her enough so that she can handle her seasonal allergies without any additional medications.

Total Bill for this Round

Daphne the dog has cost us $724.43 since the original post. Luckily we have money saved up for situations like these. We were able to pay for them without having to go into debt or breaking into our emergency fund. We believe this is money well spent because we don’t want her to live a miserable life. The itching was out of control and if we can do something to make it better we will.

Have you had any large pet expenses lately? If so, how’d you pay for it.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. That little dog is really cute! Sorry to hear she is so expensive. Though not a pet, our daughter was diagnosed with bad allergies earlier this year and that has also been a very expensive ride with weekly shots and treatments. But she is doing a whole lot better and is happier, so the value is priceless.

  2. This is a great topic and something I have not considered. I always assume that my monthly minimum is my rent + utilities. I can always find food somewhere else. But I never took into consideration about feeding/finding shelter for the two cats.

    I thought about this recently too when prepping for the hurricane. I had some bottled water in the fridge for myself but hadn’t thought about making sure there were enough for the cats too. I also hadn’t thought to stock up on cat food and need to buy more of that today.

    I will have to figure out how to accommodate pet emergencies into my own emergency fund. Do you guys have pet insurance? (is that even a thing?)

    • We don’t have pet insurance. It does exist but I would look into it like crazy before purchasing. I bet the people who provide it make a ton of money and most things probably aren’t covered unless completely necessary.

  3. But shes so cute!!
    I was talking to my dogs vet the other day (he has heaps of problems too) and we worked out that Ricky (our dog) has cost us over $7,000 in his short 3 year life so far. But we still love him and I would do it all again, as i’m sure you would and will for Daphne.

  4. Glad she seems to be okay. I’m actually somewhat pleasantly surprised by how affordable the allergy testing and shots seems to be for animals. When I went through it myself, the insurance company was billed I think close to $5,000 for the allergy testing. But I feel for Daphne – Fl is a tough place to live when you’re allergic to mold!

  5. Poor dog. My dog had a skin infection and I still don’t know where it came from. She would just scratch herself like there was no tomorrow. We took her to the vet and of course the bill wasn’t as large as we have her on a plan like doggie health insurance. I don’t know what I would do if both my wife and dog had allergies. I tell people dogs or like children so make sure you can afford them before getting them.

  6. Ouch, that is quite a bill. My in-laws ran into something similar a few months ago. One o their dogs killed a rat and for some reason they had an allergic reaction and their snout swelled up a lot. They had to take him to the vet and had to do a number of things to relieve it. I can’t remember how much exactly they spent, but it was close to your bill.

  7. Whew! $700 is a big pill to swallow. Good thing you love your dog! 🙂

  8. Poor dog- and poor you for having to foot the bill! Of course, it is money well spent as it sounds like she was miserable, but it reinforces my conviction to never own a pet:)

  9. Oh goodness! Daphne is so cute, I shudder to think about that poor baby trying to scratch herself and getting hurt. My dog, Murray, was having lots of stomach troubles, and we had to go back three times before they recommended a hypo-allergenic diet. A simple fix, but yeah…I know where you are coming from.

  10. Tackling Our Debt says:

    Poor sweet Daphne! She is so very cute! I hope the allergy meds help her recover quickly. It is so difficult for animals to be in any sort of pain.

    Yesterday we were at the pet store and several people from the dog shelter were doing a fundraiser. They had a large dog (not sure what type) laying down beside them napping.

    When we were cashing out the dog stood up. He was missing a front leg and he is up for adoption.

    One of the ladies with him said that he can run like crazy and is healthy now, but his leg had to be removed due to an infection. Ouch! It healed very nicely and he looks good but I still felt so sorry for him.

  11. Mandy @MoneyMasterMom says:

    Our pets are part of the family, but their medical bills aren’t covered by the family plan 🙁 Hope your doggy expenditures are done for a little while.

  12. We haven’t had any large expenses with the dogs that we have now, but we are expecting some rather large expenses for our french bulldog to be starting soon. He’s around 4 years old (he’s expected to only live until 7) and is a runt (which just makes it worse for his breed).

  13. My dog did have allergies! It is tough because pets are part of the family and we tend to just accept the high cost. We tried natural treatments to try to give him relief.

  14. Dogs are awesome but man that would be a tough bill to swallow! That’s more than I’ve spent on myself for healthcare this year, haha.

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