The History of Daphne the Dog – Pets are EXPENSIVE!

Personal Finance Dog Daphne

Personal Finance Dog Daphne

My girlfriend really wanted a dog ever since she left for college. She grew up with dogs and really missed having one around. Due to housing restrictions she couldn’t have one until we bought our townhouse about a year ago. After we moved in she started begging like crazy and we eventually decided to get a dog.

Shelter Dog

Ironically, she was one of the cheapest dogs we could have gotten from an up front cost standpoint! We got her from animal control in a town a couple hours away for just $15! Upfront costs definitely do not tell the whole story. She was only a small puppy and we had to take her to the vet for a check up right after we got her. She had some scabs from itching herself relentlessly but we figured it would eventually go away now that she was out of the flea pit at the animal shelter. We also had to promise to get her spayed as part of adopting her.

Special Food and Medicine

The fleas did go away but she still remains a very itchy dog to this day. We buy her special dog food that is comprised mostly of fishΒ for dogs with allergies . We can’t give her any type of normal bones because they are made from animals she is likely allergic to. We can’t give her normal dog treats either. Instead we cut up sweet potatoes. We love her but she is a very special dog.

Unfortunately our dog, with all of these special issues, costs us a fair bit of money. The special dog food costs the same price for the largest bag but we only get half as much as a normal bag of dog food. In addition to her likely food allergies she has seasonal allergies and we have to pay $15 a month for allergies pills she eats with every meal.

It Never Ends

Just when you think you have it figured out something else pops up. Her itching had seemed to get better with her new allergy pills but recently her itching flared up again and her skin is even itchier! Allergy season is in full swing here so in addition to food allergies we figure she has seasonal allergies. We try to keep her comfortable but I don’t think there is too much we can do for her.

Things got even worse the when my girlfriend was gone for a week. The day before she got back our dog was unusually lethargic and stayed in her crate all day long. I thought the dog might be depressed that my girlfriend was gone but even when she returned she stayed in her crate much more than usual so off to the vet she went.


The vet didn’t know exactly what was wrong but guessed it was probably allergies in combination with a bug of some sort. He prescribed some antibiotics and said we could run some blood tests to make sure it wasn’t something more serious. The blood tests would have been $75 but we decided to just see if the antibiotics worked first.

Lucky for us they do appear to be working as she is much more energetic and back to her usual self! The vet visit wasn’t cheap though. The visit itself was $42 and we also got some special flea preventative which cost another $79. Add the antibiotics for $20 and you get a grand total of $141 in one visit! That doesn’t even include the Apple computer charged cord she chewed through as a pup.

Long Story Short

Pets are expensive. You almost need a mini emergency fund just for your pet! Β If we didn’t have some cash saved up for random expenses like this it would have been a major stress. Instead it was just an unfortunate drain on our cash but we’re glad she’s OK!

Do you have a pet? Do they cost you a lot more money than you originally thought? Hopefully not, but sometimes unfortunate things happen…


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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. Dogs are definitely expensive, both in time and money. That’s one of the reasons we opted to get Kitty PoP instead of a shelter dog for our first pet. So far he’s been a bargain in our book. We assumed when we got him that he would cost about $1/day, but so far he’s been around $20/month on average. It’s not evenly spread out since his yearly vet checkup is about $100, but we build up his little Kitty budget so there’s plenty in there when that comes around.

  2. I don’t have a dog yet but my cat doesn’t cost too much. We take him to the vet once a year ($45 a visitish) and buy him the multiFrontiline ($15 a month). Plus his food (wet once or twcie a week, plus dry food) and litter. We’re able to spread the cost out and I think he normally runs about $25-30 a month. We also get him treast and stuff. And sadly, I got him hooked onto purified water and he’s a picky kitty now.

  3. Your dog is reallllly cute. And yes, people need to be educated about the cost of dogs!!

  4. Our last 3 dogs were adopted from either rescue or some other organization. We have been lucky, the dogs were/are great. There are costs of owning dogs you just have to accept because what you get from owning a dog is priceless!

    • Our dog loves us that’s for sure, even if she is really whiny.

    • Krant said it best here. You do have to plan for the costs but you can’t put a price on a pet. They really are priceless. I grew up with numerous pets and had some into my adult years too and yes there we some bills that I didn’t want to have to pay. However my pets have given me so much that I would pay again in a heart beat. Glad your puppy is ok. She sure is cute.

  5. I just got a dog and I dithered back and forth a lot about getting pet insurance to cover the costs of things like this! In the end I decided to funnel the money I would’ve been paying for her insurance into my emergency fund, but you’re right, they definitely can get very expensive!

    • I personally think it is a rip off full of holes but you have to make your own decision. Glad you came to the decision you did and are actually saving for the future of your dog!

  6. I wonder if as the dog spends time in your cleaner environment the skin conditions will lessen? Great looking dog.

    • We’ve had her for close to a year so I think the seasonal allergies are the worst. We recently planted grass in the back yard instead of our dirt pit and I think that made it worse…

  7. What a sweetie! Poor thing with the itchiness. Pets aren’t that expensive. Not for how much awesomeness they inject in your life!

  8. Recently, we had to put one of our dogs down because he was too sick. We ran over $500 in tests and they couldn’t find out what was wrong. The next test was $500 on its own, plus they were pretty sure that he didn’t have what they were going to test for. If he did, the medication would have cost us $75/month. Unfortunately, he probably wasn’t going to get better and we weren’t willing to spend any more money with little chance of improvement. We loved him, but we just couldn’t justify that cost.

  9. Dogs are extremely expensive…regardless if you get a shelter dog or not. We have a purebred dog that we purchased from a breeder and they still cost a ton of money to maintain. My wife and I save $70/month for our dog and that covers his food, flea and heart guard medicine, and most of his vet visits.

  10. Lance it sounds like your dog hasn’t even got too expensive yet. I recently had to spend $1000+ on a surgery for one of my cats and now they eat expensive all natural food. I would be careful about giving your dog fish all the time. That may lead to more problems down the road since most fish based pet food is high in heavy metals. Also sometimes it is worth asking for a different vet’s advice.

    • The food was recommended for her so that’s why we’re using it. They can get a lot more expensive for sure but our dog hasn’t been cheap by any means so far.

  11. Haven’t had a dog in years, but seems very expensive if you opt to prolong life in the later years. I’d saying having a pet is an investment on happiness.

    • Definitely an investment on happiness as far as my girlfriend is concerned πŸ™‚ The last few years are the hardest with the decisions you often have to make.

  12. I’m with you. I have two cats, age 16 and 12. With their older age they both require medicine, special food, and more frequent visits. They’re worth it but I shudder to think at the amount I spend per year.

    • It is so hard once they get toward the end of their lives. You don’t want to pay an arm and a leg but you’d do anything to help them.

  13. I’m a farm girl and grew up with dogs, cats, horses, goats, and more. Whenever I heard someone say something silly like “Oh, my dog has allergies,” I would secretly roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of it. Ha. Now I have a four year old border collie mix rescue with a food allergy. I swear I pay more for her food than for my own!

  14. Ornella @ Moneylicious says:

    I guest to an extent dogs are like people—didn’t know dogs could have allergies!

  15. Justin @ The Family Finances says:

    My wife and I adopted a retired racing greyhound in 2008, and he’s been great. Dogs do cost a lot, and his special food (he has kidney issues) costs $75 a month. But he’s worth it. One of my first blog posts was about the costs and benefits of the family pet. You just have to make an informed decision before bringing the pet home.

  16. Yes, expensive, but definitely worth it. But if you don’t account for these expenses, they quickly become a burden. Our dog has always been fed higher quality food, but she is also VERY healthy.

    Thank you guys for picking up a shelter rescue instead of just a pup. There are so many homeless dogs out there, it’d be a shame ot pass them up just to buy form a breeder for super expeisive.

    Our pup’s dad was a rescue who’s foot had been ran over and never treated. They had to end up amputating. Her momma was malnurished, and as they fed her back to health, she kept getting bigger and bigger until they realized she was actually pregnant. Those poor pups were malnourished from before birth, but luckily made it out. We love having our dog, but as you said, be prepared to pay some cash money for the furry critters.

  17. Dogs are certanly very expensive; it is not only their vet bills but also the fact that they can’t stay home alone like cats. We had a dog and everytime we went away her care cost almost as much as our holiday!

    • We’re lucky that we have family in the area that will watch Daphne but we always make sure they get something for helping out and we return the favor.

  18. Yes, you should have a mini emergency pet fund. We are going through the same thing with our dog, Mo with the broken toe. I am very involved with a charity that helps with veterinary bill for low income people. We get calls every day for routine things like vaccines and food, not to mention all the emergency calls. You really need to evaluate your situation before you take on a pet you can’t afford.

  19. Yes, you need a pet fund. It needs to have the money for the expected yearly expenses- vaccines, etc, but also be an emergency fund. All of our dogs have been shelter dogs. Our Aussie passed after a $3.5k surgery went septic. We didn’t spend a ton on our Lab/Pit because by the time he was diagnosed, we couldn’t really improve his quality of life, or get him much more time. It was just as hard a decision to not treat him, but it was the right one. Our Beagle gave us a lymphoma scare last year that, after many tests and one specialist, turned out to be impacted saliva glands. Now she’s got another infection in the area that antibiotics aren’t working on, so back to another specialist. I’m guess we’ll spend over $5k in the course of 2 years on this one issue.

    At the same time, I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. We have our two dogs and the foster dog, and they just bring so much joy to our lives. I’d say coming home to a house with no dogs is unimaginable to me, but I can imagine it- and it would be miserable.

    • It stinks it costs so much but they are members of the family for sure! If you’d do it for your kid you’d likely do it for your pet too!

  20. And I forgot to mention, you might want to look into all natural flea protection (cedar oil, etc). For many dogs, the topical flea prevention medicines really aggravate skin allergies.

    • Thanks, we’ll look into that if this method doesn’t work. The vet told us to try this one and we’ll see if it works or not. We also treated our yard so hopefully no more fleas live there.

  21. Oh, I’m right with you! Our dog is also a never-ending money pit… she requires special food because she is allergic to so much stuff, plus she has sensitive skin and a tendency to develop kidney stones for no reason!

  22. I like dogs but they become expensive if they start having medical problems. It’s pretty tough to just let them die and get a new one like with a fish or hamster. People develop human like bonds and then get stuck footing some expensive medical bills if there are health problems..

  23. I did a detailed writeup on dog costs once and I think it came to like over $50,000 or something over the life of the dog. Crazy, but when you factor in all the vet visits, petsitting (if you both work and don’t leave the dog alone 10 hours a day), food, health issues, end of life issues, etc., it’s easily a few grand a year.

  24. My 10 year old Yorkie usually gets an itching problem every year. He is on Multi-Advantage & it is not always fleas. What has worked for him is 1/4 tab of Benadryl that the vet. recommended. I only give it once a day, when the itching is first noticed. I monitor him daily, once the itching stops, I stop the medication.

    • We’ve done this before but our dog acts so high when she is on the medicine… don’t know if we’ll continue unless she’s really suffering.

  25. I used to have a Yorkie that got kidney stones quite frequently. After having them removed, I happened to see a new vet. after moving to Florida. She recommended giving him a new place to pass urine. This surgery worked & he never had another kidney stone problem.

  26. This might sound like a weird suggestion but try adding natural oils to your dogs foods (ex. vit E oil, olive oil, coconut oil and Omega B or fish oil). I’ve had my pitbull since he was a puppy and he went through a stage where he was scratching a lot and his skin was flaking a lot (like dandruff). I tried switching out his food but his stomach was very sensitive to everything. He’s very picky about dog treats too and dry sweet potato and oatmeal cookies seem to be his favorite. Then i heard that processed dog food lacks a lot of essential nutrients and omega B’s are essential for healthy skin and fur so i started pouring oil on his dry dog food and he loves it! His fur instantly got better. I started adding cooked vegetables and lean organic ground beef/turkey and its made a huge difference in his health. hope this helps!

  27. I may have mentioned this, but it’s not out of the ordinary for NY dog owners to spend hundreds per month on their pet. One friend spends $600 per month and that’s not including any emergencies — just food, pills, dog walker, and the occasional doggy day care.

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