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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Many agree that dogs are wonderful companions.

Actor Johnny Depp once said, "The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants." Famous dog trainer Cesar Millan has said, "They [dogs] don't hold anything against a person. They don't see the outside of a human but the inside of a human." Americans are crazy about their dogs. 47 percent of all households in this country have a dog, according to the  Humane Society. But one topic that's not often discussed is all the costs associated with caring for a dog.

Here, we offer a quiz for people thinking of adopting a four-legged friend.

1. How much disposable income do you have?

  • A. I struggle to make ends meet each month.
  • B. I live far below my means and save thousands of dollars per month.
  • C. I get by with a few dollars to spare.

2. How flexible are your work hours?

  • A. I travel for my job nearly 100 percent of the time.
  • B. I work from home.
  • C. I work from home a few days per week.

3. Do you have an emergency fund?

  • A. Huh?
  • B. Yes, I have enough money saved that I could get by for a few months, maybe up to a year.
  • C. My emergency fund is small, but I'm slowly building it.

If you answered mostly A's:

You aren't ready for a dog. According to  Petfinder.com, the cost of owning a dog can range between $766 to $10,350 during the pet's first year in your home, and between $526 to $9,352 for each subsequent year. These numbers include things like boarding, vaccinations, insurance, possible surgeries, toys, medicine, and food.

Dogs need time with their owners, and traveling all the time is not optimal for a dog's well-being. This also means that your dog will need to be boarded often, which can get pricey.

An emergency fund is essential when caring for a dog. You never know when your dog will need to go to the vet for an expensive medical procedure.

If you answered mostly B's:

It sounds like you are the perfect candidate to be a dog owner. You have a steady stream of disposable income, you work from home, and you have a healthy emergency fund. All of this means you can easily provide a comfortable home for your dog. Go check out your  local ASPCA chapter to find your new best friend!

If you answered mostly C's:

You could afford a dog right now, but you may want to wait a few years until you're even more financially stable. Costs associated with dog ownership can catch people off-guard and it pays to have a healthy nest egg just in case something comes up.

That said, if you're determined to get a dog now, do so with a solid plan of how you can cut costs in other areas of your life so you can properly care for your new companion.

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