Sunday, May 28

1,300 euros a year, the bill for the dog

Max, a Mastiff-Labrador mix, fell ill last summer. Eva Hurtado, his owner, spared no effort to cure him and prevent him from suffering. She spent almost 3,000 euros in the last months of his pet’s life on surgeries and medications, which could not prevent him from dying in July, at the age of 11. This young woman from Biscay was able to face these bills by giving up travel, many leisure ‘extras’ and tightening her belt on a day-to-day basis.

Max’s ending invites reflection, aside from the close relationship that is generated between animal and owner: it is not cheap to keep a dog. In addition to the investment in time and work, there are many expenses, some of which we did not expect. So much so that the economic issue is one of the reasons for the frequent abandonment of these animals, veterinarians warn.

Those responsible for the Royal Canine Society of Spain (RSCE) insist that families do numbers before buying or adopting a dog to find out if they will be able to afford the bill for an average of between 10 and 12 years. “It is important to receive advice on the expenses and also on the time and care that the animal requires before taking the step,” advises Manuel Lázaro, a veterinarian at the Madrid official school. “That reflection is absolutely essential. It cannot be a compulsive decision, a whim. The animal protectors do this work with the future owners, but in the stores the sale prevails and it is not so common, ”laments María Luisa Fernández Miguel, president of the Tenerife College of Veterinarians.

Having a dog supposes an average disbursement of 1,300 euros a year, according to the study ‘My Pet in figures’, carried out by the Spanish Canine Society. «It would be a reasonable expense in food and veterinary care, without dedicating luxuries. It also depends on the size of the animal, one of 5 kilos is not the same as one of 40, logically, ”says Lázaro.

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600 euros in food

Food is one of the main chapters of the budget. The market offers basic and cheap feed and others with a high nutritional level and that can triple the cost at the end of the month. The problem is that many animals, for health reasons, only tolerate food of a specific quality. Depending on the physical characteristics of the animal, its weight and age, the food bill ranges between 20 and 80 euros per month, says the Madrid veterinarian. The Canine Society study calculates an average of 600 euros per year.

Veterinary, without extras: 300 euros

We must reserve 200 euros a year for vaccines and antiparasitic pills, and another 100 more for extra consultations for infections, breakages or illnesses. “A punctual accident raises the bill a lot. And we must bear in mind that dogs when they get older are going to suffer chronic pathologies, such as diabetes or heart problems, very frequent, which require medical treatment, “says Fernández Miguel, member of the small animals section in the Organization Spanish Veterinary College. Testimony to this is Javier and Miren, a couple from San Sebastián who lovingly care for Monet, their 14-year-old poodle. “He takes eight pills of six different classes a day for a heart condition, including diuretics that force us to take him out to the street practically every two hours to pee,” they detail. They calculate that they spend about 90 euros a month on the care of their pet.

Faced with these unforeseen events that can unbalance the household budget, in recent years the contracting of medical insurance for dogs has been extended so that owners can deal with accidents and illnesses. «Those who regularly come to the consultations assume without problems the expense that a serious ailment entails. The most reluctant to face the payments are those that only appear when the problem that the animal suffers affects them”, indicates the Tenerife veterinarian.

The death of the animal also supposes a disbursement. Euthanasia with cremation is around 300 euros. It goes higher if there is a funeral service –picking up the animal and wake to say goodbye– and the ashes are delivered.

From nursery to hairdresser

The current pace of life makes it difficult to have pets. Billy, a one-year-old German Shepherd, goes to a doggie daycare every day. He picks up a van for him –with his tupperware with feed for lunch– and takes him along with several other dogs to a vacant lot on the outskirts of Madrid. There he is from eight to four, like at school. Its owners, Borja and Laura, a young couple from Madrid, pay 10 euros per day and 15 if it is a holiday. They have no other. They both work, they leave home at eight in the morning and don’t arrive until seven in the evening.

“A dog needs to go out three times a day and one of them should be a walk of at least an hour. If we cannot dedicate that time to it, it is better not to have it. There is this option of ‘nurseries’ but they raise the monthly bill a lot”, warns Manuel Lázaro. Among the extras, the Canine Society study points out that occasional hairdressing should be included, which translates into an average of 150 euros more per year.


  • The masks.
    Go ahead that the best option is to adopt a dog in an animal protection center. But if, for whatever reason, we choose to buy, the average price of a purebred puppy is 750 euros. The most expensive breeds are chow chow (from 1,000 to 8,000 euros); pharaoh hound (1,000-6,000 euros); Argentine Dogo (1,000-6,000); Samoyed (1,000-1,500); Akita Inus (1,000-4,000) ; Tibetan mastiff (600-1,300); or English bulldog (from 1,500 to 2,000).

  • The most demanded.
    One in four Spaniards has considered at some point giving a pet, according to data from the Affinity Foundation, collected by the Royal Spanish Canine Society. The most demanded are those of the German shepherd, chihuahua, Maltese bichon, Yorkshire terrier, Labrador retriever, French bulldog or cocker and Spanish water dog breeds.

  • In households with more members
    Dogs have gone from being animals with a specific function – from hunting to herding or being guardians in houses – to becoming members of the family. A total of 6,265,000 boys and girls under the age of 14 live in Spain, while the number of registered dogs exceeds 7 million. «But, contrary to what one might believe, it is not that they fulfill the role of replacing children in homes. In homes with more members there are more dogs than in homes where couples without children or single people live, ”says the veterinarian Manuel Lázaro.

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