Almost two years ago I wrote a post titled 'The Pros and Cons of dating a Med Student'. I wrote that post as a bit of fun, but ever since then that post has been my number one most popular post on the blog.. ever! Crazy right? I mean, if you need to Google search the pros and cons of dating someone you probably shouldn't be dating them.. am I right? Either way, that post proved to be very popular, so I figured I would give another Pros vs Cons blog post a try and see how well it goes down. :P
Now, I realise that raising a puppy may seem like a pretty easy task (or that it might not have been much of a challenge from your previous experiences of sharing ownership of a puppy with your families etc.) but trust me when I say that when it comes to raising your very first puppy on your own/as a couple it is a LOT more difficult then you initially anticipate! For example...
|Ellie showing off her registration tag.|
Pro: They're expensive - You will be forced to grow up, keep a steady income coming in and learn how to budget so that this totally dependent being can survive in your presence.
Con: They're expensive - In addition to how much your puppy will cost upfront, there are also so many costs that go along with bringing home a new/young puppy. These costs will include but are not limited to:
- Your puppies 2nd and 3rd initial vaccinations within their first 3-4 months of life. Your breeder should take care of the first vaccination (and if you're really lucky, the second vaccination too) but the follow up vaccinations are still crucial to your puppies health and well being. In my local area in QLD, Australia, the cheapest quote I was given for these initial vaccinations was $82.50 each from the Animal Welfare League.
- Annual vaccinations. I believe these are slightly cheaper than the puppy vaccinations, but it is still a cost that needs to be considered.
- Worming (intestinal and heart). Intestinal worming needs to be done every 2 weeks until your puppy is 12 weeks old, every month after that until they are 6 months old, then every 3 months thereafter. Heartworming can either be done annually through an injection or monthly using tablets. The easiest and most affordable option that I have found so far is to purchase all-in-one worming tablets that are given once a month (and every month) from 12 weeks of age onward.
- Flea and tick control. Even if you check your puppy for ticks every day, the effects of a paralysis tick can take effect so quickly that your puppy could be dead before you even notice a tick is on them. For this reason you should definitely be looking into high quality flea and tick (but most importantly paralysis tick) prevention methods from as early as 12 weeks of age. This can be quite costly depending on the method that you choose, but an affordable/effective method I have found that I will be using on Ellie for at least the next 6 months is the Preventic Tick Collars. This collar in particular doesn't repel fleas, so I am still yet to find another method for that.
- Desexing. This is best done when your puppy is between the age of 5-6 months and on average can cost upwards of $150 for a male puppy and $300 for a female puppy. If you live in Australia though, you might be interested to know that July is our National Desexing Month where participating vet clinics offer generous discounts on their desexing services. Check out this website in June to find out which vets will be participating. :)
- Registering your puppy with your local council. Where I live it is illegal, and you can be fined, if your dog isn't registered with the local council by 12 weeks of age. It cost me $54 to register Ellie just last week.
- Microchipping. Most breeders will take care of this before you bring your puppy home, but in the event that they don't (like mine didn't) you will need to pay for microchipping before your puppy is 12 weeks old as well. On average microchipping usually costs around $50, but I managed to get Ellie done for $37.50 at the Animal Welfare League.
- Feeding. With an increased life expectancy of up to 18 years, I believe it is important to give your puppy the best fighting chance from the very beginning. In my experience, diet is a major contributor to the health of your pet, therefore the type and quality of food you choose to give them should be your most important decision of all. I personally decided that I was going to invest in a high quality dry dog food for Ellie (Hills Science Diet), as well as allowing her chicken wing tips as a daily treat to assist with her dental health. As she gets older and eventually grows bored of the same food day in, day out, I will start introducing things like tuna, brown rice and lean mince into her diet to give her a bit more variety.
- Grooming. Fortunately Ellie will require very little grooming as she has a short, smooth coat, however I will still need to brush her fur regularly to keep her coat nice and shiny and to avoid skin problems. When it comes to bathing our vet recommended that we wash Ellie no more than once every two weeks, and that if we feel the need to wash her with a product (he actually advised never using a product on dogs) then we should wash her with baby shampoo.
- Toilet Training. Puppy pee mats are expensive, as are indoor toilets. A 20 pack of puppy pee mats cost me $9 alone. If you have a yard, and a dog that can pee/poop on demand, you may just be lucky enough to skip these costs.. maybe!
- Pet Insurance. The cheapest pet insurance in Australia that covers both accident and illness (but still excludes quite a bit due to the "affordable" cost) is Woolworths pet insurance. This costs me just over $14 a fortnight. Next year I am probably going to upgrade to Pet Plan though.
|B and Ellie, cuddling on the couch.|
Pro: You will get lots of puppy cuddles, kisses etc. and you will always have someone to play with and keep you company.
Con: You will need to train your puppy not to bite. Even play biting can be really detrimental for dogs in the long term, not to mention extremely painful and dangerous for humans. Puppies have needle sharp teeth that like to pierce lips, noses, ears and even eyelids. Trust me, I speak from experience. :(
|Ellie, sleeping where she poos/wees.|
Pro: You can teach them awesome tricks such as 'sit', 'shake' and 'go get me a beer'.
Con: You will need to toilet train them, which can take many many months depending on the dog/situation.
|Ellie, sleeping in our wee stained quilt.|
Pro: You will never need to sleep alone at night again. :)
Con: This is directly related to the previously mentioned con, but your puppy may pee or poo (repetitively) on your bed sheets until you give up and decide that your quilt can be his/hers instead.
|Ellie, sleeping in B's shorts.|
Pro: You don't need to spend much on bedding or toys, as they are happy to sleep anywhere and play with just about anything. Toilet rolls and empty drink bottles are just two of Ellie's favourite things to play with despite all the awesome toys that she has laying around the house.
Con: They may decide to lay claim to your clothes, rugs, furniture, dinner, body, breathing space etc.
|Ellie, terrorising our garden.|
Pro: You will feel the need to keep a clean home and an equally clean and tidy yard for the safety of your puppy. It's almost as effective as having your parents come over for a visit.
Con: Puppy proofing your home will be an ongoing, annoying and often expensive process. Not only will your puppy tear up your house, but they will tear up your garden as well.
I'm sure there are plenty more pros and cons out there, but I've run out of photos to match each scenario, and I have a 10 week old puppy that I need to go and play with if I want to get some sleep tonight. :P
Please let me know if you enjoyed this post by leaving a comment below! I'd be very interested to hear of any other pros and cons that you guys can come up with as well. :D