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Everything Animals: The puppy price tag - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Everything Animals: The puppy price tag

Oliver and receipts from some of his vet visits. Oliver and receipts from some of his vet visits.
A sample bill for spaying or neutering a dog. A sample bill for spaying or neutering a dog.

Shelburne, Vermont - June 7, 2011

Puppies. They're cute, they're cuddly...and they're costly.

It's easy to get swept up in the excitement of having a new dog, but puppy love can quickly turn to sticker shock if you aren't prepared.

"We usually start the vaccines right around 6 weeks and we do them about every three weeks until they're 15 or 16 weeks old," says Dr. Liam Bisson of Shelburne Veterinary Hospital.

Those vaccines plus deworming costs can run anywhere from $20 to $90 per visit depending on what your puppy needs, and that's just the first four months.

"At around 5 to 6 months we want to spay or neuter the animal," Bisson says.

Unless you're planning to safely breed your puppy Bisson says every vet will recommend spaying and neutering. At the same time a microchip can be placed in your dog in case they get lost or run away.

"Neutering and the microchip, we're probably looking at the order of 250 to 300 dollars," Bisson says.

In short, this is what you're looking at for the first year of your puppy's life:

  • Deworming: $30
  • Vaccines and Exams: $298
  • Spaying/Neutering/Microchipping: $300

That's a total of $628, a price tag you don't want to catch you by surprise.

The medical expenses are just a fraction of the things you need to be prepared to spend money on for your puppy. You'll need to buy everything from leashes to collars to toys to food to treats to replacing the things they will inevitably destroy.

Reputable shelters and rescues will make sure all their dogs are fully vaccinated, dewormed and spayed or neutered before they're adopted out. However pet experts say caring for your dog's health is a lifelong job so be prepared to spend money down the road.

But as any dog owner will tell you, it's worth it.

Rachel Feldman - WCAX News

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