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The Real Cost of Owning a Dog in the Philippines: Are you willing to take the plunge?
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So you've spent hours online checking out posts of dogs for sale and dogs for adoption and you've finally chosen the one that has captured your heart and your attention. But before you go out and pick up the new member of your family, take some time to find out how much it really cost to take care of a dog.

For this article, let's assume that you will be getting a dog that weighs around 10 kilos or 22 pounds.

Dog foods
There are so many dog food brands that are currently available. As of this writing, the prices range from Php 70 to Php 400 per kilo. For a 10 kg dog, the feeding amount ranges from around 1 1/4 cups to 4 cups per day (will vary according to your dog's age, the brand and several other factors). Let's say you feed your dog 2 cups per day, your dog will consume around 8 kilos per month.

Cost of dog food will be around Php 560 to Php 3,200 per month, depending on the brand you choose.

Vet visits
Never underestimate the importance of routine treatments like vaccinations and dewormings. You will pay around Php 400 or more for a shot of CPV-DHLP vaccine, or what is more commonly known as the “5-in-1” vaccine. This vaccine is given several times. Number of shots will depend on your dog's age.

A Rabies vaccine will cost around Php 250 or more. If your dog has never been vaccinated, you can expect your vet to recommend 2-4 shots of the 5-in-1 vaccine and 1 shot of Rabies. The good news is, once the initial regimen is completed, your dog only needs to get once-a-year booster shots.

There are other vaccine types available, but the two mentioned above are the core vaccines every dog should get.

Depending on your dog's age and weight, if your dog has never been dewormed, you can expect him to be dewormed 2 times or more. It is a good idea to have your dog dewormed 2 to 4 times a year. For a 10kg dog, the cost to have your dog dewormed by a vet will be around Php 200 or more.

Heartworm screening can also be done by your vet. Once your pet tests negative, you can begin giving heartworm preventive medication. Cost of the heartworm test is around Php 800 or more (excluding your vet’s professional fee). Cost of heartworm preventive medication starts at around Php 250 per month.

For the first year, you can expect to spend around Php 3,000 or higher on these routine treatments. Take note that this amount will be spread out through several visits.

Time
Although it does not have a direct monetary equivalent, you must carve out some time to spend with your dog each day. Keeping your dog locked in a cage 24/7 is a definite no and very cruel. Dogs are social creatures, and consistent interaction with their owners will be beneficial for all. Set aside at least 30 minutes to an hour, to play or walk your dog each day. If your dog must be kept in a cage, make sure that it is big enough for him to fully stretch out his body, stand up comfortably, and is kept in a cool, well-ventilated area. He must be allowed to go out of the cage every few hours to urinate, defecate and exercise/play in a secure, open space.

Feeding
Some basic items to get your pet are dog bowls (1 for food, 1 for water), a sturdy collar and a leash. The cost of these will be around Php 600 or more.

Other things to budget for
Tick and flea medication costs around Php 200 or more, most are active for at least 1 month. Shampoos or soaps that are dog-friendly will range from Php 80 to Php 500.

Spay/neuter
If you are getting a dog purely for companionship, having him/her spayed or neutered is strongly recommended. Spaying is the surgical procedure done to remove a female dog's uterus (some vets remove ovaries as well). Neutering or castration is the removal of the male dog's testicles.

Assuming your dog is healthy, the procedure is relatively safe and simple. There are several low-cost spay and neuter facilities in the Metro, some offer neutering for as low Php 1,000.

Pets who have been spayed or neutered have been proven to lead longer lives. Some forms of cancer can also be avoided in having this procedure done.

Emergencies
It is also prudent to set aside money for unforeseen situations. An amount of around Php 10,000 to Php 15,000 for use in emergencies will significantly help if/when the need arises. If you are financially capable, you can allocate a bigger amount for this.

Sample computation for the first year:

COST OF TAKING CARE OF A DOG DURING ITS FIRST YEAR

DescriptionFrequencyCostSubtotal for 12 months
5-in-1 vaccination (CPV-DHLP vaccine)2-4 times/1st yearPhp 400/dosePhp 800-1,600
Rabies vaccineOncePhp 250/dosePhp 250
Dog food8 kgs/monthPhp 70-400/kiloPhp 6,720-38,400
Deworming for gastrointestinal worms4-6 times/yearPhp 250-270/treatmentPhp 3,000-3,240
Heartworm preventivesOnce a monthPhp 160-250/dosePhp 1,920-3,000
Heartworm testOncePhp 800/testPhp 800
Veterinarian fees3-4 a yearPhp 350-500/visitPhp 1,050-2,000


For the first year, a rough estimate of what you will spend is around Php 12,000 to around Php 50,000. This range excludes the following: budget for emergencies, cost of the dog (please consider adopting), grooming, toys and other special needs your pet may have.

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