I had to take our dog to the vet today. He’s a mixed breed lovable little guy that we got from a rescue. Well, it turns out he has allergies and they get bad enough that he sometimes needs shots. His skin turns an angry, itching red. I feel awful for him.

So the vet told me what I expected to hear. Seasonal allergies once again. Needed the shot I was expecting. Was put on 14 days of antibiotics. And I have to give him Zyrtec all season. Was also told I could switch him to a food that "helps with allergies." You guessed it, the food is by prescription only. No idea what that would cost.

Oh, also he’s going to need his teeth cleaned which means sedation. In preparation for this he had to have blood drawn.

The total cost for all of this today? $280. The cost for when he goes back for the teeth? At least $500. Could be higher.

I remember the beagle we had when I was a kid. Back then it seemed you only took a pet to the vet when it was really sick. You didn’t bring them in for micro-chipping or for frequent check-ups. We didn’t hear about doggy anxiety meds. As veterinary care has gotten better the cost of keeping a pet has gotten bigger.

Vet examining a Australian shepherd in front of white background
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After the vet visit today it got me curious as to what lifetime financial commitment pet owners are making. I looked it up. The lifetime cost of owning a dog can run from $20,000 to $55,000. For a cat? $15,000 to $45,000. It was a study based on 1,200 pet owners and 100 veterinarians. You can read more about it here.

Is it worth it? That’s up to each family to decide. But I know I would have a hard time looking my daughter in the eye and telling her "no pets."

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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