I had to take our dog Finn back to the vet last week. He had inflammation of his skin and his ears were bothering him. Turns out he has some sort of bad seasonal allergy as the doctor’s records indicated this same problem happened this time last year. He had been to the vet several weeks ago and the allergy shot he was given didn’t help.

This time they put him on steroids, and an antibiotic was given for an ear infection along with medicated drops. You really feel your place on the food chain and in the world in general when you try administering drops in a dog’s ears.

Anyway, the bill was $289.75.

Then I had to go back and pick up heart worm and flea/tick protection in the form of once-a-month chewable tablets. Stupidly I was thinking a year’s supply of this, twelve tablets and another twelve tablets, would be about forty bucks.

$360.

So that’s $649.75 in five days. Can that be right? It was. It was so right it was wrong. It is downright ridiculous what we are willing to shell out for pets.

I fear the day I need to say, “Sorry son, I know you had your heart set on college but Finn was itchy, so…”

I thought. I dwelled. I was bitter. Then I researched. What’s the average cost of owning a dog in New Jersey?

Takespruce.com calculated average annual costs for dog ownership in all fifty states. Keep in mind some pay more, others less. Example, $140 per year in dog grooming does not seem like a lot but that’s because some short-haired dogs won’t require any grooming at all.

So in New Jersey, regular vet care, $209. Emergency vet care (which I think is ANYTHING outside of vaccines and a check up) $1,200. Annual food cost $408. Toy cost per year $35. Grooming $140. Flea and heartworm meds $272 (then why was mine so much?). Annual boarding cost $280.

That adds up to $2,544!

That’s not even counting the first year when you acquire the dog. If you go through a breeder you could be talking thousands of initial dollars. Plus spaying or neutering. Plus obedience training. All first year costs.

Then there’s the big stuff. Your dog gets seriously ill with hip dysplasia or cancer it could be the sky’s the limit in medical bills.

Even if you avoid that painful stuff, just on average in New Jersey for a pup that’s going to be with you for 10 years, you’re talking possibly close to $30,000. Maybe $26,000 if you go through a rescue.

Is it worth it?

Considering when the time comes people are willing to spend an average of $1,750 for a pet funeral, apparently it is.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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