|A dog requires care
and attention every day. If you acquire a Labrador now, will you have the
time and be willing to:
Will these be pleasurable
activities rather than burdensome tasks? Will you resent the dog because
it ties you down? Or will you derive pleasure from even the mundane tasks
such as "poop scooping" simply because they give you an excuse to go outside
and spend time with your dog.
Walk it for 30 minutes
at least 4 times a week?
Commit to going straight
home from work each night to feed and care for the dog?
Get up 20 to 30 minutes
early each day to provide care for the dog?
Go out at least once each
day to clean up your dog's waste?
Do you rent or own
your own home?
It is difficult to
find rentals which will accept a dog of the size and activity level or
a Labrador Retriever. Please answer the following questions honestly
before acquiring a Labrador:
Own Your Home
Does your job require
Will your current landlord
allow dogs the size of Labradors? Do you have it in writing?
Is there a deposit required?
If so, how much is it and have you figured that into the cost of dog ownership?
Does your rental have
an adequate yard to keep your Labrador in while you are away from home?
Things to consider are size, landscaping (which you will need to replace
if it is destroyed by your dog), fencing height and strength, shelter and
shade, and proximity/disposition of neighbors.
If you own your home
it is easier to add a dog to the household but you should consider the
following things carefully:
How much do you value
a lush lawn and beautiful shrubs and flowers? If you acquire a female be
prepared for yellow spots on the lawn at the very least.
Will you be disappointed,
enraged, ready to get rid of the dog if it digs and chews its way through
the landscaping? Or will you see it as an opportunity to change the yard
around a bit?
Do you have room and money
and will you be willing to install a chain link dog run to confine the
dog in during the times when you are gone in order to help maintain the
Are you the gardener or
is another member of the family responsible for this? Will they be tolerant
of your Labrador's gardening activities or will this create a family feud?
Consider the proximity
of neighbors and their tolerance for dogs, especially those who might be
annoyed by barking dogs. If you alienate neighbors, it is not as easy to
move when you own your own house since you will need to sell your house
Does everyone in
the household agree to acquiring a dog?
Sometimes one member
of the household wants a dog so badly that they forget to check with other
members. If you have children and you think they want a dog -- remember
that YOU will be the one responsible for ensuring that it is properly
cared for. You will also be responsible for all expenses and will need
to interact with it as well since it will be living in the household. If
you can't get your children to take out the garbage, thrown their dirty
clothes into the laundry, or take responsibility for making their lunches
without constant nagging then DO NOT add a dog to the household.
Similarly, if your spouse or housemate is not as thrilled about the acquisition
of a Labrador as you are then you need to step back and reconsider whether
any dog is suitable in the household or if it is just the Labrador which
is objectionable. Ultimately, dogs which are placed into households where
there is not 100% agreement on whether or not to acquire a dog usually
wind up as one of the millions of dogs given up each year because "they
just didn't work out." The dog in this situation often pays with its life.
Can I afford a Labrador
Aside from the initial
purchase price ($400-$600 on average in 1996), there are other expenses
which are ongoing and fairly substantial, including but not limited to:
Food/Treats -- $30 to
$40 per month ($360 to $480/year)
Routine Veterinary Care
(Vaccinations/Heartworm Preventative/Annual Exam) -- $200 or more depending
on your location. If you have the teeth cleaned annually, add $100 to $200
Care (Ear Infections/Accidents/Illness) -- Allow $500 per year "just in
Spay/Neuter -- $80 to
$200 (once in a lifetime expense)
Control -- $20 and up depending on whether a Flea Control Service for yard
and house is needed.
and Toys -- $0 and up -- most people probably spend $100 per year on collars,
leashes, toys, and Labrador-decorated T-shirts, mugs, etc.
One Time Equipment Purchases
-- Crate $70 to $80, Baby Gates $30 each, Dog House $70 or more, Chain
Link Dog Run $200 to $1,000 or more.
-- Budget $1,000 for the first year if you have extensive landscaping and
children who don't pick up their toys. If you are diligent in your puppy
training, you could probably get away with less than $100 worth of stuff
destroyed by your puppy.
Grand Total (not including
the one time expenses and replacement costs) = $1,380 per year.