Getting a dog is no small prospect. As a matter of fact, it can easily be one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. When you think about it, you have to realize that a dog can potentially live for anywhere from 10 to 18 years. In addition, they should be treated just like any other member of the family, loved and doted on in return. Anyone who isn’t capable of doing that should rethink their desire to get a dog in the first place. When you consider all of these things, you have to ask yourself which dog is best for you. Some dogs that work very well for one household don’t necessarily work well for another. That’s why it’s so important that you choose your next dog based on a number of factors, such as their energy levels, how easy they are to train and even potential health conditions. At the end of the day, you want to know how much a particular breed of dog is going to cost you. If you’re considering getting a black lab, then it’s important to have answers to all of these questions before you actually go out and get one. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re not particularly happy with the dog that you ultimately chose. You don’t want to find out after the fact that this is the case. It’s much better to know that up front. If you’re thinking about getting a black lab, then here are the things you need to know.
Your Complete Price Guide to the Black Lab
As previously mentioned, there are a lot of things that you need to know about black labs before you consider actually getting one for yourself. Should you buy a purebred black lab or should you just go to your local animal shelter and see if they have one? Does it really matter if the dog in question has papers and can be considered full blood, or is it okay if the local animal shelter has a dog that looks like a black lab, but can’t prove that the dog is actually a purebred? Once you have the dog, you have to consider things like how much it’s going to cost to feed him and whether or not he is predisposed to any health problems that might make his healthcare more expensive than normal. What is his life expectancy likely to be? As he gets older, are there additional health issues that are likely to crop up which will cost you a significant sum of money? All of these things have to be taken into account and that’s just the financial side of things. You also have to think about things like potential energy levels and whether or not you’re actually prepared to have a dog that likes to play, cuddle and get into mischief, as black labs sometimes do. Considering the fact that this is a price guide for owning a black lab, we’ll stick to the financial aspect of the story, but that’s really only one part of the bigger picture. It’s vitally important that you look at all sides of owning this or any other breed of dog before you actually decide to get one. They are living, breathing creatures with feelings so the last thing you want to do is get one, only to decide a couple of weeks later that it’s not fitting in with your schedule and you no longer want him.
The Cost of Buying a Black Lab
If you decide that you want a pure-bred black lab, how much should you expect to pay? There is not really an exact price that is set in stone, but instead a range of prices that you can expect to reasonably be asked to pay based on a number of factors. For example, what type of bloodline does the puppy in question come from? If it’s not as well-known, your cost will go down. Conversely, that cost will go up if the bloodline is well-known and has a number of dogs in it that have won awards. Typically, it’s common to spend as much as $800 on a black lab puppy that is purebred and has papers. If you’re working with a breeder that’s just starting out or they have a dog that comes from parents that don’t have proven blood lines, that price can be as low as about $400. If, on the other hand, you’re thinking about getting a dog from one of the most prestigious bloodlines that you can possibly find, don’t be surprised if the breeder asks you to pay upwards of $1,500 for that puppy. All of this probably seems a bit mind-boggling by now, as it can be something of a shock to the system to realize that a breeder might ask you to pay more than $1,000 for black lab puppy. The question is, is this really your only option or do you have some other avenue that is more affordable available to you?
Getting Your Puppy From a Shelter
If you’re not in the mood to pay hundreds of dollars for black lab puppy, you might be able to get one from your local animal shelter. As it turns out, black labs are among the most popular dogs in the United States, meaning that they also turn up in animal shelters on a routine basis. The question is, how much do the papers confirming that a black lab is purebred really mean to you? You may not be able to get your hands on those if you’re going through a local animal shelter. In fact, it’s highly unlikely. More often than not, the only way that you can get your hands on those papers when you’re dealing with an animal shelter is if an owner surrenders the dog with said papers in hand. That’s quite unlikely to happen when you’re talking about a purebred. Therefore, you may be able to get a great black lab at your local animal shelter but you’re probably not going to be able to get papers that prove that he is actually a full-blooded black lab. If that doesn’t matter to you, then you’re good to go because you can find dozens of these dogs at animal shelters around the country. The amount of money it’s going to cost you to get them out of that animal shelter will depend on exactly who you’re going through. Typically, animal shelters charge a nominal fee for you to adopt a dog because they have to keep the lights turned on somehow. They also sometimes charge fees to deter people from getting what amounts to a free pet that they may or may not be serious about actually caring for. The thought process is that if you have to pay a certain fee in order to get a dog, you’ll be a lot more likely to be invested in caring for that dog throughout its lifetime as opposed to just throwing it away as if it were nothing but an inanimate object. As such, a lot of animal shelters charge somewhere between $50 and $100 as an adoption fee. Keep in mind, almost every animal shelter makes sure that the dog you adopt is either spayed or neutered and that they are current on all their shots. If you haven’t scheduled an appointment with a veterinarian lately, you should know that the adoption fee is a lot less than you would be paying a veterinarian for those same services, so you’re still coming out ahead.
Cost of Owning a Black Lab
Now that we have the cost of purchasing a black lab out of the way, how much is it likely to cost you to actually own that dog? You might be shocked to learn that some estimates go as high as $158 a month. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that you will end up spending approximately $3,000 on your black lab the first year that you own him, with another $1,890 spent per year after that. Since black labs have a life expectancy of anywhere from 8 to 12 years, you might end up spending as much as $21,890 throughout your black lab’s lifetime. Why is the cost so high? First, let’s address the $3,000 that you’re expected to spend the first year that you have a black lab. That is a significant amount of money. Typically, it’s so high because the cost of purchasing the dog is factored into it. When you take that cost away, the remainder starts to fall more in line with what you expected to pay each year for owning a black lab, about $1,890. Nevertheless, that still comes out to about $158 a month and that’s not exactly cheap. What makes owning a black lab so expensive that you’re spending more than $150 a month on his care? It probably won’t surprise you that a lot of it comes down to feeding. Black labs are certainly not the biggest dogs out there, but they’re not small, either. In fact, a fully grown male black lab can weigh as much as 70 pounds. That means that you’re likely to be buying a lot of dog food throughout his lifetime. You don’t want to feed him something that is of poor quality, so expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $50 on a single bag of dog food. Keep in mind, that’s not for the large 50 pound bags, either. That cost is for the smaller bags that are closer to 17 pounds. Considering the fact that a black lab is likely to go through that in a week and come back wanting more, you could easily end up spending $200 a month or more in feeding costs alone, depending on the type of food that you decide to feed your dog. Keep in mind, there are also additional costs associated with keeping your dog healthy that will be discussed in the next paragraph. All of this factors into the amount of money you can be expected to spend on a monthly basis.
The Cost of Ensuring Your Black Lab’s Health
Nothing is cheap these days, and owning a dog is certainly no exception. As a matter of fact, the astronomical cost of dog food isn’t the only thing that you have to worry about. In order to keep your dog healthy, you also have to be prepared to take him to regular vet exams that occur at least once a year. You have to pay for shots, heartworm preventative and flea and tick preventative as well. All of these things factor into the overall cost that is required to own a black lab. You can easily end up spending an extra $100 a month on preventive medications alone, and that’s if your dog doesn’t have any health concerns that need to be addressed individually. If your dog does have certain health conditions, then they will be managed separately from everything that’s already been discussed. Of course, that will also add to the overall cost of ownership. That being said, your dog is depending on you for proper care so ensuring that he has everything he needs in order to live a long and healthy life is your responsibility. As you can see, owning a dog is expensive. It’s not just about how much you have to pay to get a purebred or even how much you’re going to end up spending on dog food, although those two costs alone are considerable. You have to factor everything else in as well and then break it down by 12 months of the year in order to figure out how much you can be expected to spend on a monthly basis. The important thing to remember is that once you find the right dog, you truly are investing in your best friend. In short, it’s likely to be some of the best money that you’ve ever spent in your life.