Spot’s Best Friend Might Just Be Your Wallet

By EMMA SCULLION

In a world where everyone knows the name of Barack Obama’s dog, it is no surprise
that the next rise of celebrity is the four-legged kind. Dogs are our best friends, our confidants, and often, as the joke goes, better than our significant others. And these pooches love you back – or at least they love your wallet.

The pet industry is booming. The top 10 most expensive dogs for 2012 are: the chow chow,
American akita, Egyptian pharaoh hound, Tibetan mastiff, rottweiler, samoyed, Chinese crested hairless, Canadian Eskimo dog, lowchen, and German shepherd.

When comparing the top most expensive dogs of 2012 to the top 10 most popular dogs
of 2012, two of the dogs match up on each list: the German shepherd and the rottweiler.
The rottweiler, weighing in as number 10 on the most popular dogs of 2012, ranks number six on the most expensive dogs of 2012. These dogs cost an avid dog owner around $2,000-$7,000 to buy. German shepherds are the second most popular dog of all time.

Who wouldn’t want these fierce, loveable creatures to serve as both a friend and protector of their home? Maybe when they see the price of one of these dogs they’ll reconsider their furry friend. According to the top 10 most expensive dogs of 2012, German shepherds take the number one spot costing around $4,500-$6,500 per loveable friend. Even if you wish to adopt a dog from the pound, the average expenses of adoption can be expected to be over $100, often more if you’re adopting a puppy. The cost is high for some good old puppy love.

The High Cost of Dog Care

Shannon McHale is the owner of a 1-year-old Australian shepherd. Like any dog owner,
she was unaware of how much the price would add up to get the proper care for her new dog.

“When I got my dog, Chloe, I had to bring her into the vet to get her up to date with
all her shots. In exams and vaccinations alone, not including getting her fixed, it cost me well over $500 on a dog I spent $700 for,” McHale said.

A puppy will go through four rounds of vaccinations the first year with an average
cost per medical visit of $150. For older dogs, it is highly suggested to get an annual check – that will cost you around $200. Veterinary offices will give shots to your dogs for rabies, Lyme disease, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, bordetella, leptioriosis, coronavirus, and giardia.

It is normal for starting couples get a dog before they decide to have a family.
To them, raising a puppy is not unlike raising a child; someone needing constant care to be healthy and live long. A common worry for dog owners is proper flea and tick prevention.

Fleas not only attack pets but also affect humans. The wingless insects latch onto
skin and suck their prey’s blood. They leave the person affected with a rash and severe itching. Ticks are blood-sucking creatures. They too latch onto their host’s skin and suck blood. If left unattended they can lead to anemia and Lyme disease.

Audrianna Guidry’s main concern with her dog is heartworm; treatment for heartworm costs upward of $400 for the average dog.

“The reason why I pay such attention to getting monthly heartworm medication for my
dog, Sammie, is because heartworms are extremely harmful and can be deadly. If your dog gets heartworms, it gets extremely sick and a lot of times it is not curable,” Guidry said.

Aside from proper care for a dog, owners should be prepared for the surprising expenses that can happen. Emergencies can always occur with a dog’s health. While stationed in Hawaii, Kayla Pennington was walking her husky-German shepherd mix up a nature trail when the dog got overheated. Concerned for her dog she rushed him to the nearest veterinary clinic.

“I was so scared for Sampson,” Pennington said. “He would not walk anymore and kept lying down in the shade. He was having trouble breathing and that’s when I knew I had to take him to the hospital. When I got there they put him on a saline drip, gave him an ice bath, and a steroid shot to prevent swelling in the brain. The cost was more than $175 but to make sure he was okay, it was more than worth the price.”

Booming Pet Industry

With how much people are willing to spend on their pets, it is no surprise that the pet industry is booming. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $47.7 billion on pet products and services. People are more concerned with pampering their loveable pooches than ever. Businesses are directing their attention to adhere to the everyday and upper-class dog owners.

The pet industry has expanded to include dog salons, pet hotels, and high designer
fashion. Designer labels such as Christian Audigier, Juicy Couture, and Rock Republic have all created dog fashion lines and accessories for dog owners. These can include bedazzled collars, leashes and water and food bowls.

One reason as to the possible increase in pet ownership might be the highlight of pets in social media. Society has transitioned far from the iconic Old Yeller and Lassie. With every celebrity having a dog, people are reading not only about celebrity exploits, but also that of their papered pooches.

The world can’t forget when magazine covers in 2009 were splashed everywhere with news
of Jessica Simpson’s maltipoo Daisy being grabbed by a wild coyote. Some magazines have “match the owner with the dog” trivia.

Celebrities such as Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus are constantly tweeting pictures of their dogs on the popular media site Twitter. The social website Facebook has a dog “like” page with over 4 million likes. The entire page has pictures of dogs everyday that people like or comment on. In 2012, there was a high increase in Jack Russell Terriers largely
due to the movie “The Artist.” The star-turning terrier Uggie, led audiences to find this pooch the perfect addition to their families.

Although one can argue evidence to the contrary, you can’t put a price on a good pooch.

“I love my dog. She is a better roommate than any other roommate I’ve ever had,” Scullion said. “She makes me go for jogs, go for hikes, and get out of the house. I have to say she’s not only my workout buddy but also my baby. I’m going to spoil her the way I’d spoil a child.”

Dogs can be expensive, but they are loveable creatures. Should you decide that you wish to get your own fluffy friend, look into adoption first. Join the nation of dog owners. Check out the local animal shelter such as the Atlanta Humane Society at atlantahumane.org.

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