Here’s the truth in one sentence: The initial purchase price of a dog is a drop in the bucket compared to the other expenses of dog ownership.
Let’s do the math. A $900 dog from a puppy mill costs 21 cents a day over the puppy’s 12-year life span. A $2,000 dog from a quality breeder costs 45 cents a day. The difference is less than a quarter a day. And what does that 24 cents buy for your dog? A small handful of supermarket kibble.
But what are you getting for your money with the more expensive dog? No doubt about it, golden retriever puppies are among the cutest creatures on earth. When I walked Tessie when she was little, and groups of squealing 16-year-old girls flocked over to pet her, I understood how Brad Pitt must feel. And the cheaper puppy is going to be just as adorable as the more expensive one.
And if a $900 puppy mill dog ends up with hip dysplasia or a heart condition or a thyroid condition, you could easily swallow that $1,100 difference in a single vet visit, and still have a dog with a shortened life, or a compromised quality of life. And while quality breeders will offer a refund if your puppy has a serious health problem, the far better alternative is not having to use that guarantee. Good breeders aren’t cheap or easy to find, but they tend to be cheaper than the best dog hip surgeon, or the best canine behaviorist.
This isn’t theoretical. A member of a golden retriever forum in which I’m a member told this sad tale. She got her puppy from a backyard breeder, a casual breeder who doesn’t do the cruel, large-scale, for-profit breeding of a puppy mill that feeds to pet stores, but also doesn’t do medical or behavioral clearances on the parents. The owner of the new puppy felt proud at having haggled down the price on her dog from $550 to $300. That lovely cute puppy ended up needing double hip surgery at eight months. Needless to say, her vet bill ate up her savings tenfold or more. And even after thousands of dollars of veterinary care, the poor puppy still will never romp that Tessie does.
No, buying from a quality breeder doesn’t guarantee your dog will be healthy and well-adjusted, but having four or five generations of checkable health and behavioral clearances has to increase your chances of having a healthy, happy dog. And for a quarter a day, it seems like very cheap insurance.
Read the full article here.... http://www.forbes.com/sites/allenstjohn/2012/02/17/how-much-is-that-doggie-in-the-window-the-surprising-economics-of-purchasing-a-purebred-puppy/
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