Korsst, assistant store manager of Petco in Grand
Forks, shows the starting supplies for a small
breed dog. Korst estimates the starting supplies
for a small breed dog is $250 to $300 with the
supplies for a large breed dog costing about $100
FORKS, N.D. — Unexpected costs. New time commitments.
Added responsibilities. Buying a pet is a big decision
that shouldn’t be made without prior consideration.
the monthly costs of food and pet supplies to the time
it takes to train a dog, becoming a first-time pet owner
can have a big impact on one’s life. Therefore, many
factors should be considered before taking the first
Carol Hagen, owner of Petcetera Animal Clinic in Grand
Forks, N.D., and Fiona Korst, assistant store manager of
the Grand Forks Petco, share some advice for first-time
pet owners and break down the basics of pet care.
A PET THAT FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE
think the best kind of pet owner is the type that does
research and figures out what kind of (pet) is going to
work for them," Korst said.
added, "I’d consider how much time you have to
spend with the pet."
someone is away from their home 18-plus hours a day, a
pet isn’t the smartest decision, she said.
types of pets also work better for different lifestyles.
For instance, a family with young children may want to
avoid hyper, snappy dogs that might bite.
may want to get something that’s maybe a little more
durable, not a 4-pound Chihuahua that can break
easily," Hagen said.
websites offer dog-matching quizzes to help potential
pet owners determine which breed will best suit their
personalities and lifestyles. The quizzes ask questions
such as "how much time will you be able to devote
to exercising with your dog," "what size is
your yard" and "what age children do you have
in the home?"
someone decides what type of pet they want, Hagen and
Korst stressed that they need to understand that it’s
a big commitment.
have to realize that you have to take it for shots, you
have to get it spayed or neutered…" Korst said.
"I think the commitment is the biggest thing."
pet owners also should consider the costs of pet
supplies, both initial and recurring costs.
said the cost of starting supplies for a small breed dog
is about $250 to $300. She said large breed dog supplies
are about $100 more.
price estimates include about 15 different items from
food to chew toys, to the kennel, to the collar and
leash. Korst said if necessary, some of the items can be
purchased a week or two after having the dog.
basically are going to need food, food and water dishes,
(and you) definitely want to have a brush," Korst
same goes for nail clippers. Korst said dog owners
should get their puppies used to being brushed and
having their nails clipped right from the start,
otherwise it can be a nightmare later on.
item to think about is puppy stain remover.
puppy is going to have an accident in the house, so you
need a really good stain and odor remover," she
rings are another item that may seem unnecessary, but
Korst said, "You want teething rings, unless you
want to be the chew toy. When puppies are teething,
their teeth are like little needles."
all of those items, the bill can become expensive, but
owners can save a little money by skipping the puppy mat
and using an old blanket for the kennel instead.
just want something that’s easy to wash," Korst
said, stressing again that every puppy will have
those who are considering a kitten rather than a puppy,
costs are significantly less, with starting supplies
running about $100 to $150.
with basic supplies, pets also will need vaccinations
and checkups, which can add quite a bit to the bill.
first year is usually the most expensive because you
have a series of three vaccinations typically,"
Hagen said. "And you’ve got the office call with
each of those exams."
someone buys a new puppy or kitten, they should bring it
to the veterinarian as soon as possible to get its first
checkup and vaccinations.
said the ideal time is when the animal is about 6 to 8
weeks old. During the first visit, the pet will receive
a checkup and vaccinations, which run about $50 for both
cats and dogs.
the time of the first visit, Hagen said she gives the
pet owner a starter packet with recommendations for the
timing of each additional vaccine, as well as spaying
and neutering information.
give them information on vaccinations, de-wormings,
heartworm testings, spaying and neutering. And for cats,
declawing," Hagen said.
recommends getting the pet vaccinated at 8 weeks, 12
weeks and 16 weeks.
we vaccinate from the time they’re 6 to 8 weeks of
age, until they turn at least 16 weeks of age," she
said. "At 16 weeks, if they’ve had (vaccinations)
every three or four weeks, then they should be done with
vaccinations for the year."
main vaccination is a DA2PP, which protects against
common canine illnesses and infections. An additional
vaccine is recommended to protect against Bordetella, or
kennel cough, if the dog will be interacting with
others. The final vaccine protects against rabies and is
required periodically – depending upon your
jurisdiction. (It’s every two years in the city of
series of three vaccinations costs about $170.
top of that, Hagen recommends spaying or neutering after
the six-month mark.
should have all their adult teeth by then, and for
puppies, especially small breed puppies, a lot of them
will retain baby teeth," she said. "If they
retain baby teeth, we extract them while they’re under
cat owners, declawing is also something to consider.
Hagen said her clinic doesn’t recommend or advise
against declawing. While declawing can cause some
immediate pain for the animal, she said she’d rather
have a cat declawed than see it put down.
cats tolerate it pretty well," she said.
from the costs involved with owning a pet, it is also a
big time commitment.
take a lot more exercise and (work) than some people are
prepared to give," Hagen said. Quoting a fellow
veterinarian, she added, "A tired dog is a good
get into a lot less trouble if you actively spend time
training them and exercising them."
added dogs should be walked every day, even when it’s
cold outside. She said people often bring their pets
into Petco to walk them around, which also helps with
is huge," she said. "You don’t want to have
an animal that could potentially bite people because
they’ve never been in contact with other people
can be socialized by taking them to dog parks, obedience
classes, pet stores and even just inviting other people
over to interact with them.
that aren’t socialized might be more timid and have
more chances of fear and aggression, Hagen said.
one decides to get a cat or a dog, they should do some
research and be prepared for the added responsibility,
costs and time commitments.
biggest thing they need to realize is that it’s a
lifelong pet," Korst said. "They’re not
disposable when they’re not so cute anymore. You can’t
just get rid of them. It’s a commitment."