COSTS OF GSD OWNERSHIP
The Typical Costs for owning a German Shepherd
German Shepherds are one of the most perfect dogs to own, of course there are many other tremendous breeds, but I must say that I am partial and prejudiced towards them. I also love my Golden and my Aussie equally but since this article is about German Shepherds, I will stay on point.
GSD’s (German Shepherd Dogs) as I will call them from here on out are not cheap to own. The areas of consideration with any big dog run from proper fencing outside of your home to training and from proper diet to medications should they become necessary. Items you need to consider are, in no particular order; fencing, all annual shots $200, heart worm treatment $50 annually, flea treatment $150 annually, a crate which will cost about $125, bedding $50, leashes, prong collar $20, martingale collar $20, bowls and one corner of your bed.
A GSD puppy purchased from a quality breeder can run from $1200 which would be a bargain from a quality breeder up to $3500 for a champions litter. South West Florida GSD Rescue charges are $150. Of course we do not sell dogs, we rescue them to be adopted by great people. Any money we collect goes to the Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County so that they can help us treat and care for sick dogs we get in.
Food is obviously the biggest expense. A GSD needs a healthy diet for a good coat and growth. Cheaper foods without the proper nutrition, actually cost you more because of their lack of the proper component elements your dog needs to stay healthy. By the way better food yields less poop to clean up as they use the vast majority of it rather than having it…’just passing through’. A quality food will cost you about $50 for 25 pounds. We also suggest a single raw meatball with each meal plus 2 cups of food.
Anyone or any dog can become ill. Remember your dog cannot tell you he is in pain until the ailment is well advanced. GSD’s tend to suck it up when it comes to pain and are stoic about complaining. If your dog does become ill you need to treat his or her problem. That can cost you $1000 annually or more based on the ailment. With no health issues, your normal annual vet visits with updated shots, registration and an exam can cost about $300.
One major intangible cost is training. Training can cost you a few hundred dollars through most any club or program. Private lessons car run you $500 or more but are typically unnecessary.
Other factors that have a real cost are dog sitting when you are on vacation, vacuum bags, drifting dog hair everywhere in your home and car, squeaky dog toys, training and reward treats and bones (a must have for many dogs) and of course your precious time. If you do not have the time to take care of your dog, to train him, to spend time with him, to exercise him and have fun with him, please, please re-think your choice of dog.
Wanting a guard dog is not a reason to get a GSD. They will guard your property naturally but will read their alpha leader before acting in your defense. They are a natural deterrent and should not be purchased or adopted strictly for that reason. GSD’s need a job but if they do not know their job because of lack of training, they may disappoint you.
As you will read in the training article, if you are not in control they will be. If you are a weak leader your GSD will assume the role which can be a major problem in every case. Choose your pet and this breed because you love GSD's but get the breed only if you feel you can step up to the alpha position in the pack. Weak leaders do not typically make good GSD owners.
GSD’s bond for life. They know you, they read you and they are 100% loyal to you and yur family. If you get a GSD remember that you should have him or her for their life-time. Of course there are times when giving a dog up is the only option, but remember that when and if you do, your dog will feel it more than you can ever realize.
To coin a phrase, “it ain’t cheap to own a GSD” but they make great companions, great family members and overall great friends.
This article was written as a summary of a great article by German Shepherd Rescue of NC in 2006