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HelloSafe analyzes long-term costs of dog ownership

Posted on March 28, 2024 by Taber Times

By Heather Cameron
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Alexandre Desoutter, editor-in-chief for HelloSafe in Canada, says that HelloSafe was inspired to begin collecting data regarding the budget for dogs in Canada due to the increasing importance of pets in households and the corresponding financial impact on owners.

“Understanding the financial aspects of pet ownership is crucial for both current and prospective dog owners,” said Desoutter.

By collecting the data on dog budgets, Desoutter says, HelloSafe’s purpose is to provide insight into the costs associated with dog ownership, including expenses such as food, health care, and initial acquisition costs. 

“We aim to help dog owners make informed decisions about budgeting and managing expenses related to pet care, ultimately promoting responsible pet ownership,” said Desoutter.

Desoutter says that current and previous reports regarding the annual budget for a dog in Canada have indicated a steady increase in costs over time. Specifically, Desoutter says. from 2021 to 2024, the average cost of owning a dog rose by 23.3 per cent. 

“These reports provide detailed breakdowns of expenses, highlighting categories such as food, veterinary care, initial acquisition costs, and other miscellaneous expenses,” said Desoutter. “Additionally, the reports may compare costs across different breeds and sizes of dogs, emphasizing variations in expenses based on factors such as size, dietary requirements, and healthcare needs. Overall, the reports offer valuable insights into the evolving financial landscape of dog ownership in Canada.”

Desoutter says that several factors contribute to the variances including inflation, changes in consumer preferences, advancements in pet care, demand for pet-related products, and size and breed variations.

 “Economic inflation can lead to higher prices for goods and services, including pet-related products and veterinary care. As the general cost of living increases, so does the cost of pet ownership,” said Desoutter. “Shifts in consumer preferences towards higher-quality pet care products and services can also impact the budget for dog ownership. Owners may be willing to invest more in premium pet food, advanced veterinary care, and other amenities for their pets. Advancements in veterinary medicine and pet care technology may result in increased costs associated with specialized treatments, medications, and preventive care measures. Increased demand for pet-related products and services can drive up prices. As pets become increasingly integrated into households as members of the family, owners may be willing to spend more on their well-being. Different breeds and sizes of dogs have varying care needs, which can influence the overall budget for dog ownership. Larger breeds may require more food, veterinary care, and grooming services compared to smaller breeds, leading to higher expenses.”

Different breeds of dogs in Canada often have different care budgets, Desoutter says, and this discrepancy arises from several factors including size and dietary needs, healthcare costs, grooming requirements, exercise and activity levels, and lifespan and aging.

“Larger breeds typically require more food than smaller breeds due to their higher metabolism and energy requirements,” said Desoutter. “Therefore, the cost of feeding a large breed dog is generally higher than that of a smaller breed. Certain breeds may be predisposed to specific health issues, which can affect their healthcare expenses. For example, breeds prone to genetic conditions or orthopedic problems may require more frequent vet visits, medications, or specialized treatments, leading to higher healthcare costs. Different breeds have varying grooming needs, depending on factors such as coat type and length. Breeds with long or dense coats may require regular professional grooming, which adds to the overall care budget. Breeds with higher exercise and activity needs may require additional expenses for activities such as training classes, toys, or equipment. Owners may also need to invest in secure outdoor spaces or enrichment activities to meet their dog’s needs, contributing to higher care budgets. Lifespan and aging can also impact care budgets, as older dogs may require additional medical attention or specialized care as they age. Breeds with longer lifespans may incur higher healthcare costs over their lifetime compared to breeds with shorter lifespans.”

The increase in the cost of owning a dog has impacted dog ownership and pet care in recent years in several ways, Desoutter says, including financial burden, as the rising cost of dog ownership may deter some individuals or families from adopting or acquiring a dog. Higher expenses for essentials such as food, veterinary care, and grooming can strain budgets and make pet ownership less feasible for some. Pet owners, Desoutter says, may also adjust their spending habits in response to increased costs. They may opt for lower-cost alternatives or prioritize essential expenses, potentially reducing spending on non-essential items such as toys or accessories. DeSoutter says that veterinary care costs may influence healthcare decisions for pets, and some owners may delay or forgo preventive care or necessary treatments due to financial constraints, which could impact the health and well-being of their dogs. Desoutter says that increased costs of dog ownership may even lead to more dogs being surrendered to shelters or rescue organizations if owners are unable to afford their care. This action, DeSoutter says, can strain resources and contribute to overcrowding in animal shelters.

“HelloSafe views collecting data and creating reports regarding canine care as a vital and valuable endeavor,” said Desoutter. “We believe that providing comprehensive information about the costs associated with dog ownership is essential for promoting responsible pet ownership and helping dog owners make informed decisions about budgeting and managing expenses related to pet care. By offering transparency and insight into the financial aspects of pet ownership, we aim to empower dog owners to provide the best possible care for their furry companions. Additionally, we recognize the importance of tracking trends and changes in dog ownership expenses over time, which can aid in understanding the evolving landscape of pet ownership and identifying areas for improvement or intervention. Overall, we are committed to contributing to the well-being of dogs and their owners through our efforts to collect and analyze data on canine care.”

HelloSafe, Desoutter says, believes that collecting data and creating reports regarding canine care contributes to raising awareness among Canadian consumers about inflation. 

“By highlighting trends and changes in the costs associated with dog ownership over time, our reports provide valuable insights into how inflation impacts the expenses related to pet care,” said Desoutter. “As the average annual expense for dog ownership increases, it underscores the broader economic factors at play, including inflation. Through our efforts to collect and analyze data on canine care expenses, we aim to educate the public about the financial implications of owning a dog and how inflation can affect pet ownership. By fostering awareness about inflation and its impact on the cost of living, we empower consumers to make informed decisions about budgeting and managing expenses for their pets.”

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