‘Return to Normal’ Raises Costs of Pandemic Puppies


Last summer, like millions of Americans, I brought home a 7-pound ball of fluff. Over the past year, my mini-goldendoodle has turned into 23 pounds of pure joy.

Nearly one in five households has acquired a dog or cat since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a recent ASPCA survey. This represents approximately 23 million American households.

And the majority of these pet owners do not plan to relocate their pets in the near future – contrary to the rumor that people were returning pandemic puppies. This means our furry friends will be with us as we navigate the challenges (and financial obligations) of getting back to work and resuming daily routines.

Here’s what to know about buying a pandemic puppy – one year later.


“Owning a dog is a journey,” says Brandi Hunter, vice president of public relations and communications at the American Kennel Club.

“Over the past year, people have sort of taken a different version of the trip. If you’ve bought a puppy or saved one – or an adult dog – during the pandemic, you have a dog that’s completely used to being home for the most part. “

If you know you’re heading back to the office in, say, September, start adjusting your four-legged friend to a new routine in August, Hunter recommends.

Start by doing training runs. It can be as simple as leaving the house for a few minutes at a time to get your dog used to being away from you, says Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer and pet lifestyle expert for Rover, a pet care market.

You can also recruit help to occupy and care for your dog while you are away. Pet sitters can watch your dog and give him food and water. Dog sitting services provide interaction with other dogs. Dog walkers get your dog to exercise.


But adding expenses like dog walkers and pet sitters into your financial equation can be costly. (After all, you can expect to pay anywhere from $ 15 to $ 45 per ride, depending on where you live.)

Make arrangements to suit your budget. For example, hiring a dog walker who walks more than one dog at a time may be more affordable than a solo walk. Taking your dog to daycare three days a week will cost less than five days.

Hunter also says to shop for a dog daycare, much like you would any service for humans. You may be able to find a lower rate if you are willing to travel to a location outside of your immediate area.

Rover and Wag are two examples of platforms that connect dog owners with dog walkers, boarders, sitters and more. Some even provide photos and videos of your dog so you can see what’s going on throughout the day.


Aside from getting back into the world, you’ve probably noticed over the past year or so that dogs are an investment.

For my part, I have placed more online orders for treats and toys than I can count.

“Pet owners can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand in the first year after owning a new pet,” said Christa Chadwick, vice president of shelter services at ASPCA , in an email.

So I also asked the experts how to save money on all kinds of dog essentials. Reducing costs in one or more of these areas can help offset new expenses that you will soon have to face.

– TOYS. If your chewy (like mine!) Uses toys like candy, Hunter says you can give him bones instead. Bones are meant to be chewed and last longer than plush toys. Another option? Mental stimulation games. Place a treat in a puzzle to keep your puppy occupied longer.

– TRAINING. The price for professional dog training can vary, which is why Ellis recommends checking out YouTube videos for training techniques you can perform at home.

– CAKES. Take to the internet again for dog treat recipes at home. Ellis says you can mix kibble with treats to make the supplies last longer and your dog to be excited about the training.

– PROVISIONS. “Make friends in your community,” says Ellis. Sites like Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace can facilitate supply exchanges. You can score equipment points from people who want to donate things that their dogs have outgrown.

– INSURANCE. “If the cost of an emergency veterinary visit or

sickness would be a financial strain, consider investing in pet health insurance while your pet is healthy or save money in a separate account specifically for these costs, ”Chadwick said.

– EVERYTHING ELSE. Consider the costs of pets related to the events of human life, advises Chadwick. For example, budget early before taking your dog with you when traveling to hotels (for cleaning costs) or moving into certain apartments (for pet deposit fees).

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