Ready To Get Your Own Family Fido? Be Prepared To Shell Out If You Live In These Cities
If you live in one of these five cities, brace yourself for the cost of adding a family dog into the mix.
If you’re contemplating bringing home a new family dog, there’s a lot to consider before you commit to caring for and loving a fur baby — and cost is one of them. Now new research has revealed which of the 78 most-populous U.S. cities are the most and least expensive when it comes to adding a family dog into the mix.
Forbes Advisor set out to gauge the cost of dog ownership based on the percentage of household income spent on dog-related expenses, including the variations in cost between cities. Looking at 78 of the biggest cities in the U.S. for which data was available, Forbes Advisor evaluated three critical details, which were weighted at 85% of the final score: pet-insurance premiums; veterinary expenses; and dog-boarding fees.
The remaining 15% of the final score was tallied using the percentage of household income required for doggy daycare costs, based on attending two times a week for 48 weeks. “Essential dog expenses average $1,533 annually,” the report notes. “Dog owners who rely on doggy day care twice per week can expect to spend an additional $2,980 on average.”
The results show that there is a big gap between the most expensive and the least expensive cities for dog owners — in fact, the most expensive city costs families roughly twice as much as the least expensive (at the high end, 2.67% of the median household income went for vet expenses, insurance, and boarding fees, plus 4.85% for annual daycare costs).
Top five most expensive cities to have a family dog:
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina: 2.67% of median income to expenses, 4.85% to daycare
- Greensboro, North Carolina: 2.67% of median income goes to expenses, 4.48% to daycare
- Bakersfield, California: 2.64% of median income goes to expenses, 4.62% to daycare
- El Paso, Texas, 2.59% of median income goes to expenses, 4.89% to daycare
- Memphis, Tennessee: 2.54% of median income goes to expenses, 4.81% to daycare
Top five least expensive cities to have a family dog:
- San Jose, California: 1.30% of median income to expenses, 2.61% to daycare
- Washington, D.C.: 1.67% of median income goes to expenses, 2.96% to daycare
- Huntsville, Alabama: 1.69% of median income goes to expenses, 3.49% to daycare
- Omaha, Nebraska: 1.71% of median income goes to expenses, 3.78% to daycare
- Austin, Texas: 1.71% of median income goes to expenses, 3.55% to daycare
Owning a dog certainly comes with financial obligations, but the pros, specifically for parents, might outweigh the cons. A recent study found that there’s a strong bond between pet dogs and toddlers — so much so that toddlers have a natural inclination to help their furry siblings and learn about sharing and responsibility along the way. This research builds on other benefits of growing up with a family pet, including enhanced self-esteem, improved immune function, heightened empathy, and reduced allergies.
If you’re still thinking about getting a family dog, looking at which dogs are considered more intelligent than others might be worthwhile. One recent study ranked 13 breeds based on intelligence using a series of tests that measured traits like activity level, exploratory behavior, inhibitory control, logical reasoning, and short-term memory. Thought it may sound like a good idea to get a dog that ranked high on the list, that’s not typically the case for families.
The dog breed that ranked low on the list for intelligence — the Labrador Retriever — was the most popular dog in the U.S. for 30 years (and only just recently dethroned by the French Bulldog). Dogs lower on the intelligence scale tend to be better for families since they’re easy to get along with and very loyal as opposed to intelligent dogs which tend to be more high-strung.
To read more about the most and least expensive cities to have a family dog, check out Forbes Advisor’s full report.