The K9 Experience

Dogs have a special place in the CF Household. Mrs. CF grew up with dogs, and so did Mr. CF in the later stages of living at home with his parents. In the mean time Team CF has had dog(s) for several years (our own and many fosters), but unfortunately had to give up our beloved family member when emigrating back to the Netherlands. This ended up being one of the hardest decisions regarding our return to Europe. But the decision was the right thing to do, when primarily keeping the welfare of our dog in mind. She was an older dog and various experts we spoke all recommended against a 10-12 hour transit time and associated stress.

Now that we have purchased our own home and are planning to be in one location for a bit more than just one year, the dog ownership came back into the picture again. But because we moved, we have no idea of the costs of dog ownership in the Netherlands (those of you who do, please drop us a line!). Furthermore, we gave all our dog related materials away to the new owner of our previous K9 (both for comfort for the dog as well as to reduce the amount of stuff we had to transport to Europe), so we are starting from scratch.

Greyhound_Racing_2_amk

So what are we looking for? Well, we fell in love with the greyhound breed because these dogs conform to our “wish-list”, which is as follows:

  • Large breed (~25-30kg and up)
  • Laid back (the dog need to match our own lifestyle)
  • Low maintenance (we don’t mind the occasion grooming/dog wash)
  • Limited to no shedding (preferably short-haired, see the low maintenance note above)
  • Healthy (greyhounds are generally a very healthy breed)

Initial expenses will be about (based on some internet searches):

  • The dog: ~€200 (we will be adopting)
  • Dog beds (two, one for each floor of the house): ~€40 each (will need the Large/XL sized beds). But we may be able to get this for free, as we have an old mantras that can be made into two dog beds
  • Leash, collar and muzzle: €30 (but is often free with adoption)
  • Brush: €10
  • Food/drink bowls: € 20 (these need to be raised, but for that we will built something ourselves for that)
  • Nail clippers: €10

Total costs: ~€300 (without freebies, may vary depending on adoption fees). Not included is castration/sterilization (€150-200) and/or chipping (€90), as these are assumed to have been completed at the shelter/by the adoption agency. It is important to ask what has been done before completing the adoption, obviously.

Ongoing (yearly) expenses are about:

  • Dog food: ~€400 (based on a 30 kg dog @ 300g/day, with ~€3,5/kg high quality dry dog food)
  • Dog snacks: ~€240 (based on 30 bags @ €8 each, the selected meat sticks are also great to keep the dogs teeth and gums healthy)
  • Dog Tax: ~€75 (Second dog is ~€90, this can be much more expensive depending on where you live)
  • Yearly vet check, vaccinations and de-worming: ~€250 (this is a rough estimate)
  • Toys: €10-20 (these usually get destroyed on a yearly basis)
  • Dog insurance: €300 (optional, but in our experience with the breed can be very useful, they can be very clumsy….)

Total yearly costs: ~€1.000 and with insurance: ~€1.300. Costs can obviously be a lot higher if there is any form of medical attention required.

greyhound

And now the FI view on this of course!

The initial costs are manageable and will be assumed as a temporary reduction in saving rate (the lost opportunity costs are minimal at around €20) , but the yearly expenses are a different game. Based on the 4% rule, and the option with insurance to protect your wealth, you would need an additional €32.500 to maintain one dog! Double that if you take two. That makes for a very expensive K9 companion (i.e. we would have to work half a year beyond our planned date to be able to afford one dog or a whole year for two). That being said, the plus is that you always have a friendly face and warm welcome waiting for you behind the front door.

But wait, did you guys not note earlier that a small lightweight fun sports car was about €37.750? So, you guys are saying that a large dog is only marginally cheaper than a small sports car? And with two dog, you can beter get a sports car? If you look at the impact on FI, guess we do!

Environmental Impact

Ok, guess you did not see this one coming. But what about the environmental impact of your K9? After watching the “Cowspiracy” a while back, it got us thinking. Our hypothetical dog would eat about 300 grams of dry dog food per day, about 1/3 of that is animal product (the rest is filler/corn/wheat, which your dog would not normally eat….but this is a whole other discussion).

So let’s assume our hypothetical dog consumes 100g of cow meat per day (we are assuming high quality dog food here). In order to produces this amount of meat, on a yearly basis, it would need/produce (based on the “Facts” in the above documentary):

  • ~750m3 of clean water (wow, that is 15-18 times our yearly water use…)
  • ~1100-2500m2 of farm land (based on 61% usable meat from a 450kg cow)
  • ~800-1000kg equivalent of CO2 (this equates to 8.000-10.000 km with our car, and we only drive about that much per year at the moment)

Maybe we should get a gold fish instead….

Ordinary-goldfish

 

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9 comments

  1. I love dogs. I grew up with dog. Dogs are like children, they like to play and play. They can sense your anxiety and help you calm down. But I’m not so sure about getting one anytime soon, considering the cost, the time spend with them. They are like children, I’d have to Board them in doggy hotel, and it’d probably break my heart.

    At my hospital, volunteers would bring these super well trained dogs, that could do tons of tricks. I love playing with them. 🙂

    For now, playing with other people’s dog is the way to go. Heheeh

    1. We are actually considering to start fostering again, its the benefit of having dogs, but the costs are lower and you have the option to take a break in between fosters. This way you can enjoy the good thing of both! We have had fosters before, so we know what we are getting ourselves into 😉

  2. Ooh, sounds like we’re in a very similar boat with how you were when you were moving back to NL.
    We have to find our little stinker a home before we move abroad, and just thinking about it is already very hard.

    In case you are interested in adopting a super sweet 3.5 year old Golden Retriever mix, who already eats the plant food you mention, and comes with all shots, is spayed, and has all her doggie items, we have one here in Germany near the Dutch border!! You are welcomed to come visit us to see for yourselves. 😛

    P.S. seriously no pressure. I’m glad you’re planning to adopt and that you mentioned Cowspiracy!

    1. Hey VN, yes we were/are. It was the hardest decision in the whole moving adventure. Still think about her on occasion, but we have gotten some nice photos where she seems happy. That makes up for a lot. We hope you find a good place for your K9, she unfortunately does not fit our preferences.
      We are lazy/practical, so the adoption saves us from lots of accidents and training requirements 😉
      The Cowspiracy documentary was pretty interesting to watch, puts the whole system into perspective and we like that they used quite a bit of research to backup the numbers (and posted all on the website to review yourself). In reality the numbers will differ (both higher/lower depending on the area and system), but the overall conclusion is hard to ignore.

  3. I think you guys should get a dog. You could play with the 4% calculator all day long. You could convince yourself to never go on holiday, eat extremely cheap food and live in a tiny house / not have a house with that kind of thinking 🙂

    You guys want a dog, so get one. Please name them Edam, Maasdam or Gouda. The reference is obvious 🙂 We have tried all 3 cheeses now. Very nice.

    Tristan

    1. Hey Tristan, as noted to AT, we will likely get one or two in time, but I doubt they will named after cheeses. Maybe “mate” is better 😉

  4. Go for the gold fish… A lot of people are bullish on gold! 😉

    When living with my parents, we had dogs for 15 years as well. I loved having them… When I was home alone as a younger teenager an heard a sound but the dogs did not move at all, I knew I was fine. With the size of our first dog – a great dane – I guess I would be fine either case.
    There are a lot of good memories I have from being around dogs: walks in the park, going to dog school, playing in the garden, a warm welcome when coming home,…

    For now, we are good. I do not need more responsibilities than I already have.Not even a gold fish 🙂

    Cost wise, I would say a dog is more an experience that you get. And yes, it might add one year to your FIRE date, but in return you look at 40 plus years (taking a wild guess here) of fun.

    1. Ha, funny, bullish on gold!

      A great dane, wow, that is a pretty cool dog. We (mainly Mr. CF) considered those for the longest. But made the wise decision to get a dog based on the overall evaluation of the breed and character, and not purely on the looks. The dog or dogs will still come, but we are waiting a bit until we have our own house again and a better handling on where life will go. We need to have the time for the dogs, otherwise it would not be a fair decision.

      1. agreed, you need time to take care with the dog. A daily walk is needed. we did that. And we played a lot in the garden with the dog.

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