The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Doggie Math: Mutts Cost Money.

The mightly Lab(ish) dog known far and wide as Wendell.

While maximizing my internet time by remaining highly focused on the task at hand (yeah, right), I came across a Bloomberg article regarding the exorbitant cost of canine companionship. “Tally up the lifetime costs and it’s more than a few college tuitions,” touted the article. They compared “a top-of-the-line Australian Labradoodle living the high life vs. owning an equally-loved mutt or rescue dog whose owner has a more down-to-earth approach.” The items and prices for the Labradoodle were beyond ridiculous, so I threw them out the window and decided to stack my beloved mutt lab Wendell against their hypothetical down-to-earth 50-pound dog in New York City (with a 12-year lifespan, in case you were wondering).

While this isn’t a dog about blogs (there are enough out there already), longtime Mountain Kidd followers know that over the years there has been one constant companion for adventures long and far: Wendell, my black Labrador Retriever mutt. But the article made me wonder – while I couldn’t put a price tag on my dog, just how much does he cost?



  • $100.00: Cost of dog (includes spaying or neutering, microchip)

Wendell ‘cost’ 500 pesos that I donated to the lady in Mexico who was helping launch a vet clinic and ran a very, very informal pet adoption program. That’s roughly $50US, and I did get him microchipped so I’ll let this cost stand. Yup, Wendell was a street dog in Mexico. How much more “mutt” or “rescue” does it get?

  • $102.00: New York dog license

That would be $10 in Wyoming. Clean air is free, too. But I digress.

  • $35.00: Collar, leash

Yup, gotta have these.

  • $4.95: Metal dog tag

Those too.

  • $22.99: The Adopted Dog Bible

Wendell never asked for a Bible.

  • Free: ASPCA Pet Safety Pack with window decals


  • Mutt: $264.94
  • Wendell: $149.95



  • $129.99: Basic one-door crate ($110.00), with quilted crate mat ($19.99)

Wendell’s crate was $20 at a garage sale. Incidentally, the best garage sales in the universe are in Jackson, Wyoming. Don’t say I never shared my top secrets with you. As for the quilted crate mat, I just move the blanket that was his original bed… genius, right?

  • $99.00: LL Bean Premium Denim Dog Bed

Swank bed was free, courtesy of the owner of The Blue Lion in Jackson, Wyoming. It was too small for his dogs. I did spend $10 on a small fleece throw for Wendell that functioned as his bed prior to this windfall.

  • $6.00: Ticking clock to “simulate heartbeat of puppy’s mother and calm it down”

Wendell came to me at age two, thus saving me this $6 and countless pairs of unchewed chews. It’s easier to not adopt a puppy.


  • Mutt: $499.93
  • Wendell: $179.95



  • $16.99: Housetraining for Dummies

Wendell was two and was never tried to go in the house. If he’s sick (rare), he even scratches at the door to go outside and vomit. That’s a good dog and again, it’s easier to not adopt a puppy.

  • $99.00: “Mutt Manners” five-week class

I taught Wendell his manners.


  • Mutt: $615.92
  • Wendell: $179.95



  • $37.99: Cost of 300 “wee-wee” pads

I don’t know what these are. Nor do I want to.

  • $127.80: Lifetime supply of Resolve Pet Oxi Advanced Carpet Cleaner and Nature’s Miracle Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo

I’ve bought two pet cleaners, mostly to clean my house up after other peoples dogs. I’ll put $40 in this column.

  • $802.50: Pooper scooper and biodegradable pick-up bags

Pooper scooper? How about “the shovel that you already own”? And I get pick-up bags from the station on our daily walk. My taxes pay for them, anyhow.


  • Mutt: $1,584.21
  • Wendell: $219.95



  • $30: Two large white dog bowls
  • $5,342.00: Pedigree dog food
  • $900.00: Treats including Beggin’ Strips and Cloud Star Buddy Biscuits

Alright, these are fair. I buy Wendell the good food, too.


  • Mutt: $12,382.56
  • Wendell: $6491.95

Doggie Doctor


  • $3,120: Routine veterinary care

Checkups and stuff. It’s the responsible thing to do.

  • $672.00: PetArmor Plus flea and tick protection

No fleas or ticks in Wyoming. There are pluses to living in a bitterly cold climate.

  • $1,079.00: Heartworm treatment

It’s only warm enough to do this half the year, so I’ll add half this number.

  • $1003.02: Super VitaChews multivitamins

They make vitamins for dogs? Really?

  • $49.99: ASPCA Pet First Aid Kit

Umm, no.


  • Mutt: $18,306.57
  • Wendell: $10,151.45

From here, the article starts to get just silly in my eyes. $4,348.00 in premiums on catastrophic pet insurance? Really? And Wendell’s grooming category falls under sunk costs such as “the garden hose” and “the dish soap”. Don’t even get me started on the doggie clothes for the dog and the doggie-related clothes for the human. Buying a dog that is comfortable in your chosen climate is a lot cheaper. Pugs get cold in Wyoming, Huskies get hot in Arizona. Is this really a surprise to anyone?

The lifetime total for the hypothetical mutt was (are you sitting down?) $59,668.88, but as you can see there are a number of costs that my mutt doesn’t incur. However, even with my fairly minimalist approach (my dog doesn’t even like toys), I’ve ran the cost of Wendell up to five digits. For this, I get constant adoration and a willing mountain bike and ski buddy 365 days a year, which is a pretty good value in my eyes.

Read full article: Labradoodle vs. Mutt: The Real Cost of Owning a Dog.

2 Responses to “Doggie Math: Mutts Cost Money.”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Wendell is worth every penny and what a nice pic of him! The only thing I think is not necessarily silly is pet insurance. As your dog gets older, pet health insurance isn’t a bad thing—it usually covers a yearly exam and then saves you from a hard decision later if there is an expensive operation and you have to do the math about it. They do have a limited life span but if you want them to enjoy every minute of it, the insurance could come in handy. I will not supply you with my turtles lifetime costs–he lives 30 years but he is a cheap date!

  2. Jo-Ellen Smith says:

    Looking forward to meeting Wendell. Just have to say, I am very glad we have pet insurance for Fenway, our chocolate lab. On our last trip to Whistler he got into something (vet said either slug bait or marijuana-cookie or brownie form found on Valley Trail), had tremors/seizures, lost control of rear legs and bladder, and balance. Very scary. An iv, activated charcoal, and an overnite at the vet was not cheap; well worth the cost of the insurance. thank goodness he is a big (85 lb.) dog; would hate to think of the effect on a little pooch 🙁

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