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The real cost of raising a fur baby

by Jericho Zafra

ASIDE from being man’s best friend, dogs have become a source of relief and therapy for their owners. 

A study from the Beacham Center for Geriatric Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine said petting a dog decreases the stress hormone cortisol and boosts the feel-good hormone oxytocin; these are the same hormones that bond mothers to babies.

About 84 percent of post-traumatic stress disorder patients partnered with a service dog reported a significant reduction in symptoms, and 40 percent were able to reduce their medications.

However, veterinary doctor John Lawrence Sunga said dogs are a life-long commitment and should also get the same treatment they give to their owners.

According to Dr. Sunga, the puppy should already have canned food, kibbles, and dog food from the first day, while being breastfed for the first month. For the second month, dog owners can feed their puppies with dog milk. 

Sunga provided a breakdown of the cost of raising a dog to ensure they are healthy.


  • Wellness checkup with antiparasitic and vaccination programs – P9,000 to P10,000. 
  • Yearly annual vaccination and antiparasitic medicine – P11,000 to P12,000. 
  • Check up with laboratory tests (including urinalysis, fecal exam, complete blood count, blood clotting times, blood Chemistries, and cytology) – P3,000 to P10,000.

Sunga noted that the rates are subject to change depending on the severity of the case and warned dog owners that only licensed veterinarians can conduct wellness checkups for their pets.

“Para sa mga first-time fur parent, adopted or acquired pets from trusted and legit sellers with signed vaccine cards and deworming program by a licensed veterinarian, only licensed veterinarians are authorized to conduct wellness checkups to your pets,” Sunga in an e-mail interview.


Aside from regular wellness checks, dogs have to be vaccinated every year, according to Sunga.

Breakdown of required vaccines for dogs for the first year:

  • 6-in-1 vaccine (two times) – P500 to P600 (this vaccine covers protection against the following dog diseases: canine distemper, canine hepatitis, canine leptospirosis, canine parainfluenza, canine parvovirus, and canine coronavirus)
  • 8-in-1 vaccine (two times) – P600 to P700 (this covers protection against other strains of canine distemper, canine Hepatitis, canine Leptospirosis 4 strains, canine parainfluenza, canine parvovirus)
  •  Anti-rabies vaccine (once a year) – P300 to P400
  • Kennel cough vaccine (two times) – P500 to P600 

After the first year, Sunga said the 8-in1, anti-rabies, and kennel cough vaccines are the only required inoculations for the dogs.

“Mahalaga na makumpleto ng bawat furparent ang bakuna ng mga pets nila para mapataas ang immunity nila sa mga sakit na nabanggit. Prevention is better than cure,” Sunga said.

Home Remedies

Although home remedies are not advisable, Sunga said dog owners without access to veterinary care can do home remedies to prevent the aggravation of their dog’s condition. But he said owners should still bring their pets to the clinic for certainty.

“Case to case basis, kung hindi kaagad madadala sa vet clinic at kung walang access sa bukas na veterinary clinic lalo na kapag madaling araw, maganda na kahit papaano maagapan ‘yung problema ng pets at home, pero dapat pa ring dalhin sa clinic. ‘Wag magbigay ng kung ano ano sa mga pets, ‘wag kaagad maniwala kay Dr. Google,” said Sunga.



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