From a Pet Store
If you got your dog from a pet store the value of the dog drops by half as soon as you walk out the door. Just like when you buy a new car that depreciates once you drive it off the lot, so too do puppies. The stores generally charge at least three times what they paid for the pup, but because they vaccinated them, and to make the math simple, the value of your pup is half what you paid for it. Every year beyond that, the value drops by half. So an $800 puppy is worth $400 as soon as you take it home, worth $200 on its first birthday, $100 on its second, and $50 on its third, and so on.
All of this is assuming you are taking care of it, making sure it is house trained, properly vaccinated, and so forth. In fact as soon as you fail the dog by neglecting care or vaccinations its value drops to $0. The dog should also be attending regular obedience classes and be spayed or neutered before its first birthday. Although the dog might be cute, it is common knowledge among “dog people” that pets from pet stores are not breeding, or show, quality, and are generally poor examples of the breed.
West Highland Terrier Puppy. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
From a Legitimate Animal Shelter
If you got your dog as an adopted animal from an animal shelter, there is no price difference on the day of adoption. Shelters are non-profit, your dog is worth exactly what you paid for it on the day you got it. However, every year following, the price does drop by half. A dog you adopted for $200, is worth $100 a year later, and $50 the following year, and so forth. This is again assuming you are keeping up with the care and regular vaccinations. Sadly the reality is that people do not value older pets, they tend to what them young.
If you got your dog from an animal shelter, chances are your contract says that if you cannot keep the dog, for any reason, you must return it to them and cannot sell it to another party.
From a Backyard Breeder
If you got your dog from a “back yard breeder” and is unregistered, you can apply the same math as with pet store pets, the price drops by half as soon as you leave the yard, and by half ever year after that. If the dog is registered and comes with papers the same math applies (unless you put value into it by attending shows), because papers are only proof of parentage, not quality. Back yard breeders really haven’t done anything to get the value into their pets. If you pay for a pup that has not been vaccinated or vet checked, then the value is immediately dropped to zero, until you get this done. People should never pay for a pet that has not been vaccinated, health checked, or come with some sort of guarantee.
Yorkshire Terrier at a dog show. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
From a Reputable Breeder
If you got your dog from a Reputable breeder, one who has taken the parents to dog shows to prove their worth as breeding animals, the pup retains its value much better. Your dog will have registration papers to prove it came from quality parents. The value of your dog drops by half at age one year, and continues to drop by half every year after, unless you take the dog to shows to prove it has maintained or improved its value. Purebred dogs who are quality animals can easily increase their worth by attending dog shows and getting championship titles.
How to Increase Value
But what if your dog is not a purebred quality animal, is there any way of increasing his or her value? YES! There are a few ways of helping your dog maintain its worth. The first is by breed selection. Some breeds are more in demand in some areas. In cities it is usually smaller, non-shedding dogs that are getting higher prices. A really good way of improving your dogs value is with training. It is not enough for your dog to know “Sit” and “Stay” your dog should be able to do much more. Even mixed breed dogs can excel in obedience classes or agility. If your dog is a hunting or herding breed, training it, and competing with it at shows will make it a more valuable dog.
Keeping your dog fully vaccinated will make it a more desirable dog if you are ever forced to sell it, as will spaying or neutering. Unless your dog is a purebred dog who has been attending shows to prove its worth as a breeding animal, there is no reason not to spay or neuter it. People who are looking for a new dog will see an unfixed one as more of a problem, and a bigger financial commitment.
Nobody purchases a dog with the intention of selling it in a few years time, but people need to be aware that just because they paid a high price does not mean the pup is worth that much.
A very overweight, probably older, Beagle, Photo from Wikimedia Commons.
Similarly you may find your dog is worth a negative amount. If you are forced to surrender it to an animal shelter they generally ask for a relinquishment fee. This fee helps them support and care for your pet until it can be adopted. Shelters will often understand if a person is short of funding, and will usually take the pets without the relinquishment fee, but if everyone refused to pay this, then the prices of adoptions would need to be raised, as such, fewer adoptions would occur.
It is better to surrender a young unwanted pet to the animal shelter, or SPCA, rather than offering it “Free To Good Home” in the newspaper. Studies have shown that only a fraction of these “free” pets get good homes. In some countries, like the USA, it is legal to take free pets and sell them to research labs. In fact once you have given the pet away, you no longer have any say in its care. If you are going to give a pet away for free, you MUST be willing to check the new owners out, and be willing to refuse them if you feel it is not a suitable home.
Remember you love your dog, you know your dog, but a person who is looking to buy a dog, doesn’t. Price your dog to sell, and be willing to check the new home out to make sure it really is a “good” home. Additionally know that, just because you paid $800 for a dog two years ago, does not mean the dog is worth that now. There are far more adult dogs looking for homes than there are people looking for adult dogs.
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