We Can’t Afford Our Dog Anymore. – Cee

“Dear Steve,

Briefly – single mom, no support, 7 yr. old daughter. Last fall, I took a 30% paycut to keep my job (basically my entire mortgage payment). In Dec., I promised daughter a dog for her birthday. We finally got the dog a month ago and now I am really feeling the pinch.

I have about $400 month after paying bills for food, clothes, etc. and the dog walker eats up $340 of that (she needs to be walked during the day as we are gone for 10 hrs). I am dipping into savings to pay and I don’t like it – makes me uncomfortable not to have 6 mo. back-up. I wil most likely make the decision to return the dog so that I don’t over stress myself. I’m feeling it and already and know it’s not going to get better. BTW – I have a 12 yr old car with 108K miles which will need to be replaced too.

How do I tell my daughter that we have to return the dog because I can’t afford the cost to raise a dog. A year ago I could, but not anymore. Thanks.


Dear Cee,

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

Being a dog lover, I’m sympathetic. But before you get rid of the dog now which could be tremendously traumatic on your daughter, there are alternatives.

First, consider buying a good crate for your dog and crate train them. Many people keep their dogs in crates during the day and there have been times when we had to for up to ten hours a day.

If your dog stays out in the house during the day and not in a crate, consider training your puppy to use something like the Four Paws wee-wee pads instead of having to naturally hold it till you get home.

Either approach should save you $300 to $340 a month.

What do you think about that approach?

Please update me on your progress by

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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1 thought on “We Can’t Afford Our Dog Anymore. – Cee”

  1. Better yet, get a pet gate (or “baby gate”) and confine your dog to a bathroom or other room with a tile or cement floor while you are gone. (It is not recommended to confine a dog to a crate for more than 4-5 hours). Leave her with sufficient water, food, and toys. The room should be lighted and ventilated. Garages are ok if not exposed to high temps during the summertime.

    Do you have a local “doggy day care” that might be cheaper? Do you have a friend or neighbor who might be willing to come and walk your dog for free or in exchange for a favor?

    I own 6 dogs and do a lot of “free” pet sitting. My dogs are my kids, so even in spite of hard times I figure out a way.

    If your dog is alone a lot, finding her a new home might be best. Dogs need dog and human companionship, exercise, and play.

    I wish you and your dog well, whatever you decide.


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