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Every farm must have a dog, right? I mean they just go together. But as with anything there are some things to keep in mind for the cost of caring for your dog.
First up feed. Yep, they need to eat unless you want to start losing animals. Depending on the number of dogs you have, how much you will have to feed them. In the old days the family dog was just fed the scraps from the kitchen and whatever rabbit they caught. Most people, however, feed their dog some kind of dog food. The cost of the dog food is going to be dependent on dietary needs. We choose to feed a higher protein feed and one that is free of gluten and soy for our own choosing (I was highly reactive to the gluten even from touching the dog’s food at one point).
No matter where you fall on the vaccination argument, rabies is the one your dog should have and stay up to date on. Yes, for the sake of the dog and your children’s safety, but also for legal reasons. A dog that bites, even if provoked, and has no rabies vaccination record is put down. Dogs naturally want to protect their territory and occasionally that is even from a wild animal carrying rabies.
There are so many options for dewormer. At minimum I do a 45-day run of diatomaceous earth two times a year for my dogs. This cleans up the internal parasites that can also cross to you or your children. You can also do the commercially available dewormers. A quick note if you have a collie, border collie, or sheltie, do NOT give them ivermectin. It will kill them. All other dogs handle it just fine.
Fleas and ticks are bound to latch onto your dog. Yes, you can do natural repellents. I use guinea fowl to eat the ticks and a monthly essential oil blend. That seems to keep them in check. However, occasionally the ticks get really bad, and I do have to use a commercial tick killer on the dogs. My favorite is Bravecto if I need to treat that way.
Now what the dogs bring to you. These are harder to pen down as far as costs. First guard services. This is mostly against animal predators, though you can get one trained/bred for guarding against people too. Those are just a bit trickier if you have people coming and going from your home.
Some dogs are also good at herding. These are very helpful for moving groups of animals by yourself. Figure their cost at what having another person to help you would cost.
Finally, companionship. Nothing beats the companionship of a good dog. This is also the hardest to put a cost on.
For specific training, like herding, you will probably need to pay for some professional help at least the first time.
For guidelines on picking out the perfect dog for your farm check out that blog here. Now go get yourself a dog.
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