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Q: We’re thinking about getting a dog but we’re worried about the costs involved. Any financial tips?

Diana says...
I would start by doing some basic research before purchasing a pooch. Check out the traits of your coveted breed, genetic problems they may be known for and any general upkeep they need. To research, you can flip through doggy books, magazines, websites or, better yet, seek out the advice of a vet. If your new best friend requires high, or even basic, maintenance—such as hair unmatting, nail clipping, flea medication, treatment for ear infections, etc.—make sure you have enough extra cash to keep them healthy. Sit down and work out a budget, factoring in annual exams, treatment for infections that may arise, doggy care, heartworm tests, dog food and treats, toys and other costs that may come up. One way to cut unexpected costs is by getting pet insurance.

Diana Cawfield is an award-winning financial writer with more than 10 years experience. Send her your questions here.