Dog business: what you need to know
That we live in an era of extreme fame influence, where the very famous often double as the very wealthy, is not in question. Today, the wealthy can enjoy their money and flaunt every second of it on the internet. And we have yet to experience anything that generates better-than-money influence and a hungry following on the interwebs. And in a rather predictable move, ambitious workers desperately clung to the demonstrated ways of the bourgeoisie. Unsurprisingly then, pets, dogs in particular, have become symbols of high social status. The rarer the breed, the more elitist and ambitious the owner, a sentiment shared by Dr Derrick Chibeu of Sercombe Veterinary Surgeons.
When I arrive at the reception of Dr. Chibeu’s place of work, a 500g can of powdered puppy milk priced at 5,000 shillings takes me by surprise. And before I can recover, right next to it is a 10kg bag of dog food with an outrageous price tag of, in my opinion, 8,000 shillings. Incredibly, it’s only a fraction of the cost of keeping a dog as I would learn later. Dr Chibeu then walks out of the operating theater at Karen’s Veterinary Clinic, Nairobi. Her scrubs, covered in flying dog fur, bear witness to her busy morning.
According to Dr. Chibeu, commercial dog foods best meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs. These, however, come at a higher cost compared to home-cooked meals. According to him, a 10 kg bag will cost you between 6,000 and 8,000 shillings depending on the brand you choose.
You may be wondering how long your 8,000 shillings will feed your dog. This is where the shock lies. An average dog weighing 20kg, feeding on 500g per day, would only be supported by a 10kg bag for about three weeks, which would translate to around Sh2,600 per week just for your dog’s food. If this is a bit over your budget, well prepared meals at home will suffice, but only if supplemented well with supplements for dogs, as these tend to be below the required nutritional value.
To vaccinate a puppy, Dr Chibeu explains that the owner will part with something between 2,000 Sh and 15,000 Sh depending on the choice of the veterinary clinic. The vaccination process will usually take place between week six and week 16 of the puppy’s life.
Assuming your dog rarely gets into trouble, a checkup at the veterinary clinic will cost you around 3,500 to 6,000 shillings. If you opt for a ferocious breed like a German Shepherd or Bull Terrier, emergency runs to your vet will increase the costs of dog ownership for you.
“A 40 kg German shepherd is lying unconscious on the operating table, his ear almost torn off during a neighborhood fight”, intervenes Dr Chibeu. This emergency will cost the owner Sh15,000. And this will not be the last of his emergencies this year.
The castration or castration of your dog (act of responsible control of the animal population), will also be a necessary act to help in the management of your breeding. An adult dog weighing around 40 kg will cost you about 36,000 shillings at Sercombe Veterinary Surgeons. On the contrary, if you need breeding supervision, where your dog mates with a specific breed to produce desirable or purebred offspring, you will need to cough up more than 1,500 Sh.
Your dog can also get in the way of your jet-setting lifestyle. No matter where and how long you might be away on a trip, your dog will need to be properly cared for. And that’s where boarding kennels come in. For anything between Sh500 and Sh1,600 a day, your dog will have a safe and comfortable place to call home while you’re away. Dr. Chibeu explains that boarding fees vary from kennel to kennel, depending on the quality of care, your dog’s weight and breed, and the number of dogs housed at the boarding house. The fewer dogs a facility manages at a time, the higher the boarding fee.
Popular dog breeds
Dr. Chibeu explains that the popularity of any breed tends to change from time to time. It depends on factors such as supply and demand as well as what the masses consider fashionable. For example, white fur terriers have become quite likable among the Kenyan population, which has driven their prices up. A terrier with a proven pedigree can fetch as much as Sh100,000. Other desirable dog breeds, notwithstanding their prices, include German Shepherds (Sh40,000-100,000), Golden Retrievers (Sh60,000-120,000 Sh), Labradors (120,000 Sh to 150,000 Sh) and Bourbels (100,000 Sh). to Sh200,000). It is important to note that the price of a dog increases if its pedigree (breed purity) is well documented and can be proven.
Before having a dog
Dr. Chibeu explains that there are a number of things to consider before getting a dog. First, determine why you need a dog. Deciding whether you are looking for a working dog or a companion animal is a critical step towards selecting an appropriate breed. Working dogs provide services such as security, retrieval, contraband search, guiding, and caring for the sick or disabled. Pert dogs, on the other hand, are only kept for companionship.
To be on the safe side, he notes that breeds such as German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Boerboels are often preferred. Terriers, Golden Retrievers and Labradors tend to be kept for companionship. Usually, small dogs are considered more personal and easier to care for in living spaces. It’s also important to understand what kind of activity and energy you can expect from your dog. Some breeds are considered laid back while others tend to have more active personalities.
Additionally, your location and residential space should dictate the breed of dog you settle on. Some dogs enjoy a social environment while other breeds tend to be more reserved, preferring a quiet, serene home. Likewise, the size of your living space will guide you on the right breed to choose. For example, according to Dr. Chibeu, it would be unfair to house a 60 kg German Shepherd in a small apartment on a busy estate.
Your schedule should also be a deciding factor. Some dogs need lots of socialization, while others are happy to be left on their own for periods of time. This explains why some dogs exhibit behaviors such as tearing and tearing up couches when left home alone while the owner is at work. Understanding your daily activity will help you choose a dog that fits your lifestyle well. Keeping a responsible dog is not for the faint of heart, and especially not for the weak of wallet. The costs of properly managing a dog in your home will largely depend on the breed you settle on.
Although you may think that your dog will spend all of his time in your home, it is important to set up a kennel for your dog before he arrives. The size of the kennel should depend on the size of the dog you want to acquire. To set up a kennel, you will need to identify a suitable spot in your yard. You can then use available materials such as wood, iron sheets and chain link fencing for the perimeter, to create a shelter for your dog, or opt to purchase an easily assembled kennel from a local carpenter.
Your love for dogs can also turn into a business in its own right. Opportunities to pursue your passion can come in the form of dog training, breeding, or even boarding. Training and breeding, although much more capital intensive than boarding kennels, tends to have a higher financial return. To get started in breeding, get information on the different breeds of dogs and their profitability. The East African Kennel Club is an ingenious reference for any beginner breeder or trainer, as it has qualified professionals in the fields of dog breeding and training. Dog boarding is also a profitable opportunity for dog lovers. As a dog lover, you can charge an agreed amount to care for a dog when the owner is unavailable. You can market your dogs on social media and through referrals.