Introducing our NEW "DIY Puppy Package!" Get a puppy for only $500!
I've been faced with a dilemma for years. This dilemma causes me to feel guilt and frustration, but has also allowed me to get a little creative.
Here is my dilemma: Too many people don't want to pay what they feel are exorbitant prices for a puppy.
People want an inexpensive puppy that is socialized, healthy, easy to train, and cute.
Well, I have the solution!
Introducing our NEW "DIY Puppy Package!"
This new purchasing option will allow families to cut costs and therefore purchase a puppy for under half the cost! With a deposit that covers food, medical care, and other basic care expenses, PLUS a little time and elbow grease, you can purchase your puppy for a price that seems "fair."
Continue reading to learn more about this package!
In order to reserve your puppy, we will need a deposit of $500. This deposit will cover the following basic expenses for your puppy:
Whelping Supplies These are the consumable supplies we use during whelping (the birthing process), including calcium paste, disposable pads, etc. These consumable supplies typically average around $150 per litter.
Premium Puppy Kibble We feed , Lifes Abundance All Life Stages which costs approximately $2.20/lb. We go through 100+ pounds of kibble from birth to 8 weeks between the dam and the puppies.
Supplements We give ultra premium supplements to our dam and puppies, including LA Wellness tab
($0.50/day per puppy), a probiotic supplement ($0.25/day per puppy), and homemade treats (made with raw meat, yogurt, and fruits & veggies).
Disinfectants and Cleaning Supplies These include the disinfectants, laundry detergents, and other cleaning supplies that we use 2-4 times per day. We use specialized & costly disinfectants in the puppy room, the play yards, and in the house. We wash approximately 2-3 loads of laundry per day for just one litter of puppies. We go through a lot of cleaning supplies! We average approximately $250 in cleaning supplies alone per litter.
Puppy Toys We purchase new toys for each litter. We disinfect and send these toys through the wash every few days, so they don't last much longer than one litter anyway. When we send puppies home, we send these toys with them so that they're bringing something familiar with them into their new home. We purchase premium plush toys, treat dispensing toys, safe & natural chew toys, and interactive toys. We spend about $150 per litter on toys and chews.
Deworming Medication and Vaccinations We purchase our own anthelmintic (deworming medications) medications and vaccinations and administer these things here at home. We spend about $200 on anthelmintic medications and $300 on vaccinations per litter. These costs include the syringes and needles needed to administer
Vet Exam We have a litter examination completed around 7 weeks of age by our local primary care veterinarian. This exam costs approximately $25 per puppy.
Puppy Supplies Lease We own and use premium supplies to raise our puppies with, such as our whelping boxes, playpens, vet fleece, washable potty pads, feeders, cleaning equipment, grooming equipment, etc. To purchase all of the supplies needed to raise a single litter would cost approximately $8000, so a part of your deposit will help us recoup some of the cost of these supplies, all of which need to be replaced every few years.
Dam and Sire Lease We own our own dams, and most of our own sires. These dogs cost anywhere from $2000-$4000 to purchase as puppies. We raise these dogs to sexual maturity (the cost of owning a healthy dog is approximately $2000/year) and spend approximately $2000 in health testing and other pre-breeding costs. We expect a part of your deposit to help us recoup these costs.
Property Lease We raise our puppies inside our home. Approximately 900 square feet of the inside of our home is dedicated to rearing puppies. In addition, our entire front and back yards, where we have landscaped and laid artificial turf, are dedicated to raising puppies. So we expect for a part of your deposit to help us pay a part of our monthly housing costs including rent, utilities, and upkeep.
Now, here comes the fun part... the "Do It Yourself" part of our unique package!
Since we are only charging you for supplies (outlined above), and not our time, we expect you to be present daily, from birth to eight weeks, to complete the following protocol:
Daily feeding and care of dam, from birth to approximately 6 weeks once puppies are fully weaned
Daily cleaning of whelping box from birth to 3 weeks
From 3 to 5 weeks the whelping box is cleaned twice daily (stripped, mopped, and laundry washed for each cleaning)
From 5 to 8 weeks, we strip and clean the puppy pen twice daily. Because the pen is now much larger since puppies are larger and weaned at this time, this creates approximately 4 loads of laundry per day.
From 5 to 6 weeks we start potty training puppies. This means we now physically carry puppies outside four times a day to encourage them to potty outside. They eventually learn to use their doggy door to potty themselves, around 6.5 weeks.
Between 5-7 weeks, all outside playtimes are supervised. After 7 weeks, the puppies are very self sufficient in using their doggy door to dictate potty and play, and we either supervise in person or watch diligently from our security cameras. They are always being watched.
We pick up poop all day long. When poop hits the ground, inside our out, it gets picked up immediately. Y'all, I'm not joking about this. I'm not exaggerating. We expect you to follow your puppy around all day and pick up poop as needed.
ENS from birth to 2 weeks
Daily playtime and handling/socialization from birth to 8 weeks
Nail trims once weekly from birth to 8 weeks
Deworming once weekly from birth to 8 weeks
Sanitary trims and baths as needed, once weekly from birth to 8 weeks
Vaccinations at 5, 6, 7, and 8 weeks of age (we used an advanced, gentle, and effective vaccination protocol from NeoTech, a company that makes vaccines that are safer for young puppies)
Temperament testing at 7 weeks of age
Litter exam at 7.5 weeks of age
Your presence is still required during family get-togethers, vacations, and holidays. If you cannot be present, you are required to hire someone to complete your daily duties. I am available for hire for a measly $10/hour. I work 12 hour days, but I will only charge you for 8 hours. Just keep in mind if you do not wish to hire me, you will probably need to pay someone else much more than this in order to motivate them to pick up poop all day long, among other tasks, on a holiday.
Don't feel ready to "do this yourself?"
If you haven't done the math yet, I'll do it for you. For one litter of puppies, in addition to the actual costs outlined in the deposit section, I spend approximately 720 hours of my time (time that cannot be spent earning income to live off of at another job) to raise one litter of puppies. If I were to charge $10 an hour for my time, this would make purchasing one of my puppies completely unaffordable.
So, to better serve my families, I also offer an "All Inclusive" puppy purchasing option!
You can adopt your puppy for the flat rate of $2500 no deposit, no daily tasks and chores... You just sit back and let me do all of the work for you!
Now that is a bargain!
So, obviously, I'm not actually offering a "DIY Package" for your puppy. I would never offer something like this... I'm way too much of a control freak.
If you haven't come to this conclusion yet, I will spell it out for you... Breeding is a labor of love. Ethical breeders do what they do because they love what they are doing.
The next time you put pen to paper and consider the costs (including time) of raising a litter of puppies, make sure you decide whether or not you want to support an ethical breeder, or an irresponsible "backyard breeder." I want you to feel responsible for the kind of program you choose to support.
An ethical breeder will probably look at this article and say, "You left out so many expenses and daily tasks!" And, they're probably right. Raising a litter of puppies ethically is simply a way of life. It consumes you and your home--in a good way, of course.
The next time you consider adopting a puppy that costs $300 versus $2500, please consider what has gone into the planning, daily care, and quality of care of raising that puppy.
Decide where you would like to invest your money.
There are always risks involved when dealing with living creatures. Where do you want your money to go? Your money will support one of the following businesses:
A puppy mill who abuses and neglects their dogs and puppies
A backyard breeder who is taking advantage of you by selling puppies in an inflated market, and lying about the quality of care they are offering
Or an ethical breeder, who is realistically charging way less than they should be, in order to offer a superior puppy to families that appreciate it
You have the power to buy out abusive Puppy Mills and crooked Backyard Breeders by voting with your dollar.
I'm not bitter... I promise. But I do feel undervalued. I feel guilty that some families can't afford a better dog. I feel frustrated that so many buyers are unknowingly (and knowingly!) supporting abusive breeders. And I feel motivated to continue to do my best to educate buyers about what their money is actually buying. But I'm fighting an uphill battle every day.
I'm fighting against puppy mills, backyard breeders, and ignorant buyers.
My husband tells me, after every litter I raise and send off,
"You just don't charge enough for these puppies."
And you know, he is probably right. He watches me work my butt off every day. He watches me cry and laugh, in equal amounts. He watches me pull all-nighters when puppies get sick, or when we start potty training. He watches me miss vacations, holidays, and family functions on a regular basis. And in addition to all of this watching, he helps me quite a bit, too. He allows over half of our very small home to be overtaken with little eating, pooping, barking machines. He supports my passion to make less money than I could working a minimum wage job a measly 40 hours a week. My husband sees what buyers couldn't possibly see. He sees the true value of what I am doing, and of what other ethical breeders are doing.
Thank your ethical breeder today, and please think twice about where your money is going the next time you choose to purchase a pet. Please remember that adopting from a shelter or rescue is still purchasing (you're paying money, right?).
Please educate yourself on what exactly your money is supporting.
Do you need help understanding how to identify an ethical breeder versus a puppy mill or backyard breeder? Please check out this article:
How to Identify Backyard Breeders, Secret Puppy Mills, and Online Scams
Happy Trails and Wagging Tails,
****Shared with permission from and edited to fit cost of our program.
Liza Marie Moon at
Rebecca Creek Retrievers