MAINTENANCE COSTS, WHAT TO EXPECT REGARDING AN AFGHAN HOUND 

 

When you buy a house or a car, you do some research about the budget you need to get. Why wouldn't you do the same in an Afghan Hound’s case? Be prepared you will spend a hell of a sum on this already pricey dog.

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Back in the 90's I read an article, maybe in the New York Times, where a journalist, with great self-irony, have taken an account about, how much does a Barbie -which he bought naively for his daughter- costed him during the years. He spent roughly 50 000$ to fulfil the Barbie's "needs" in the past ten years. And it went as follows: after a while, his daughter would have loved to change Barbie into new clothes, so Barbie got new ones, then a house had to be bought as well. When Barbie had her home, she has fallen in love with Kent who also required a set of wardrobes. But it would have been such a dull life for two dolls to confine they every day only in a dollhouse with a lovely garden, they wanted to travel too, and with what else other than a caravan.... so, as the years passed this horrible sum, which the dad has spent to his daughter's toy, added up pretty easily.

If I reflect on our situation we are taken a similar path with two very important difference: #1 the Afghan Hound is not a toy, #2 the money which goes towards the dog is only spent to fulfil her basic needs. So really think ahead if you buy an expensive dog like this one because the dog's price is just the beginning.

 

1.

 
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Let's start with the food they eat.

It does matter what with you feed your dog. We give them a premium quality junior dog food. This food is high in protein- meat and rice-, and in essential vitamins and enzymes. In the mornings on top of this they get some free-range turkey neck, and beef soup bone, depending on what we can put our hands on. We give these to them raw; we do not cook them. If their poo is a bit softer then it should be, I cook the bones to the point when it is soft, and they can happily chew it.

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It is a crucial time since this period determines their bone density, muscle structure, and the healthiness of their fur, so a good quality dog food is essential. A crucial part of an Afghan Hounds development is exercise. It is really important for them to be able to run, jump around, sprint. The walks on a leash are not enough. As I was watching Louisa, I was amazed at how vigorous and flexible she is, sometimes almost to the point to defy the laws of physics. These things develop their muscles, so for your Afghan Hound puppy freely moving around is a basic need.

 

2.

 

Upon seeing the prices of the nice toys and chews in the pet stores, I have almost fainted.

Under nice I mean the products you would actually buy not the cheap replicas. We were standing mesmerized by the price labels on the shelves in the pet store with my husband. WTF? We knew that after the pharmacy industry next in line to bring home money is the pet's market, but still, it was really hard to take in never the less. OK, let's say these adorable pups are fine with only a twig to play with, so we stick to the basic toys. So, these are the squeaky balls, and rope toys, what they can pull to play. You can even make the miraculous fake weasel at home, so we tried to keep our common sense and play it cool. At this point I have to admit something: we bought almost monthly a new toy for Nana. I know! I know! We just simply could not stand it! She faced with amassing courage wild bores or occasional tourist who were unfortunate enough to get in our path; she waited for us every time without a bark in the car and anyway she is cute...But, Louisa is cute too, and so as Nina and Sophie, so we had to draw the line.

The rawhide, or as we call it the stinky bone served beyond expectation saving all the chair legs, shoes, and every valuable thing, what would have ended up in between their little razor sharp teeth. So, if you would like to stimulate you little Afghan hound mind, also you wish to save your dearest belongings from his or her tiny teeth, you will have to spend money for toys, and chews.

 

3.

 
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Where does the little darling should sleep? The typical stereotype about Afghan Hounds that they sleep on couches. This shall be your decision. If you let her, she will sleep there, for sure. But this is not only an Afghan Hound characteristic. One of our friend's Hungarian Vizsla has his own armchair. As a pup, he fitted into it with ease, but now as he is roughly seven years old he can hardly squeeze himself into it, but he does not give up he sleeps in that armchair. So, it happened with Nana when she was a puppy she targeted an armchair which she concurred with a smooth jump, but then we always put her back to her nest, letting her know that she should sleep there. So, this has nothing to do with the breed but everything with the owner's limits.

We decided Louisa shall not be a couch potato either, rather dog nest potato. It was unbelievable how naturally our rascal pup Louisa jumped to the couch; then she was lying there with crossed front legs. As if she was born to be there.

And no matter how sweet or natural this scene was, we never the less grabbed the spray and with a company of a "NO" we got her off the settee, then we moved her to her lair. At any rate, there is a war going in the family for the couch to spend the afternoon nap on it (usually I win...), there is absolutely no need for a new aspirant. Naturally, Luisa did not give up; it took around ten rounds of dragging her from the settee to the nest. Nina made three tries, Sophie 4. These days they are only watching with longing in their eye, but they do not jump on it. An appropriate and comfy nest for them helped this process a lot.

Back in the early years of 2000s Tom Ford, who at the time was they genius creative director of Gucci, released to the market the Gucci dog bed. He justified it - if I remember well - with the reason that he wanted a dog bed which suits his house interior design. It is a somewhat reasonable expectation, but I think primarily it wasn't only his creativity but his humour too which shone through.

So, you can buy a high-end dog bed, or you can DIY one with your Prada screwdriver set (do not misunderstand me, I am not being sarcastic, I would love a Tom Ford designed Gucci sling-shot or a Hermes bicycle. So, I would never throw stones at anyone who wishes for such drollery or happen to buy these), you can buy an armchair, or a sofa, or merely an ordinary pet bed from the pet store. The main thing is that it should be big enough and soft, and above all that you can wash it easily. The softness is important because these dogs are bony types, they do not feel comfortable on hard surfaces.

 

4.

 
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Bad hair day or you will spend more on grooming, then on your hair. Even if you happen to be a DIY type, you can not escape spending money. Let's start with the groomer. First of all, you have to find one who knows how to treat Afghan hound coat. You can turn for advice to your breeder if you live nearby or you can ask other Afghan hound owners. As you wouldn't take a Bentley to a Toyota repair shop, neither every groomer knows what to do with an Afghan hound's coat. Therefore, if you wouldn't like your dog to look like a dirty, tangled mop, you have to take him or her at least every two weeks to a "specialized repair shop." In an earlier post, I have mentioned what it takes to maintain this beautiful coat to keep it so. A competent groomer can do it, but an incompetent one can cause terrible damage. 

I decided to put my vote next to the once a month grooming salon visit. Louisa, Nina and Sophie's coat is changing from the pet hair to the adult one. (There will be a tone of coat in this column, sorry.) This is the period in an Afghan hound life when they coat tend to stick the most together. I reckoned I could deal with this. Yea. I put Louisa in the bath and shampooed her then the conditioner, as I would do with my hair. Then I thought I should brush her and dry her. I was so naive. The least was the fact that Louisa did not enjoy it, she hated it she tried to escape. OK, I took the leash I put the collar on her, and I held her with half a hand meanwhile drying her. I thought it would never end. My arm, neck, and back were aching by the time Louisa got rid of the tiny knots and dried.

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The next day I did three things. I went to a masseur. Then I called the breeder and asked for help. He told us to buy a grooming table and with that a special shampoo too. We bought it. The third thing was that I have dialled the specialized groomer's number and booked the three charities for a treatment. Meanwhile, she was cleaning them up, she explained everything to me and thought my tricks. Like, you have to mix the conditioner and a small amount of hot water smooth with a hand blender, so it dissolves properly. Then you need to dilute it, then pour it into an adjustable lid plastic bottle, so it is easier to dose it.

At your Afghan hound's cosmetic shelf, you will need to find space for several brushes, oils, and a high-power blow drier, so as to mention one or two from the trinkets you need to acquire.

Meanwhile their coat is growing, I have to wash them at least once a week to avoid dreadlocks in their coat. This procedure takes approximately two little hours per dog. Now imagine that moment when you gaze upon your clean Afghan hound pup whose fur is without a knot, and your heart will be filled with joy. Then it starts to rain outside.

 

5.

 

Believe me; you will buy the dog coat and the leg protector gaiters. You can laugh at me, or you can smile under your moustache, as I did when the breeder first showed me one of these raincoats. Then imagine that you have paid for the groomer who made an adorable fluffy creature from your dog.

You step out of the door, and it starts to pour down. At this point, you have the option of grabbing your dog and putting her into your car, but upon arriving she will want to pee one or run around a bit after the long procedure. If the area where you will let her lose is not a huge operation room clean hangar, where you could even eat from the floor if you would wish so, then your spotless clean dog will turn to a muddy legged, dirty bellied, ragged wet mop.

Adieu, lots of money, what you have left at the grooming saloon, or if you are the one bathing them, you can say goodbye to your last two hours of labour. It will happen only once, because within three days the delivery man will ring the doorbell, with the stuff you have ordered...   

 

6.

 
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Do you have health insurance? Sure, you do. Make one for your dog too.

Even if, you have been carefully chosen the breeder and therefore you do not have to worry about hereditary diseases. Cheap and cheerful. Let me share with you Louisa's father's story. Louisa's father was a real cutie lively Afghan hound pup. Quick to learn, smart doggy, you could easily take him for a walk without a leash. One of these occasions he was trotting through a bridge with his owner when without a sound, he jumped through the corridor of the bridge. He must have seen something. It happened when he was 16-month-old. His left front leg spiral fractured. Needless to say, what does this mean for a dog like him, who was born to race.

A very competent vet, loving owners and lots of money, helped to restore him, it took three operation and several years of rehabilitation. These days he attends coursing competitions and dog shows with great results. Louisa's breeder told us, the entire procedure would have cost the fragments of the money they paid if the dog has had insurance. After this, you might avoid crossing the bridges meanwhile walking the dog, but you will not be able to protect him from the wasps, or any other unpredictable health issues which will occur meanwhile you live together. 

 

7.

 

You can even use a drawstring to walk your dog, but I do not think that is the most suitable for this purpose. But what kind of collar and leash do you need? It is the same as it was with the dog bed. You can order a Swarovski customized collar and leash, or you can get one from the pet store. My husband loves the flexible leashes if you buy one of these get at least one that can withhold four stones. Louisa and her sisters have 5-meter-long flexible leash. Of course, we bought shorter ones too, for the city walks. The Afghan hounds have slim long necks, so they will need special collar when they reach adulthood. How many collars she will have and how big of a leash collection will hang next to the door it is entirely up to you.

 

8.

 

Yearly twice, the female dogs are on heat. You must buy a suitable pantie for this in the pet store. You can expect the first one around one year old. One of Louisa's younger sister started it at 8-month-old. Meanwhile, none of our dogs started it although they are 9-month-old. So, there is no rule for this or date. The female dogs are being on heat for two weeks. Meanwhile, this period lasts you have to guard her as you would a vestal virgin. Try to avoid dog playgrounds, and check your fence, to be sure it keeps away the uninvited but very determined lovers. Not only these lover boys are determined, but on” those days" your innocent doggy will become determined too. For example: In our vilage lived a couple. The man bought a Pitbull, the wife, a Yorkie. The Pitbull on heat laid in front of the Yorkie... Happened what happened. Have you ever seen a Yorkie Pitbull mix? They did not want either... Be really cautious when your dog is on heat. Because if you take her for a walk she will not wear the pantie, and she will signpost your house location with tiny drops for every interested party...

 

This has been only the petty cash. I have not even mentioned the club membership fees, the fees for the coursing, or the money you have to pay for the dog shows. This is by choice, or it depends what kind of contract you will have with your breeder.

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Please leave a comment! I would like to hear your opinion or if you have any stories you would like to share about your dog!