How Much Does It Cost To Have A Dog? 2 Important Things

dog toys on top of a stack of coins
(Photo: Hyejin Kang/stock.adobe.com)

As a first-time dog owner, you’re undoubtedly wondering, “How much does it cost to have a dog?” When deciding to get a dog, there are numerous factors to consider, and the cost is unquestionably at the top of the list. This is because the amount of money that one dog owner can and will likely spend compared to another tends to vary widely between $615 and $4300, making expenses such an unpredictable component of being a dog owner.

Having had dogs for the most part of my life, I know how expensive it can be to care for one. Regardless, I feel it is vital for us as dog owners to see the money we spend on our pets as an investment in their happiness rather than a burden.

For this reason, I spent an entire day finding and thoroughly investigating the statistics surrounding dog ownership. During this research, I found that many online sites tend to contradict one another when it comes to this topic. Therefore, I set out to write an accurate and well-researched piece about the actual and concrete costs of owning a dog.

Continue reading for a breakdown of how much you can anticipate to spend on your dog, both upfront and on an annual basis.

1. Initial One-Time Costs of Owning a Dog

Type of ExpenseEstimated Amount
Adoption Fees from a shelter$50 to $600
Purchase from breeder$500 to $4,000
License $0 to $20
Spaying/Neutering$50 to $500
Microchip$50
First-Time Supplies$100 to $820
Vaccinations$75 to $100
Special treatments and preventative medications$50 to $300
Total One-Time Initial Costs$375 to $2,340

When it comes to the cost of owning a dog, the unfortunate reality is that most first-time dog owners underestimate how much money they will need to set aside to meet all expenses.

The first of these expenses is often the adoption or purchase fee. If you opt to purchase your puppy from a professional breeder, you can expect to pay between $500 and $4,000. You can choose to pay a lower fee if you adopt from a shelter, which will cost between $50 and $600. You may be lucky enough to be able to adopt a dog for free, but in such circumstances, ensure that you do your research on the dog’s background to avoid any unexpected costs.

When you first bring a dog home, you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog is still a puppy, you must ensure they are immunized, which can cost anything between $75 and $100.

Specific treatments and preventative care, such as flea and tick control, will also be required for your dog. Every dog will need medication that is particular to them, so seek advice from your veterinarian in this regard. These medications can cost anywhere from $50 to $300.

If you opt to spay or neuter your dog, the average cost ranges from $50 to $500. It’s important to understand that spaying or neutering your dog can have both health and financial benefits. Neutering will help your dog prevent illnesses such as testicular cancer while also lowering the likelihood of other health issues such as prostate disease. On the financial side, both treatments will assist you in avoiding the costs of treating medical concerns that a dog that has not been spayed or neutered is likely to experience.

It is critical that you stock up on supplies prior to the arrival of your dog. These include, but are not limited to, dog food, toys, beds, leashes, brushes, and other accessories. The total cost of all of these items together is between $100 and $820.

In many states and towns, having a dog license is required, although, in others, it is not necessary. Consider doing internet research or even asking any dog owners you come across if a license is required in your area. If you do not have a license, you may face a hefty fine, so rather be safe and register your dog. It will only set you back around $50.

I’m sure you’re now aware that the one-time costs associated with getting a dog for the first time go beyond just the adoption fee. I wish I could tell you that these were just one-time costs, but the truth is quite the opposite. Many of the expenses you must pay for initially convert into yearly recurring payments as well.

Continue reading to learn more about these recurring fees.

2. The Yearly Expenses of Owning a Dog

Type of ExpenseEstimated Amount
Food and Treats $250 to $1,000
Toys$10 to $200
Grooming$0 to $1400
Vet Visits$600 to $2,000
Leashes and collars$15 to $50
Training Classes/Courses$30 to $250
Preventative medicines and vitamins$120 to $600
Bedding and Crate$25 to $250 
License (renewal)$0 to $20
Monthly Average Cost of Owning a Dog$88 to $480
Total Annual Expenses$1,050 to $5,770

Food and Treats

Two bowls with dog food, on has meat and veggies and the other has treats
Make certain that your dog is eating a high-quality, well-balanced diet. (Photo: Zontica/Adobe Stock)

It is critical to provide your dog with high-quality food. High-quality nutrition ensures that your dog stays healthy and avoids future problems. Expect to pay between $250 and $1,000 per year, but understand that nutrition costs will vary for each and every dog.

These variations are determined by factors such as your dog’s size, age, breed, and even the brand of food you choose to feed your dog. Having a dog on a vet-recommended diet will undoubtedly affect your dog’s food costs. Depending on your dog’s specific nutritional needs, such a diet can increase or lower your expenses.

Bedding and Crates

A puppy sleeping on its bed in a crate
(Photo: Christine Bird/ stock.adobe.com)

I’m sure you enjoy sleeping in a comfy bed. Your dog, believe it or not, is not any different.

As is usual, the amount spent will differ for each dog. You must consider the size, quality, and brand of the bed you want for your dog. I recommend that you purchase high-quality, long-lasting bedding. Quality bedding, which can cost anywhere from $25 to $250, will help you save money on future purchases.

Grooming

Unless you groom your dog yourself, they will need to visit a groomer regularly. If you groom your own dog, it will cost you nothing, but if you decide to hire a professional groomer, expect to pay anywhere between $1 and $1400.

Furthermore, certain factors will influence how much you pay. The main expense will be for your dog’s coat. The longer and faster their hair grows, the more you’ll pay, and the more frequently you’ll pay.

Regular Vet Visits

It is critical to take your dog to the vet regularly. Your veterinarian will ensure that your dog is and stays healthy. They will also notify you of any health issues your dog may be experiencing. Knowing about these health issues allows you to make financial plans for the future. These visits to the vet will cost between $600 and $2,000 per year.

Your dog’s age will have a significant impact on your vet bills. Older dogs and dogs with health issues need to see the vet more frequently, so the costs are often higher.

Aside from regular checkups, your dog’s teeth will need to be examined. At least once a year, they will require oral exams, cleanings, and dental X-rays. These dental procedures can range from $450 to $1,000 per year. If your dog has any unusual dental problems, the cost of dental care will change. This will necessitate specialized care for your dog, which will cost more than the average yearly fee.

Finally, your dog developing any health problems that they have never experienced before will undoubtedly increase the amount you will pay per year.

Our four-legged friends are just as susceptible, if not more, to illness as we are. I’m sure you’re aware of how unpredictable getting sick can be. It’s the same with dogs. As a result, you must understand that the amount you will spend on vet visits each year is not fixed and will vary from year to year.

Leash and Collars

A leash and collar improve the safety of both your dog and anyone else nearby. Investing in a high-quality, long-lasting leash and collar will also keep you from having to replace them as frequently.

Dog collars and leashes come in a variety of colours and sizes. As a result, they will be priced differently as well. They typically range in price from $15 to $50.

It is not uncommon for dogs to cause property damage, which is all the more reason to invest in a high-quality leash and collar. Alternatively, you could consider budgeting for your dog’s damage costs, but I’m not sure that’s the best option.

Training Classes/Courses

A set of dogs laying down on the floor, in a training class.
(Photo: Osetrik/ stock.adobe.com)

Any dog needs to be trained. Training boosts their confidence, stimulates their brain, and strengthens your bond with them. You may wish to pay for training only during the first year, but it is critical that it continues throughout your dog’s life. Training consists of classes or material such as a course or a book and will cost between $30 and $250.

Training also improves your dog’s mannerisms and behaviour. A bad-behaving dog is likely to cause damage. Damage that you, as their owner, will have to pay for. Is this something you will be willing to do?

Preventative Medicines and Vitamins

A veterinarian feeding a dog some medicine pills
(Photo: Photographee.eu/AdobeStock)

Every dog requires parasite prevention, such as flea and tick control. You should consult with your veterinarian because they will give you the best idea of your dog’s needs in this area and others. You should also consult your veterinarian about the vitamins your dog requires. They will advise you on this based on your dog’s diet and meal plan. You should budget between $120 and $600 for this.

Emergency Expenses

Unfortunately, there are many variables in life over which we have no control. These variables can frequently cause unanticipated events to occur for you and your dog. The good news is that while we may not be able to control these events, we can plan for them.

As dog owners, we must be prepared for unexpected health problems, accidental injury, and even damage caused by our dogs. These are some of the typical costs you can expect to incur if your dog suffers an unexpected injury. X-rays range in price from $150 to $250. Emergency surgery can cost anything upwards of $1,500, while oxygen therapy can cost anywhere from $1,800 to $5,000. The complete list factoring in the size of your dog can be found at emergencyvetusa.com.

Some Advice for Novice Dog Owners

Budget In Advance

The initial costs of getting a new dog are numerous. You will need to spend a lot of money on everything your dog will require, so planning is essential.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Planning a budget requires thorough research. You’ll always be on the front foot when it comes to your dog’s expenses if you do your homework. Planning will assist you in managing your expenditure in such a way that you will have peace of mind. It will also ensure that your dog has everything they need to live a happy and healthy life.

DIY Expenses

When it comes to what your dog needs, there are some things you should never skimp on. To name a few, food and training. However, there are some things you could consider doing on your own.

Many dog owners prefer to save money on grooming by buying a dog brush and doing it themselves. Perhaps you could invest in a once-off grooming course. You won’t need to hire a professional groomer this way. I understand that dog walkers can be beneficial and convenient, but there are times when you should walk your own dog. This may help you save money while also providing you with some exercise.

Emergency Fund

Relating to the topic of unexpected expenses that you may incur as a pet owner, you should set aside enough money for such events. A reasonable amount is between $1,000 and $2,000 per year.

Final Thoughts

Dog ownership does not come cheap. If you decide to get a dog, make sure you are financially prepared to care for it. As I previously stated, consider it an investment rather than an expense. By investing in your furry friend’s happiness, you are also investing in your own.

So What Now?

The costs of owning a dog are only one piece of the puzzle for a first-time dog owner. Check out our article for advice on navigating first-time dog ownership; so you don’t get any more unpleasant surprises.

Further Reading