How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog?

When you think about owning a dog, how much does it cost doesn’t usually come to mind.

by guest blogger, Andy Kearns

When you think about owning a dog, the first thing that likely comes to mind is playing fetch with your puppy or going on long walks together. When you own a pet, they become a member of the family and are a source of many great moments and memories.  

But dogs are expensive and no matter how much you might want to bring one home; you need to consider carefully whether you can afford to be a responsible pet owner.

After all, the costs of a dog go well beyond just the adoption or breeder’s fee. You’ll also have to pay for food, toys, vet bills, training, and a host of other things that can add up from $500 to well over $1,000 per year.

So, before you pick out your next puppy, read on to make sure you can set aside enough each month to take proper care for your pup.

Cost Factors

When it comes to owning a dog, there are both one-time fees, like the cost of spaying and neutering your pet, and recurring fees like the cost of annual check-ups.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

Cost of Purchasing a Dog

Whether you adopt your dog from the local shelter, breed rescue, or buy a puppy from an ethical breeder, adding a dog to your family will cost you.

Adoption is likely the cheapest and ethical way to bring a new pup into your home. While many think adopting a dog is free, it can actually cost anywhere from $70-$300.

If you decide to buy a dog, you can choose between buying a purebred or a non-purebred. A non-purebred can range in price significantly. Pet stores might make you pay up to $1,000, but you could find a pet owner eager to get rid of the puppies their dog just had for free.

If you’re looking to buy a purebred, your costs will vary significantly depending on the breed, but they tend to be more expensive and cost upwards of $1,000.

One-Time Costs

There are a number of costs to dog ownership that come up only once, but they can still add up.

For example, you’ll need to pay for spaying or neutering your pet so that you don’t get surprised with an unexpected litter of puppies. An initial medical exam will also set you back and is essential for your vet to diagnose any existing conditions your pet might have.

There are also necessary items you’ll need to buy like a collar and leash, a crate, and flea prevention which can all add up.

Annual and Monthly Costs

There are also monthly or annual costs involved in owning a dog. Petfinder broke down these expenses and discovered that it will set you back a minimum of $395 to own a dog in the first year and a minimum of $326 in every year after. How much you’ll actually pay will likely depend on the size of your dog and its individual needs.

They estimate that food can cost anywhere from $120 to $550 per year, that treats and toys can cost $50 to $300 per year, and that routine care like vaccines or grooming can cost $100 to $350 per year.

If you don’t have pet insurance, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for every injury or sickness, which could add up quickly. If you do decide to get pet insurance, it can cost anywhere from $15 to well over $100 per month depending on the provider and your pet’s age, breed, and location.

Can you Afford a Dog?

You love the idea of having a dog that greets you excitedly at the door each evening, but owning a pet is also an expensive responsibility. That’s why it’s important you know what you’re getting into before you bring a dog into your home.

The expenses outlined above reflect minimum essential costs and the actual cost of owning a dog could be much more depending on your dog, its health, and its breed. There are also other expenses that your dog might have. For example, we don’t take into account prescription medication or the cost of replacing your furniture after your puppy destroys it.  

If you make sure you have enough in your budget to cover the costs of being a pet owner and set aside a little extra just in case, you’ll be fine. That way you’ll be able to enjoy your time with your new puppy and always know you can take care of them.

-about the author

Andy Kearns is a Content Associate for LendEDU and works to produce personal finance content to help educate consumers across the globe. When he’s not writing, you can find Andy cheering on the Lakers, or somewhere on a beach.

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