How Much It Actually Costs To Own A Dog So You Can Make The Right Choice


As someone who has owned a dog her entire life, I can happily say that they are the absolute best creatures in the world.

They provide unconditional love, they are full of joy, and they are always there for you when you need them.

The only downside to a pet is the fact that they can get a little bit pricey. Sure, Rover loves getting all cuddly with you, but when he gets sick or destroys the furniture, it's pretty normal to get frustrated.

So even though they are the best creatures in the world (potentially in the whole universe) it's really important to know what you're getting into when you bring a dog into your family.

People who have never owned a dog may not know what kind of expenses are associated with them. It's not just the adoption fee or purchase price that you need to consider, there's a lot of additional expenses to consider. Let's go through them so you can make the right choice for your family.

Adoption Cost - $100 - $5,000

Pug Puppies
Tanya Ruiter

The purchase price of your new friend can vary wildly. It depends on the breed, where you're getting them from, and how old they are.

Buying a pure breed puppy from a breeder can cost you anywhere from $500 to $5,000. It all depends on which breed you're interested in and how important pedigree is to you.

I always recommend visiting your local shelters or searching for independent rescues. There are so many great dogs out there who are just waiting for a family, and even if they are a little older they still deserve your love.

The cost to adopt a dog through a rescue can be a lot lower as well, ranging from $100 to $400 on average. If you're set on a puppy, you can always ask to be put on a waiting list or try to get preapproved and request notifications when new dogs come in.

Food & Treats- $150 - $500 per year

Depending on the dog, you may have to feed them a special diet. Also, depending on the dog's size you may find they go through food quicker.

Or, if your dog ends up like mine, they are demanding and like to eat a lot more than they probably should.

Some dogs require special diets with more expensive foods, but even the cheapest foods out there will still cost you over $100 per year.

Also, you know you're going to give your pup treats, which costs the average dog owner about $75 per year. That may sound like a lot, but you want to make sure you get good quality treats that fit in well with their diets.

Vet Bills - Up to $800 per year

On average, people will pay about $800 per year for their dog's vet visits. You might think it's just vaccinations, but there is also tick prevention, flea prevention, and, of course, the unexpected emergencies.

When your dog gets into something, gets sick, or gets hurt, you always know it's going to be fairly costly. If you end up needing them to get blood work or x-rays, it can cost hundreds of dollars.

Home Necessities (Crates and Beds) - $40 - $150 as needed

If you decide that crate training is for you, then obviously you'll need to get a crate. The small ones usually cost around $40, that will fit your small dogs, but a crate for a big dog can be more like $100.

Then there is also the bed. You probably aren't just going to put them in the bed without anything on the bottom to cuddle in. A dog bed or pad can cost anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on brand, material, and if it's water resistant or chew resistant.

The fun part about dogs is even if you spend a bunch of money on the beds they sleep in, sometimes they still like to throw fits and destroy them. Whether it gets chewed up, peed on, or puked on, dogs don't really understand that their destructive tendencies cost us money.

Depending on how well your dog is behaved you may have to replace the bed around once a year, but the crate should last for quite a while unless you've got a real destructive little buddy.

Toys - $50 - $100 per year

It depends on the owner and the dog's destruction level, but the average is somewhere between $50-$100 per year.

Some people spend more or less, but it really depends on what toys your dog likes and what you feel comfortable with.

Personally, I think my dog has more toys than he knows what to do with, but he loves all of them. I've even gotten a subscription to a company called Bark Box a few times, which delivered amazing toys and treats to my house that he couldn't get enough of.

The best part was that if there's a toy that he doesn't love, they will replace it. I had that issue only once, because the toy he received was just not strong enough for his viscous little teeth and I knew he would just destroy it in seconds. They sent me a new toy at no cost! It was really awesome.

If you are interested in Bark Box, I honestly recommend it so highly. We even have a promo code that'll get you an extra month for free. Your dog's going to love it.

Gear - $20 - $100 as needed

Collars, leashes, seatbelts or even coats can range in price quite a bit. You can buy cheaper collars and leashes, but you will need to get something.

Make sure you get your pet the right kind of lead for their attitude too. A lot of dogs are actually better on a harness because it prevents them from pulling hard on their neck.

If you live somewhere with cold winters, you may potentially need to grab your dog a jacket or sweater. They may even need little booties.

While a lot of people think that it's silly to put their dogs in outfits, some dogs would get too cold without them.

Grooming - $200 per year

If you get yourself a fluffy dog, chances are they are going to need some serious grooming. Whether you do it yourself or take them to a groomer, it's going to end up costing you. You'll either need to buy shampoo, brushes, and clippers, or spend the money to get them groomed every couple of months.

Even if they don't need a haircut, you will absolutely need to trim their nails every month or two. You can buy the clippers and do it at home, or you can pay around $15 and have it done.

Training - $100 as needed

Training is one of those things that you don't have to pay money for, but sometimes it's recommended.

Some dogs need a little bit more structure and some owners may not be experienced enough with dogs to know what to do.

It's never a bad thing to do some basic training with a new dog, even if you've had other dogs before. Every dog is different so it's nice to have a professional help you figure out what works best for your dog.

There are also fun activities you can do with your dog like agility training. Teaching them to run obstacle courses helps them engage their minds and keep active.

Daycare or Boarding - $15 - $40 per day as needed

If you are someone who works long hours or go out of town often, doggy daycare may be a requirement for you.

You can bring your dog to a place that will let them play and keep them safe all day so they aren't stuck home alone, but it can get costly.

It's a good way to socialize dogs, but obviously it can add up quickly. Prices tend to be a bit higher when you need them to stay overnight.

So if you consider adding a dog to your family, I would recommend making sure you can afford all of these costs before you commit to something so big.

It'll probably be around $1,000 per year so make sure that is a cost you can afford.

If you want to have a dog in your home but you can't afford the cost, see if any of your local rescues are looking for foster homes. A lot of times they will pay all of the vet care and even provide you with food, all you need to do is give them the love they need.

Source - Reader's Digest / Money Under 30 / SPCA / PetCoach / NBC

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