What a Dog Will Cost You

The Expenses You Can Expect to Pay when Owning a Dog

The cost of owning a dog is always changing based on a variety of factors both in and outside your realm of control. How much your dog visits the vet, which food you buy, the breed specific problems or assets, whether or not you kennel your dog, and his activity level all play a role in how much it costs on average to own a dog. All of the estimates below are just that, estimates, and may be higher or lower depending on your individual circumstance. Before purchasing a dog, however, you should be associated with some of the costs that will come up with keeping him healthy and happy. With all of the items listed below, the sky’s the limit on how much you can spend; these are averages of what a dog owner can expect to pay.

The Dog.

Pure-Bred Dog: $400-1200

Adopted dog: $50-200

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Whether or not you’re buying the dog from a breeder or adopting from a rescue organization or shelter there will likely be a fee for the dog you want. If you are buying a pure-bred dog expect to pay significantly more than if trying to adopt. The cost will largely depend on the breed and how high the demand is for the puppies. There will still be a fee if you buy an adopted dog from a shelter, mostly to help the shelter pay for the care the dog received while there and to help them continue their rescue efforts.

Vet Bills. The first thing you should do regardless of where you bought your dog from is make sure he gets a thorough vet check up. An adopted dog from the shelter will have updated shots and be spayed/neutered before purchasing him (this was part of the adoption fee). A puppy bought from a breeder may or may not, however, and it’s very important to get your dog immunized from various diseases, especially in the first year of his life. Even if you bought an adult dog, he will still need to have is vaccinations updated if they weren’t before purchase. You will need to take your dog to the vet every year or so, healthy or not, for routine check ups and vaccinations.

In the event of an unexpected accident, you will likely end up taking your dog to the vet. These health emergencies can become very costly depending on their nature with surgeries costing possibly thousands of dollars. By buying a dog you are claiming responsibility for its health throughout his life. Not providing the care your dog requires can be considered animal abuse depending on the severity of the negligence.

Checkup for puppy + shots: $200

Checkup for adult dog + shots: $60-100

Annual Vaccinations: $100-250

Spay/neuter: $60-150

Flea/Heartworm Medications: $100-300 yearly

Illness: $?-1,000+

Must Have’s: There are some things that every dog owner must have for their dog. He’ll need a leash and collar, food, toys, and a place to live. Individually these items might not be too costly, but the expenses add up quickly. Fortunately, several of these items are one-time buys. Still others must be bought continuously throughout the dog’s life.

Food: $30/month

Food/Water bowls: $10-25

Treats: $5-15/month

Leash & Collar: $10-40

Toys: $25+ per year

Brush: $8-15

Crate: $50-150 (depends on size)

Dog Bed/Crate Pad: $25-50
Licensing. Every dog must be licensed in his place of residence for the protection of the dog and the surrounding community. Fees will vary depending on the municipality. To promote the spay or neuter of your pet, most offices will charge significantly less.

Spayed/Neutered Dog: $5-20 per year

Unaltered Dog: $10-35 per year

Grooming. The amount of grooming your dog requires depends on your dog’s coat, his activities, and his skin needs. Some dogs will naturally need more grooming than others, and the cost ranges for short/long haired dogs as well as small/large dogs. Most vets will not recommend you groom your dog no more than once a month or six week to preserve the natural oils your dog produces and protect his skin from drying out. If you can handle your dog on your own you may never need to send him to a groomers, which will cut down on cost.

Shampoo: $6-20

Grooming tools:$10-200

Professional Grooming: $20-65 per session (varies greatly per breed/hair consistency)

Training & Obedience Classes. Unless your dog has come trained with basic obedience you should probably consider teaching him some useful training in order to better control him in every situation. If this is your first dog and you haven’t had experience training dogs before, it would be wise to enroll him into a training class for basic obedience. Online guides can be found online to train your dog just about everything, but this takes your time, patience, and consistency. Past basic obedience you may want to train your dog in agility or other specialties based on his breed for fun or for competition.

Obedience Classes: $80-150 for 4-8 weeks of sessions

Travel. Who’s going to watch your dog when you go on vacation? In some cases you can just call on a neighbor to feed and walk him every day, or get a pet-sitter. If you’re going for an extended time you may want to kennel your dog instead so professionals can take of him (do your research before allowing your pet to stay somewhere unknown). It is also possible you may want to take your dog with you, which might require a plan ticket for him.

Pet-sitter: $0-25 per day

Kennel: $25-55 per day

Airplane travel: $75-100

Other Expenses. There will be other expenses to owning a dog. Puppies go through a chewing phase that may include things like your shoes, table legs, and couch cushions. Troublesome older dogs might also chew. Dog’s dig up plants that you might want replaced, and every now and then he’ll probably become sick (naturally on the cream carpet, right?). These expenses are just part of the deal when owning a dog.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.  
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