How Much Does a Dog Cost: A Guide For New Pet Parents
Answering the question: How much does a dog cost? If you’re thinking of becoming a dog owner, here is how much it costs to have and take care of a dog.
Owning a dog is an incredible experience and truly rewarding for any pet parent. If you’re a lover of dogs, you’ve probably thought about owning a furry friend of your own.
While taking care of a dog is fun and exciting, it’s a large responsibility that comes with significant financial investment. So, before you reach out to breeders or stop by your local shelter, let’s answer one simple question:
How much does it cost to have a dog?
Let’s talk about some common dog related expenses you can expect to pay as well as some ways you can budget for your pet.
How Much Does a Dog Cost?
The Costs of Owning a Dog: Necessities, Care & Medical Expenses
Adoption or Breeder Costs
Whether you choose to purchase your dog from a breeder, adopt or rescue them from a shelter, costs will vary depending on your dog’s breed.
Generally, adopting or rescuing a dog can range from $0 to $660. If you want to go through a breeder, it’s best to do your research - find breeders in your area, read reviews from previous customers and compare costs to find the breeder that is right for you.
For help finding a breeder, take a look at the American Kennel Club registry.
Dog Food & Treats
The bare nutritional necessities that a dog will need are food and treats.
Now, every pet parent is different when it comes to how much they will spend on their dog’s nutrition. Some choose to make their dog’s food at home, purchase from the supermarket, the pet store or even a higher end, premium brand.
Additionally, what food you buy for your dog will be determined by a few factors including:
- Their age:
- Puppies will have different nutritional needs in comparison to an older dog
- Their breed
- If a breed is prone to certain ailments, a pet owner may be more selective when it comes to the food they feed their dog
- Their size
- A dog that is smaller in size will have a different diet than a larger dog
Here are some examples of dog food brands and how much they cost for one bag of food:
- Pedigree Complete: $11
- Blue Buffalo: $30
- Purina One SmartBlend: $12
- Diamond Naturals: $37
- Open Farm Wild Caught Salmon & Ancient Grains Dry Dog Food: $71
Dog Accessories: Toys, Dog Bed, Bowls & Leashes
In addition to their monthly supply of food, there are several dog accessories that you’ll need to purchase for your dog before you bring them home. This can include items such as toys, a dog bed, crate, bowls for food and water, collar, leashes and more.
For puppies, toys can be a great way to help keep them entertained as well as ease the growing, developing and teething process. And, older dogs often enjoy toys that allow them to engage with you such as a ball or a frisbee.
When you’re training your dog, a crate may be necessary to help them establish a routine and keep them from getting into trouble when you leave the house. Every pet parent is different, so if you decide to crate train your dog, add that expense to your list. Once your dog is potty trained and out of their puppy stage, you may consider buying them their own personal bed.
Purchasing Items such as bowls for food and water, a collar and leash are necessary for your dog.
Here are some examples of dog accessories and what you can expect to pay:
- BarkBox Toys & Treats Box: $35
- Personalized Bowl Kit from Wild One: $48
- Dog Leash: $10-$100
- Dog Collar: $5-$40
- Dog Bed: $30 and up
- Dog Crate: $40 and up
Dog Training Services
While some dog owners prefer to personally train their dogs at home, others may realize that they could use the help of a professional.
Dog training services are a great way for puppies, younger dogs and older dogs to learn and instill good behaviors. If your dog needs help with potty training, aggression, barking, anxiety or any other issue, a dog training service can work with both you and your best friend to ensure that they can get back on track.
Depending on where you live and the program you choose, dog training services can range from $60-$155 per hour and anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars for board and training programs.
Dog Daycare, Boarding, Dog Sitter & Dog Walker
If you have to leave your dog either for work or to take a trip, you’re going to need to find a place for them to stay.
For daily guidance and care, you’ll have to consider either a dog daycare service or a dog walker that comes to your home each day to walk and feed your pet.
Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere between $12-$38 per day for a dog daycare service. And, for a personalized dog walker, the cost varies based on the individual walker’s rate, but you can expect to pay between $0.5 to $1.00 per minute to have your dog walked.
If you need to leave your dog overnight, the average cost to board a dog is $30-$50 per night.
To help you save money, dog daycare and boarding services often offer multi-day/night packages at a reduced rate.
Your dog deserves to be pampered every once in a while. Did someone say - doggy self care? Since no one likes a dirty pup, you’ll need to factor dog grooming into your budget.
You could wash your dog at home to save some money, just remember to buy dog shampoo and a brush for their fur. If you don’t have the time, taking them to a dog groomer is a nice way to give your pet a spa day of their own.
These are some of the standard prices for dog grooming:
- Full Service for Small Dogs: $40
- Full Service for Large Dogs: $75
- Nail trim & buffing: $15
- Nail trim: $10
- Teeth Brushing: $10
These are just a few examples of grooming prices. Depending on your area and where you decide to take your dog, prices could increase based on the specific dog salon.
Vaccinations & Shots
When you first bring your dog home from the breeder or shelter, it’s imperative that you make sure they are up to date with their necessary vaccinations.
According to Pet Finder, these are some of the costs you can expect to pay for vaccination:
- Vaccines and routine care – 1st year: $100-$350 | Annual cost: $80-$250
- Heartworm tests – 1st year: $0-$35 | Annual cost: $0-$35
- Heartworm prevention – 1st year: $24-$120 | Annual cost: $36-$132
- Flea and tick prevention – 1st year: $40-$200 | Annual cost: $40-$200
- Distemper vaccination – 1st year: $20-$30 | Annual cost: $40-$60
- Rabies vaccination – 1st year: $15-$25
- Deworming – 1st year: $20-$50 | Annual cost: $80-$200
Whether it’s for a routine checkup, wellness care, prescribing medication or another pressing issue, you’ll most likely need to take your dog to the veterinarian for treatment.
Every dog is different and some breeds may require more medical care than others. Therefore, it can be difficult to generalize veterinary costs for each pet parent. Yet, in order to give you a better look at what to expect, here are some typical veterinarian treatments and how much they could cost:
- First year cost for a small dog: average of $1400
- First year cost for a medium dog: average of $1700
- First year cost for a large dog: average of $2000
- Average lifetime cost for a dog: Between $7000-$19,000
- Spay: $100-$200
- Neuter: $50-$100
- Routine Vet Checkup: $45-$55
- Ear Infection: $40-$150
Just like you need your regular dental visits, so does your furry friend. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$300 on a teeth cleaning for your dog.
If your dog needs dental work or any type of dental surgery, you may incur additional costs.
Emergency Care: Accidents & Illnesses
While you never want to think about your dog having an accident or becoming ill, the unfortunate truth is that accidents and illnesses do happen. While we can’t predict the unexpected, it’s best to have an idea of how much emergency care could cost you.
Here are some common illnesses and emergency procedures and what they may cost on average:
- Cancer: $4000
- Diabetes: $2800
- Foreign Object: $3200
- Broken Bone: $2300
- Dental Disease: $500
- Bladder Infection: $400
How To Budget For Your Dog’s Expenses
As you can see, there are many dog related expenses you’ll need to budget for as a pet owner. To help you keep track of your expenses and stay on top of your finances, let’s talk about 2 ways that you can budget for your dog’s care.
One of the best ways to save up for your dog related expenses is to open a pet savings account.
A pet savings account works just like your own personal savings account, except it’s designed for every dog related purchase and expense.
Having a pet savings account with a rewards debit card allows you to set aside the funds you may need on your monthly pet spend.
By creating a budget and allocating a portion of your income to this account, you’ll be able to feel confident knowing that you have the money to pay for everything your pet needs and any potential emergencies that may occur.
At Fursure, we’ve created the Fursure Card, the best savings account and debit card for pet parents. With our debit card, you’ll earn rewards for the amazing things you already do to take care of your pet.
To learn more and sign up for your free Fursure Card, get started here.
Purchase a Pet Insurance Policy for Your Dog
As you saw above, the cost of veterinary care, both routine and emergency, can be incredibly expensive for dog owners. So, how can you lower the cost of veterinary bills and still give your dog access to the best quality treatment?
The answer - pet insurance.
With a pet insurance policy, you’ll be able to protect your dog, bring them to the veterinarian and get reimbursed for treatments that are covered by your provider.
Pet insurance will give you the peace of mind knowing that your dog always has access to the care they need and you’ll never need to choose between taking them for treatment or being able to afford it.
But, how do you find the best pet insurance policy?
That’s where we can help. Fursure is a team of pet insurance advisors that can help you find the best policy for your dog and budget. And, we’re completely free to use!
With our comparison tool and personalized recommendations, we provide you with policy options to choose from. All you need to do is sign up, give us a few details about your dog and we’ll send you a list of providers that we believe are the best fit.
In all, owning a dog is truly a financial responsibility. With basic necessities, care and veterinary visits, the expenses for taking care of your dog can quickly accumulate over time. Knowing that it can be expensive, it’s best for any potential dog owner to be prepared by creating a budget, opening a pet savings account and getting your puppy set up with a pet insurance policy.
Yet, despite what it may cost to own a dog - you can’t put a price on the love and companionship you’ll receive from having a furry best friend.