Updated: May 24, 2024

How Much Does it Cost to Own a Dog?

You may have waited your entire life for the opportunity to purchase a pup. Now that you are making your own decisions it may feel like the time is right.
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You may have waited your entire life for the opportunity to purchase a pup. Now that you are making your own decisions it may feel like the time is right.

Adding a furry friend to your household can be a big financial decision. It is important you prepare your budget for a dog — impulsively buying a puppy can put you in a bad position down the road.

First Year Costs of Owning A Dog:

Purchase Costs — $50-$1,500

At a shelter, puppies are usually much more affordable, but they can also come with health problems that need to be treated and a higher probability of future health concerns. These medical expenses can add up to around the same price as buying a purebred puppy to begin with.

Initial Vaccinations and Spaying/Neutering  — $165-$735

Some places, such as the Humane Society, offer fairly affordable options for spaying and neutering. At the Humane Society, prices usually range from $45 to $135 depending on the weight of the dog and the type of surgery. Some animal hospitals charge between $150-$200. In addition to getting your puppy spayed or neutered there are a series of initial vaccinations, you need which will usually run anywhere from $100-$400.

Routine Veterinary Care — $150-$600

Making visits to the vet is important to keep track of your dog’s health. Typically, vets visits occur once or twice a year and run between $50 and $400 if your dog doesn’t get sick. Along with veterinary costs, you will also have to invest in preventative medicine to avoid things like fleas, ticks, worms and heart disease. This medicine costs around $100 to $200 a year.

Training — $20-$300

Whether you choose to D.I.Y., hire a professional or go to classes, training is an important step in owning a dog. The most influential time period for training is in the first two years. For those who can’t afford classes, it’s best to invest in a book or DVD that can give some pointers on training.

Keeping a Happy Pup — $150-$2,000

Every pet owner is different when it comes to treating their dog to the finer things in life, such as treats, toys, and bones. Whether your dog has the newest, trendiest collar, or a hand-me-down from a friend these costs can still add up. Things to think about:

  • Grooming
  • Leash, collar, ID tags
  • Chew Toys
  • Treats
  • Bones
  • Vitamins
  • Crate
  • Bed
  • Boarding (if you go on vacation)
  • Cleaning Supplies (probably more of a treat for you)

Dog Food — $125-$500

It may seem like there are many overpriced brands out there, but it is best to go with the food your veterinarian recommends. Just like you, your dog's diet is crucial for keeping its health in check. If your vet recommends an expensive brand out of your price range, do a little investigating on your own and compare and contrast ingredients to find a healthy generic brand.

Overall First Year Cost: $660-$5,635

These are loose figures based on various veterinarians’ websites and other informational websites. Emergencies were not factored in, and with a puppy, there is a lot of trouble the dog can get into that can result in extra trips to the vet.

Annual Cost: $400-$2,500

After the initial expenses, you can expect to pay between $400-$2,500 yearly for a dog. These figures also greatly depend on which area of the country you live. Los Angeles and New York are known for their crazed dog lovers so many canines cost double or triple the average price. Also, these figures are barring any ongoing medical expenses, such as allergies, genetic conditions and others.

Having a dog is a big responsibility and very expensive, but the reward of having unconditional love and friend to greet you at the door makes everything worth it.

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