Dog-onomics: The True Cost of Owning a Dog


Adding a dog to your family can either be the best or worst decision of your life. But as long as you do your research, dog ownership can easily become an exciting, enriching experience for everyone involved.

cost dog ownership

So, before you even get into the planning phases of ownership- what breed, what age, buying versus adopting, supplies needed, etc.- you ought to determine the costs first and foremost. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, on average, $1,641 per year on their dogs. In order to determine how much your four-legged friend will cost you, the following list details a breakdown in both the initial and ongoing costs over the average lifespan of your canine.


Initial Costs:

  • The Dog

Depending on whether you adopt your pooch or buy it from a breeder, the price of the dog can be anywhere from $170 to over several thousand dollars. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the age of the dog influences its purchase price. Puppies generally cost more because there are fewer available for adoption. If you’re looking to save money, consider adopting an older dog. They are usually calmer and better-trained than young puppies, and they still make wonderful pets.

If you absolutely must buy from a breeder, there are plenty of puppies of a variety of breeds available, but again, they are usually more costly, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

  • Supplies

The dog isn’t the only thing you need to buy upfront. First, there’s housing: cage or kennel, depending on whether the dog will remain primarily indoors or outdoors. These cost between $30-200, depending on the quality and the size of the dog. Then there’s leashes and collars, ranging from $5-30 for each.

Don’t forget food and water bowls: $5-20 each. And dogs, especially puppies, love toys: $2-25 each, depending on the size, durability, and material. If you get a puppy, training pads may be used regularly until you finish the potty training phase (approximately $1-2 per pad, depending on the quantity of pads in the package).

  • Desexing

To raise a healthy dog with no risk of aggression problems or pregnancy, its vital to have your dog desexed. The cost of this depends mainly on the dogs gender, with males generally costing less because of the easier surgical procedures. This may cost anywhere between $90-250, depending on your local veterinarians prices.

Ongoing Costs

  • Veterinary Costs

Just like humans, dogs occasionally get hurt or sick and need to go to the vet. On average, yearly vaccinations and check-ups will cost you around $400-750 per year. Leave some room in your budget for unexpected costs such as emergency visits and surgeries. There are pet insurance options available, but its generally just easier to put money aside for emergencies.

  • Food

The cost of feeding your dog varies from brand to brand, but you can assume approximately $30-150 per month (factors such as the dogs size and age are very important when figuring out the costs).

Optional Costs

  • Training

Teaching your dog basic obedience skills will make your life much easier by creating a calmer, well-behaved dog. But these benefits certainly come at a price: group lessons at a local facility cost $10-40 per hour, while lessons with a private trainer can cost $40-100 per hour. If you cannot afford lessons, then you may want to consider dog training videos, which can either come free on video sharing sites or at a small cost for a DVD from a professional trainer.

So, if you’re still looking into getting a new dog, make sure you go through all the costs involved before getting your heart set on a pup. Dogs are both emotionally and financially demanding investments, but can be well-worth the time and money if you have everything¬† planned out beforehand. There are certainly ways to save money here and there, but it is important to overestimate the costs in order to protect the dogs welfare and prevent a negative outcome in the future (such as having to get rid of the dog). With careful preparation and a clear perspective on your finances, owning a dog can be an exciting experience for the whole family.

For more information on adopting a dog and the veterinarian costs involved, please visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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