Can You Afford The Cost Of Owning A Dog?

How Much Does It Really Cost to Own a Dog?

There are physical, mental and social advantages of having a dog of your own. Promoting a sense of well-being, dogs help to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. A dog will be a great companion for you throughout his or her lifetime. However, before you run out and find the perfect dog for you, take a look at the many costs that are involved in having a dog of your own. When you are finished looking them over, use the calculator at the bottom to help guide you further.

Initial Costs

If you prefer a mixed breed dog, you can find one at your local shelter or rescue group. Instead of going to a shelter, are you buying a puppy dog from a local pet store? Well, then it is far from free. Let’s look at the most popular dog breeds listed by the American Kennel Club and how much you should expect to pay for them on Puppyfind.

$ 550-$1500         Labrador retriever

$600-$900          German shepherd

$600-$3,600       Golden retriever

$200-$1,000        Bulldog

$300-$500           Beagle

 $395-$1,200        Yorkshire terrier

$750-$2,000        Poodle

$625-2,200          Boxer

$1,600-$6,000     French bulldog

In general, the first year of dog ownership is the most expensive. According to the ASPCA, you can expect to spend around an average of $1,270 in the first year of owning a dog. They will need to have an initial vet exam with required shots which can average between $50 and $300. They will need to be neutered and spayed, which will cost between $50 and $175. In every subsequent year, you can count on spending a bare minimum of $500 to take care of your precious pooch. Let’s take a look at all of the expenses that go into having a dog of your own.

Cost of Food

Logically, the overall cost of your food expense will depend on how high-quality the food is that you are giving your dog. In general, expect to spend a minimum of $25 a month on the least expensive brand of dog food on the market. If you buy the premium brand as you should, it may cost you around $60 a month, depending on the size of your dog. Don’t forget about dog treats. At about $7 a month, this adds up to roughly $85 per year. This means that in a year’s time, you may spend around $385-$800 just to feed your dog.


Your new best friend needs a cozy bed to call their own. Prices of dog beds are generally around $25 and up.  In a year’s time, you will need to replace this bed at least once. You may even want to go ahead and have 2 beds for your dog, sitting in different areas of your home. Doing the math, this means you will spend a minimum of $50 to around $200 a year on dog beds.


Dog grooming costs are another expense to take into consideration. These will vary greatly, according to the breed of dog you have and their size. Short-haired dogs just need basic grooming, while longer haired dogs will need to take a trip to the local groomer on a regular basis. A few grooming tools at home may cost you only $30 a year, whereas dogs that require professional grooming may cost you up to $40 a month to care for them.

Leashes and Collars

Every dog needs at least one leash and one collar with an ID tag on it. Leashes get misplaced from time to time and need to be replaced. Collars get worn out or owners may just want to buy an assortment of different styles of collars. Expect to spend between $20 and $50 a year on leashes and collars.


An important part of your dog’s stimulation, toys are an element that shouldn’t be forgotten. You may have to make a larger investment than you expect if your dog is fond of chewing up your shoes. Toys for heavy chewers generally cost more than others. You can expect to spend anywhere from $25 to $100 a year, just on dog toys.

Veterinary Care

In order for your dog to stay healthy, he will need to visit your veterinarian at least once or twice in a year. This can cost you anywhere from $75 to $300 each year, just for routine visits. At their appointments, they may need to have additional care such as a heartworm test or a fecal parasite test. These two tests add up to another $110, combined.


Like most pet owners, you will want to do everything you can to prevent fleas and ticks on your dog. Heartworm prevention and treatment is another issue. For the both of these combined, expect to spend about $330 per year.

Additional Costs

There are some little extras which you may want to include in calculating the cost of having a dog. For example, you may want to get a microchip implanted in your dog to make sure if he ever gets loose that he is returned to you, which will cost you around $40. You may need to buy them a dog crate in order to take them out on trips. Perhaps you would like for your dog to go to a local training class. This will cost you around $110 for 5 weeks. Plan on going on vacation without bringing your dog? You will need to hire a pet sitter or bring him to a local kennel. Expect to spend about $35 per day on boarding him in a kennel. Is your schedule too busy to walk him regularly? You may need to hire a dog walker. This will cost you around $15 a day.


Although there are certainly many advantages to having a dog of your own, dogs do not come without a good amount of financial expense. Now that you are aware of the many costs involved, you can make an informed decision about what breed of dog is right for you and your family. Now it’s time to use the calculator to see how much your new dog is really going to cost you.