The Cost of Owning a Dog – Can You Afford A Dog?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
You can't put a price on a dog's love, but you can calculate how much you should invest in owning a dog. Read on to see how much you should spend a year to have a healthy and happy canine.

Having a dog in your life is such a joy. You get to experience connection beyond human, to understand animals better, and moreover, you get to receive unconditional love. However, that love doesn’t come without a price.

In this case, in owning a dog case, the price can be high. But again, can you really put a price tag on a dog’s love? Of course, you can’t.

Still, to have a healthy and happy canine in your life, you will have to invest your time, energy, and finance to provide the best food, regular veterinarian check-ups, and fresh treats next to doggo gadgets.

After all, you must pay even for a water bowl, right? With that on the mind, let’s see just how much can dog ownership really costs.

The Cost of Owning a Dog

You may have heard that owning a dog is expensive. If so, you heard it right. Owning a dog is more than merely providing high-quality dog food. Owning a dog means that you are ready to provide:

  • Food
  • Dog equipment
  • Veterinary check-ups
  • Unplanned and planned medical bills
  • Medications for allergies and so on
  • Training sessions
  • Dog sitter
  • Dog transport
  • Regular deworming

As you can see, owning a dog is much more than merely buying food. So, before you get a dog, be honest about your financial well-being and make the right decision.

Being able to provide financially for your dog is a massive part of being a responsible dog owner.

The cost of owning a dog can be estimated at about $1,400 to $4,300 per year.

Of course, this amount may vary depending on the dog’s size, age, and even the region in which you live.

Large dog breeds will eat much more than smaller dog breeds, while senior dogs usually need a special diet. Further, if your dog has specific individual needs, you may expect a higher bill.

You should know that type of expenses may vary depending, they may be one-time one annual fees. So, let’s break them down and see what they cover.

One-Time Pet Expenses

These expenses are more of an initial investment, and you should have them in mind before you even welcome the dog to your home.

First thing first, you need to know if you are adopting or buying a dog. If you are adopting, you can expect an adoption fee.

If you are buying a dog, you should find a well-respected breeder who can provide you with proper dog medical documentation. Avoid backyard breeders. Paying more for a dog will actually cost you less in the long run, because your dog will be healthier.

Once you get the dog, you must take him to your nearby veterinarian for a general check. You will have to pay for deworming every three months, and you must provide a water bowl, proper leash, and of course – food.

Having a toy here and there is great to make your dog feel like home. When the time comes your puppy, or adult dog, should be spayed or neutered, which can cost you between $150 to $700.

The bottom line, the first year, will cost you the most, so be prepared.

One-time pet expenses checklist

  • Adoption cost: Dog: $0 to $800
  • Food: $20-$70
  • Startup supplies (bowls, bed/crate, leashes, tags, toys, etc): $30 to $500
  • Vet and vaccinations: $70 to $450
  • Preventative medical (heartworm/ticks/etc): $50-$100
  • Spay or neuter: $30 to $350
  • Licensing: $10 to $20
  • Microchip: $50
  • Bed: $50 to $800

Annual Pet Expenses

Annual pet expenses are an investment in your dog’s health as long as he lives. As you may know, some dogs can live for seven years, while some can live for more than 12 years.

It all depends on the breed, dog’s size, and overall health. Normally, if the dog has severe medical issues or suffers from obesity his life span might be shorter.

When it comes to annual pet expenses, you can expect to invest in high-quality food. Make sure that you well educate don food types, and if you choose a raw diet, talk with your veterinarian.

Also, know how much you should feed your dog on a daily level. This is mandatory if you have a large dog breed, so you can avoid bloat, a condition that might be fatal.

Vaccinations and annual medical exams are mandatory, next to toys, preventive medical, and license. Your veterinarian will inform you if there are any new health regulations that you should follow.

Annual pet expenses checklist

  • Food: $200-$850
  • Annual medical exams: $40-$120
  • Vaccinations: $10 to $100
  • Preventative medical: $50-$100
  • Toys and misc supplies: $10-$150
  • License: $0 to $20

Of course, there are still a few things that you should take into consideration when it comes to dog ownership and its expenses.

While you are budgeting on one-time and annual expenses there are few more things that you think about:

1. Pet Insurance

The first thing that you should know about pet insurance is that it’s not mandatory. However, this type of insurance can come handy, especially when you are looking for a pet-friendly apartment , or you and your canine are traveling a lot.

Moreover, for a few extra dollars monthly, you can be sure that you will have coverage in case of a pet emergency. Overall, good pet insurance can cover the costs of the annual expense of your pet.

2. Travel Expenses

If you don’t have a car, you know that even moving from one part of the city to another can be daunting and costly. Moreover, moving from another city to another city, or state, or even a continent with a pet will always cost you extra.

Sometimes people have to travel long distances because of their work, so they have to hire a professional agency to transport their canine.

Reaching a new destination can be difficult if you don’t have cash exclusively for that. So, having pet insurance can even help with this moviNG PART.

3. Cleaning Fees

If you rent an apartment, you may expect to pay a nonrefundable pet deposit or cleaning fee. Maybe you will call in professional cleaners once in three or six months, so it can all be grouped into this category.

4. Dog Walking

Sometimes, and mostly depending on your lifestyle, you might need extra help when it comes to dog walking. If you aren’t home during the day, or you have unusual working hours, your canine mustn’t suffer.

So, having a dog sitter for a regular dog walks seems fitting. Cost may vary here, from $20 to $50 per hour. The price will range based on your location and walk frequency.

5. Pet Sitters

This is similar to dog walking. You might need a pet sitter from time to time. Long working hours, impromptu meetings, everything can be a part of the sudden need for the pet sitter.

Make sure that you know where to find good pet sitters and how you can reach them. If you have a friend or a neighbor to take care of your canine for a few hours – excellent. If not, you should put a few dollars aside for pet sitting purposes. This might cost you $100 to $300 a year.

If you travel frequently, this will cost you even more. Boarding tends to cost less, but many dog owners prefer individual attention to their dog, and it’s worth the extra expense.

Budgeting Options

With these expenses on the mind, you should know that all in, having a dog will cost you. If possible, make a worksheet, where you can plan dog-related costs. This is also an effective way to estimate pet ownership costs.

You can always use some tips and tricks to save some money. You can:

  • Buy in bulk
  • Use frequent buyer program at the pet store
  • Buy toys on discount
  • Use handmade shampoo
  • Use the home remedies to fight fleas (although, it’s always handy to have a vet-approved product for fleas)

The Bottom Line

Owning a dog is a big responsibility. It’s also not a decision to take upon easily. Owning a dog comes with substantial financial and emotional investment.

Depending on your preferences on the breed, your dog-related costs may vary from $1000 to $5000 a year. Therefore, it’s essential to take all factors into consideration when it comes to owning a dog.

Don’t let the financial planning scare you or take away your desire of owning a dog. Being responsible for other living beings is a rewarding experience. You will get so much in return.

Just make sure that you know what being a responsible dog owner really means, and be ready for it.