LIFESTYLE

Cost of Owning A Dog: Facts And Figures That Every Potential Dog Owner Should Know

Cost of Owning A Dog
Emily Young
Written by Emily Young

As one of the most rewarding expense, dog ownership can be equally challenging especially if the dog owner does not conduct a full assessment of all the expenses that he or she may incur along the way. Apart from the initial costs, expenses on food and upkeep costs, there are several other costs that every dog owner will experience along the way though the cost usually varies from one breed to another.

Hence before purchasing a dog, it is essential for every dog owner to take the time and work on the budget to avoid major roadblocks along the way.

The true cost of your dog

By assessing the various contributing factors such a dog’s age or size, your lifestyle, area of residence and the dogs individual needs, you will be able to save lots of money.

Importance of understanding the cost of owning a dog

When planning to get a dog, most potential dog owners usually calculate only the dog’s buying price and the expenses on food. There are more things involved when it comes to dog ownership, and this is why it is important to understand the cost of owning a dog before getting one. Here are five reasons why it is important to understand the cost of owning a dog before getting one.

  • The purchase price. 
    The purchase price is always an issue that has continued to create a lot of debate among many potential dog owners. A well-bred dog usually goes for around 500 to 1000 dollars give or take. But for most people this figure is slightly higher hence they opt for a poorly bred dog that may go for about 100 to 150 US dollars.
    Unknown for many, the expenses that usually comes with a well-bred dog are usually way lesser when compared to the expenses that they will face if they opt for a poorly bred dog. Apart from allergies, a poorly bred dog is most likely to fall ill from time to time which will in turn lead to more disappointments and frustrations. If the price tag on a well-bred purebred, then you can always get a mixed breed from an animal shelter that will always be much healthier and happier than a poorly bred purebred.
  • Owning a dog is a big investment. 
    Apart from the expenses involved, a dog is also going to require a huge fraction of your day. Before getting a dog, you should be willing to spend most of your free time with your dog or if not then a dog might not be a right fit for you. Throughout the world, many dogs are put to sleep because their owners were either not able to afford them, or they just became too big of a burden.
    Apart from such incidences, there are some instances where some dogs live very miserable lives that are devoid of socialization, interaction, exercises or all the basic housing needs. This is usually because most people are not able to find the time that they will use to spend with their dogs or are not able to meet the various expenses that they are required to meet as dog owners.
  • Ownership and responsibilities.
    By fully understanding what dog ownership costs, a dog owner will be able to take dog ownership and his responsibilities as a dog owner much more seriously. Just like the car, we cannot be willing to spend a large amount of money without first understanding what makes the car different from other cars or issues such as insurance.
    When you are ready to get a dog, be sure to research the breeds characteristics, parental and medical history. For whatever reasons that might have led you to get a dog, always ensure that you have established all the responsibilities that will come with the dog. By establishing what your responsibilities will be at an earlier stage will play a key role in ensuring that you become a responsible dog owner.

A breakdown of facts and figures that come with dog ownership

Initial costs

It is a known fact that every dog comes with its substantial expenses. Hence, before you make the decision to buy a dog, you should, first of all, consider all the initial costs that may be incurred. If you are going to get a purebred, the buying price is usually between 500 dollars to 2000 dollars. A purebred that has been raised by a reputable or professional breeder is always going to cost more than a dog raised by a backyard breeder.

Irrespective of the higher price tag on the purebreds from professional breeders, the costs usually incurred later on are usually much lesser compared to those of a purebred from a backyard breeder. For those who prefer mixed breeds then you can always choose to get one from a trustworthy rescue group or animal shelter of your choosing. But nonetheless, some animal shelters or rescue groups may also have some purebred.

Cost of pet ownership-infographic

If you are on a tight budget, then you can decide to get your pet from the animal shelter instead of getting one from a professional breeder. Acquiring a dog from a rescue group or animal shelter usually costs between 50 dollars to 200 dollars. All in all, dogs from shelters may come with various illnesses, hence during the first few years you might end up spending a little bit more on extra veterinary care.

Furthermore, it is highly advisable that all new dogs must be taken to a good veterinary officer. If the new dog is going to require vaccination or preventive medication, then the first trip to the veterinary officer is going to cost somewhere between 50 and 200 dollars, so you should always be prepared. For a puppy, the veterinary bills may cost somewhere between 100 USD and 300 USD, but all this is dependent on the puppy health state and the region that you live.

Apart from the vaccination and medical bills another major expense is usually on the dog supplies. So, during the first few days, you are going to spend a good amount of money on dog leashes, food supplies, toys, collars, beddings and many others. Also, obedience classes are also going to be part of the equation though this may vary depending on the type of classes or your area of residence.

Finally, neutering and spaying is usually the last of the initial costs and usually ranges between 150 USD to 700 USD. All in all, the most difficult period is the first year because the amount of money that will be spent on your dog is usually twice the amount that you will spend in the subsequent years.

Food

Food is usually one of the most predictable costs with the price ranging depending on the size, age of your dog and the food brand that you are going to feed you dog. When it comes to food, premium brands are the best choice for your dog because of their nutritional values and also their higher standards in ingredients. Due to their higher standards and nutritional values, premium foods are always going to cost more when compared to other food types.

Also, since premium foods have a higher standards in ingredients, your dog is always going to require very less of the same so as to meet his health needs. Nonetheless, you should consult with your veterinary officer so as to determine which type of food is going to be ideal for your pet.

Toys

As an essential part of any dog’s mental exercise and stimulation toys are a must have item for any dog. Depending on the type of budget you have, you can either choose to indulge or have a soft approach to toys. All in all, for a conservative dog owner, the cost for toys is usually between 25USD to 150USD. But for someone who does not mind spending a few extra cash on toys the cost will usually amount to several hundred dollars or more.

Dog toys

Also, since some dogs may be prone to chewing, the cost for toys will also vary. Hence, if you notice your dog is a chewer, you should then consider getting him or her chewable toys that will last longer. All in all, if you are looking for an ideal way to get rid of any dog’s destructive behaviors, then make sure that you purchase several dog toys in advance.

Routine veterinary checkups

Routine visits to the vet play a key role in ensuring that your pet is not only healthy but also leads a productive life. As a new dog owner, you should plan to make the very least annual visit to the veterinary officer. The veterinary care is always going to cost somewhere between 150 USD to 300 USD every year. If blood work is going to be required, then the annual cost is going to be somewhere between 100 USD to 200 USD every year.

Also, dental cleaning is also highly recommended at least once a year, and the total cost for annual dental cleaning is usually below 300 USD. But if your pet is going to develop any health complications along the way, the veterinary care fees is always going to be a little bit higher. Health problems are usually very common especially when the dog starts to get older hence the immune system starts to become weak. Eventually, the dog starts to become vulnerable to various diseases and ailments.

However, by purchasing a pet insurance, you are always going to have a fraction of the medical expenses covered by the insurance company.

Training resources or obedience classes

Regardless as to whether you will be buying DVD’s or books for home training, you may choose to sign up your dog, for dog training classes. Dog training is something that must continue throughout a dog’s life.

Dog training classes

The total cost for obedience classes and training resources is usually somewhere between 25 dollars and 300 dollars per year. Also, if you choose to take your dog to dog training classes, you should also be prepared to offer him or her home training sessions hence you will still need some training resources.

Boarding and pet sitters

On average, all dog owners will leave their dogs behind at least once or twice every year. Hence, the cost will always be between 100 dollars and 300 dollars. Nonetheless, for individuals who will always be on a very tight working schedule or will be travelling from time to time, always expect to spend a little bit extra. If you will be travelling from time to time, then boarding is a much better option when compared to pet sitters because it tends to cost much lesser.

Emergencies and miscellaneous expenses

Since it is impossible to predict the future, unexpected things may happen from time to time, hence as a dog owner you should be prepared in case of any incidences. Incidences such as chronic illnesses, emergencies, disasters and any other unplanned expense may result in thousands of dollars per year. For emergencies, the veterinary officer can charge you from 500 dollars to 2000 dollars depending on the type or kind of the immediate medical attention required.

If an advanced surgery will be required, the cost is going to be somewhere between 1500 dollars to 5,000 dollars. Furthermore, if the dog is going to be placed in the intensive care unit, the fee is usually between 200 dollars and 500 dollars per day. So as to be fully prepared in case of an emergency or any other unplanned incidence, it is highly advisable for every dog owner to put aside some extra cash.

Also, like a good dog owner, you should not put yourself in a situation where you will be forced to make the choices you will make based on money alone. By planning earlier, you are going to ensure that your pet will be able to live a much healthier, longer happier and comfortable life.

Type of expenseYearly expense (in US dollars)
Beds50-100
Food and Treats250-700
Toys25-150
Training Resources and Classes25-300
Leashes20-50
Routine Veterinary Care600-100
Supplements and Preventive Medication100-300
Boarding and Pet sitters100-300
TotalYearly1200-3600
Monthly100-300

The table above shows the monthly and yearly expenses that you will incur as a dog owner.

Yearly and monthly expenses

The range indicated is between the maximum and minimum expense that you can expect though, depending on your lifestyle the figures may vary.

4 ways to save on pet costs

Choose a dog that fits your budget and lifestyle

When you are looking for a pet, it very important that you assess your lifestyle and the amount of money you will be comfortable spending on the dog. Apart from the general appearance of dogs, you should be real with yourself so that you can be able to avoid various problems in the long run.

If after conducting an in-depth research and you realize a certain breed is going to require a little bit more time, and then he or she may not be a right fit for you. By choosing a dog that fits your lifestyle, you will be able to avoid any unnecessary situations that may exert unwanted pressure on you the dog owner.

Consider the cost of pet insurance

Pet insurance is a matter that has continued to bring about mixed reactions from many experts. Most experts argue that according to the primary rule of insurance which stipulates that do not insure what you can be able to afford, insuring a dog is a good scenario where most owners go against this rule.

Pet insurance 101

But nonetheless, insuring your dog will always come in handy especially when your dog is going to require an expensive emergency medical attention though some policies may have some limitations. Furthermore, pet insurance may not cover preexisting conditions or some conditions that may be common to a certain dog breed.

Invest in protective care

Emergency medical attention for your dog is always going to be way expensive when compared to the regular visits to the veterinary officer. Also, most of the pet’s emergencies like poisonings and car accidents are totally preventable. Hence, always ensure that your dog is visible at night by purchasing a light up collar, and also all medications should be kept out of reach. Furthermore, always ensure that your dog is properly vaccinated and also the regular visits to the veterinary officer are observed to the latter.

Give your dog the right type of food

Most dog food labels are usually misleading because they usually carry some market hyped terms such as human food, which in turn makes it a little bit confusing to find a good meal for your dog. Besides, other pet food labels may also include terms such as all natural or wild.

Dangerous foods for dogs

But as a dog owner, it is your duty to look out for dog food that has been approved by the standardization bureau within your area of residence. If the food has been certified, the next step will be the trial phase. Give your dog the food you bought to see if he or she will like it. If your dog begins to vomit then that food type is not a right fit for your dog. Hence, you should go back to the store and get another till you find one that he or she will like.

About the author
Emily Young
Emily Young

Emily is originally from China where she graduated from The University of Hong Kong with high distinction learning about fashion and design. During university she opened her own magazine about Dog Fashion as dogs were always in her heart. She was surprised, when she moved to a beautiful British Columbia 10 years ago, to see many great Boutiques with dog's designer clothing and desire of pet owners to make their babies look nice.

  • Seth Weaseley

    Vet bills are definitely the worst, especially the unexpected ones, not the regular check outs. However, in the end you realize that your dog is a close friend and a family member, not just a pet.

    • Emily Young

      This speaks to my heart, Seth. This is absolutely true. You will only realize your dog’s worth more once it becomes sick, or worse, dies.

  • Margaret Aniston

    In some parts of the country, particularly in NYC, most dog walkers charge $50! That’s going to be around $18K for a year. Not counting vet bills, the prices alone for dog accessories and food is astronomical.
    I wonder if we are spending too much for our dog’s sake or for our own? My friend even treats her dogs to spas, although I don’t blame her since she doesn’t have any children of her own.

    • Emily Young

      The operating cost of having a dog really varies, Margaret. While I am not against dog spas and other pampering extra little stuff, don’t forget to take care of your needs as well as a pet parent.

  • Ruth Smith

    Pet insurance, while it may get pricey, is the best way to deal with the unexpected. Some things can’t be prepared for and an insurance may well be your saving grace as a pet owner. It’s a good investment, no matter the cost and it’s something to look into for prospective dog owners.

    • Emily Young

      It is one of the most debatable commodities of dogs, Ruth. However, as you’ve said, I really believe it is a good investment because no one knows what will happen to our dogs. You will only appreciate it once it takes care of the unavoidable bills and other expenses.

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