How Much Does Owning a Dog Really Cost?

If you’re questioning whether you’re ready for a dog, you are probably thinking about the time demand and lifestyle adjustments that one requires. But there’s a very important factor that you should consider when adding a new pet to your family: the financial demands. Have you ever wondered how much owning a dog really costs? Here are some factors to consider.

family walking dog in forestInitial Purchase

If you’re buying a purebred dog from a breeder, expect to pay multiple hundreds or thousands of dollars. Alternatively, adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter will mean a much smaller initial cost. Many shelters adopt out dogs who have already had their shots and have been spayed or neutered, meaning additional savings for you.

Cost of Food

The exact cost of feeding your dog will depend on size, activity level, and the type of food that you use. Be prepared for the unexpected. If your dog turns out to have food allergies or other medical conditions, your vet may advise that he go on a prescription diet, which can increase costs significantly.

Veterinary Care

Your dog will need to see the vet for a routine check-up at least once a year. During this time he will often receive vaccinations. If your dog is sick or injured, the cost of veterinary treatments can go up quickly. Some dog owners opt to insure their dogs to help offset hefty veterinary bills.

Grooming and Nail Trimming

The amount of grooming that your dog will need will depend on his breed. Nail trims are necessary, and you can save money by learning how to trim your dog’s nails yourself.

Dog Sitting or Boarding

When you go away on a trip or work long hours, your dog will need someone to care for him at least once during the day. There are a few different options to care for your dog while you’re not there, such as boarding, hiring a dog sitter, or bringing your dog to a dog day care. The rates for these services vary depending on the facility and how frequently you use the service.


Training is a very important aspect of your dog’s care, and working with a professional dog trainer can make a big difference in your dog’s training results. Be sure to budget for training classes or one-on-one training sessions.

Flea and Tick Protection

Flea and tick protection can quickly add up in cost. Remember that you will have to continuously treat your dog throughout flea and tick seasons. Your veterinarian can provide you with various options for flea and tick protection.

Basic Supplies

Don’t forget that a new dog will mean new supplies. Items like a collar, leash, food bowls, toys, dog crate, and dog bed can quickly add up.

When determining how much owning a dog really costs, be sure to include the above expenses into your budget so that you know whether you’re financially ready to bring a dog into your life.


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