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How Much Does a Dog Truly Cost?

By Stacy Painter
published: March 16, 2020 • 2 min. read
dog at the pet store

Table of Contents

When you’ve decided you’re finally ready to add a dog to the family, you probably don’t want to wait a minute longer! Eagerly searching for your perfect match might include scouring adoption websites or seeking referrals for the best breeder. Though you may be temporarily blinded by excitement, you’ll have to consider the practical side of pet ownership as well. This involves planning, budgeting and understanding all the costs, both expected and unexpected.

So how much does it cost to get a dog and what are all of the associated expenses? You’ll find that prices vary, but the following information will help set expectations for the costs of pet ownership.

The cost of a dog

The price to purchase a dog will depend on where you find your furry friend. Dogs from shelters and rescues are generally less expensive than dogs from breeders. Many times, the spay/neuter procedure is included in the adoption fee. Adopting a dog from another state or country may have an additional cost for transportation.

Adoption fee: $35-$400

Buying a puppy from a breeder: $500-$2,000

Spay/neuter: $200-$300

Preparing for a new dog

Once you’ve found your match, you’ll have to purchase a number of dog supplies. We suggest buying the start-up supplies in advance so you can devote all your attention to your newest family member when they arrive.

Bed: $30

Collar, ID tag, leash: $35

Toys, treats: $30

Dog shampoo, pet toothpaste: $25

Food and water bowls: $10

Dog crate: $80-$200

If you are renting your home, you may be required to pay a pet deposit and monthly pet rent. Your new dog might be trained and well-behaved, but puppies and some older dogs may need a dog trainer or puppy classes.

Annual pet expenses

In addition to the one-time purchases, there are ongoing costs to care for a dog, such as food, medication, and veterinary care. The cost of food per year will vary greatly based on the type of food and the size of your dog; a large 150-pound Saint Bernard needs to eat much more than a 5-pound Chihuahua.

Pet license: $10-$50

Annual vet exam and vaccinations: $70-$200

Food: $150-$1,000

Poo bags: $80

Preventives for flea/tick/heartworm: $200

Pet insurance: $300-$950

Unplanned expenses

After getting to know your new pet, you may decide that they need a dog walker or dog daycare. When traveling without your dog, you’ll need to line up a dog sitter or boarding facility.

A new dog might also have accidents or take to chewing on furniture or scratching at the door. Though pet owners hope they’ll never have to, repairing or replacing damaged items is sometimes a necessary added expense.

Throughout the course of its life, a pet is likely to make at least one unplanned veterinary visit, whether it’s for a minor issue or something much more serious (and expensive). Pet insurance will greatly reduce the financial burden of an unexpected vet bill, but no plan covers 100% of veterinary care, which is something to keep in mind.

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry and pet insurance specifically for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for Healthy Paws pet insurance was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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