The Cost of Owning a Dog
How much does it cost to own a dog?
When looking forward to the priceless moments you'll gain from owning a dog, be sure to consider the costs that come with taking care of your new pet as well. Costs for owning a dog can vary depending on the size, age, and health of your dog, in addition to personal choices you make as its owner. According to the most recent estimates by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the cost of owning a dog ranges between $700 and $1,100 annually. So before bringing a furry friend home, make sure to think about how these expenses fit into your budget.
The First Year
The first year of owning a new dog can be a bit more expensive because it includes the cost of the dog and the supplies needed, whether you’re a first-time dog owner, or already have another dog at home. Dog expenses vary based on a range of factors - from the size of your dog to the average cost of the veterinarian in your area. Moneyunder30.com reports that the total first-year cost of owning a dog is $1,270.
Some of the average expenses for your new dog could include:
- Dog collar: $5 to $30
- Dog leash: $8 to $35 for one leash
- Dog tag: $5 to $20
- Dog bed and crate: Prices for dog beds and crates typically depend on the quality, material, and size but the average ranges from $25 to $250
- Food and water bowls: $10-$40
- Dog food: The typical price range for a 50 lb bag of dog food is $20 to $50. According to the ASPCA, the annual cost of premium dry dog food for a large dog will run you around $400.
- and only about half that for a small dog, with food costs for a medium-size dog landing somewhere in the middle.
- Dog toy: $5 to $15 (Tip: We recommend you visit your local TJMaxx or Marshalls when looking for pet toys as they usually have them at a great price.)
- First veterinarian visit, and follow-ups for vaccinations: For vaccinations, heartworm preventative & topical flea/tick preventative, this will generally run around $250
- Dog license: A fee around $15-25, depending on where you live
Once you’ve stocked up on your pet supplies, most of your ongoing expenses will involve restocking food, replacing damaged items and the annual trips to the vet. The ASPCA projects that you spend between $580 and $875 annually on your dog.
Here is an idea the average costs you may incur annually:
Food and vitamins: $120 to $550
Vaccines and routine care: $80 to $250
Heartworm and flea prevention: $76 to $367
Dog license: A fee around $15-$25
Toys and treats: $10 to $250
Extras: The optional and unexpected
Budget! Budget! Budget! You adore your furry best friend, and want him to have the best of everything, however that little avocado looking stuffed dog toy doesn’t count as a necessity. These extras are admittedly hard to resist, so to prevent overspending, we suggest you establish an annual ‘extras’ dog budget and then honor it.
Some additional items to consider also include travel or unexpected medical issues. These are not items that you may need each year, but may occur when necessary.
Depending where you live, how often you travel, and whether you would prefer to board your dog in a kennel or leave it with a friend, these prices can range pretty greatly.
- Average cost per day for boarding in a kennel: According to CostHelper.com, boarding can range from $12 to $38 for a full day.
- Average cost for hiring a pet sitter: According to Pet Sitter, the average dog sitter charges between $14 and $19 an hour, with an average cost of $16.80 per hour.
Unexpected medical issues
If your dog develops an illness or has a medical emergency, you’ll have to pay for any resulting medical care, medications, or surgical procedures out of pocket. Pet insurance can offset medical costs, but it usually won’t cover 100% of the vet bill.
According to Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, “Owners will likely incur at least one $2,000 to $4,000 bill for emergency care at some point during their pet’s lifetime.” If you own, or plan on owning, a dog, we encourage you to set aside a pet fund, or a portion of your emergency fund for an unexpected vet bill.
Overall, owning a dog can feel absolutely priceless. Whether they’re begging for a taste of your dinner, or simply greeting you when you get home, dogs do all of the little things that put smiles on faces, and there is a good reason why they are known as “Man’s Best Friend”. The more you understand the financial realities of owning a dog, the more prepared you are for the priceless rewards of having a furry best friend.