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How Much Does a Dog Cost?

Hopeful puppy at Shelter

While their companionship is priceless, there are tangible costs that come along with bringing home a new dog. Ultimately, it depends on factors like the type of dog you get, where you live, where you shop, and what kind of squeaky toys you decide to spring for. But in terms of the necessities, you can expect the cost of a dog to start at a minimum of $395 in the first year, and continue to cost at least $326 each year following.

 

Keep in mind that the cost of a puppy could be higher than that of an adult dog, and those numbers don’t include unknowns like emergency veterinary care or variable costs like boarding, professional grooming or training.

 

How Much Does a Dog Cost: A Range of Expenses

Basic costs, of course, are just that—basic, and even those can vary widely, as you can see in the chart below.

Dog Cost Estimates
Expense First Year Each Year Following
Adoption Fee* Sponsored ($0)–350 N/A
Food $120–500 $120–550
Food/Water Bowls $10–50 N/A
Treats and Chew Toys $50–300 $50–300
Collar(s) $6–50 $0–50
Leash(es) $10–50 $0–50
Doggy Bed + Crate $25–250 $0–250
Toys $10–200 $0–200
Vaccines & Routine Care $100–350 $80–250
Heartworm Tests $0–35 $0–35
Heartworm Prevention $24–120 $36–132
Flea/Tick Prevention $40–200 $40–200
TOTAL $395–2,455 $326–1,967

* Adoption fees typically cover a range of additional costs such as spaying/neutering and various veterinary tests. Find more details here.

 

How Much Do Dogs Cost: The Extras

Beyond the basics, some additional puppy costs may pop up. Some are fun splurges, others are necessary medical care, but either way, if you can stash away some cash, it may help with the extras and the unexpected, like those listed below.

 

Emergency Veterinary Care: How much does a puppy cost to care for? It will assuredly vary. If you’re opening your heart to a senior dog or a pup with special needs, you may want to budget for a few extra visits with your veterinarian. Even otherwise healthy dogs may still develop health issues or need treatment for unexpected illnesses that could run you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $1,000+. Pet insurance is one way to defray the veterinary cost of a dog. Plans are paid for monthly, and there are a number of reasonable options to consider. You can also set aside a small amount each month, if your budget allows, and save it for a rainy day.

 

Professional Grooming: Serious grooming could cost up to $1,200 a year for a long and luxurious coated companion, but a basic wash, nail trim and teeth-cleaning will run you considerably less. And some shorter-coated dogs don’t need cuts at all, and are just fine to get by with regular brushings at home.

 

Training: If your new pet needs help with socialization or behavior, you may need to look into training. $250 a year should cover several beginner classes, but the range of costs will vary, depending on where you go and how many classes you take. Many pet specialty retailers offer low-cost training, too. Additionally, some shelters will provide training classes free or at a reduced cost, and private trainers may also offer a discount for adopted dogs.

 

Boarding and Travel Fees: Enjoy hitting the road and want to take your pet? Many places welcome your furry travel companion, but there might be premiums or deposits depending on your itinerary. If you will be leaving your dog at home, it could cost $15–50 per day for pet sitting or boarding.

 

Toys, Treats, Collars and Other Accessories: Costs for pet accessories can sneak up on you, with prices that vary depending on tastes and budget. In general, a sensible nylon collar and leash set for a new puppy is about $10. Training harnesses average $25. Additionally, toys and treats are more reasonable for small dogs (in some cases, under $10 for a box), but giant breeds can run you a bit more (around $10 a piece for each treat). Bedding costs can vary as well, depending on the size of your dog and the materials used.

 

Dog Cost Budgeting Tips

Getting a best friend doesn’t have to break your budget. When it comes to pet care costs, there are a lot of ways to save, including these ideas below:

 

Consider an Adult Dog: How much does a puppy cost versus a grown dog? It definitely depends, but in many instances, adult dogs need less training and have already undergone necessary veterinary procedures, bringing your costs down considerably. If your heart is set on a puppy, however, you can still bring down costs by choosing adoption. Speaking of …

 

See What Your Adoption Group Covers: Ask what’s included in your dog’s adoption fee. Most dogs are spayed or neutered prior to adoption (a procedure that may cost up to $300), and given exams, initial vaccinations and de-worming (costs that can range from $425–$800). Permanent identification may also be covered, so ask if your pet will be microchipped—some new owners will still need to register the device at a cost of around $35, but some shelters will cover this for you, and you’ll simply need to mail in the form.

 

Try DIY Grooming: Get some grooming tools and dog shampoo (about $20 and $10 respectively) and get to work at home. Just make sure you have the lowdown on your dog’s coat, so you can work with it properly.

 

Team up for Training: There are a number of apps available to help train your dog, along with videos and online training tips. Do some research and tackle the challenge together as a team.

 

Search for Second-Hand Supplies: Local swap sites and yard sales offer a lot of possibilities for your pet’s needs. Many owners are looking to unload gently used equipment once their dog has been trained, and new crates alone can cost up to $250, depending on the size of your dog and the type of crate you select.

 

Put Some Savings in the Bowl: Pet food will likely be your biggest expense. Look online for special offers, see if you can find deals on pet supplies for new pet parents, and follow your favorite pet food brand in social media to be notified of offers. Costs will vary depending on the type, quality and amount needed, and veterinary diets for specific conditions tend to be more expensive.

 

Consider Pet Health Insurance: Defray any unexpected health costs with some advance planning. The sooner you sign up, the sooner you’re covered.

 

Got all that? Good. If the costs fit your budget, and you’re ready to adopt a new best friend, you can start planning with this handy adoption checklist—just don’t forget to add a line item for tail wags, and wet-nosed kisses. Luckily, they’re priceless and come at no charge.

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