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The cost of owning a dog – Initial and yearly expenses and budgeting tips

Written by: Peter Laskay
Reviewed by: Amber LaRock
Last updated on:

Owning a dog is a wonderful thing. There are many positive sides to this. Before buying a dog, many people do not think about the costs of keeping a dog. The thing is, you don’t just have to spend on food. There are plenty of other things. From this article, you can get a complete picture of how much a dog will cost in the beginning. Then I’ll write about the yearly costs. And at the end of the article, I’ll share with you some helpful budgeting tips.

Let’s start!

Investment at the beginning of the ownership

The following costs are initial. That is, you definitely have to pay for these if you want a dog. As you will see, these costs can be very diverse and depend on several factors.

Buying from a breeder or adoption

dog adoption

The initial cost is largely determined by the breed of dog we choose. If you want a purebred dog, it can cost as much as $500-2000 or even more. In this case, buy from a reputable, professional breeder. This will give you a better chance of having a perfectly healthy dog. 

If you also like mixed-breed dogs, you can adopt one from a shelter or rescue group. I personally strongly support this because these animals need a lot of help. Non-purebred dogs usually cost much less money. 

The cost of adoption from a shelter varies, but can usually be between $0 and $350. Otherwise, there are breed-specific rescue groups. You can bring purebred dogs home from these places.

It’s also true for shelters and rescue groups that you should try to contact reputable places. This makes you more likely to take home a dog whose history you know. After all, a dog of unknown origin can have illnesses that can come at an extra cost.

First vet

After the above costs, the next thing you need to consider is the vet. The cost of this also depends on a number of things. For example, how many vaccines are needed or whether some preventive (heartworm and tick) or special treatment is needed. Depending on this, the first visit can cost between $50 and $300.

Until the age of 16 weeks, you will need to go back to the vet again with your puppy every few weeks. These occasions can also cost $100-300 depending on the needs of your dog.

Other initial costs

Although it is not necessary for your dog to survive, it is still worth buying some supplies at the beginning. I mean toys, leash, collar (with tag), or harness, for example. These will help your dog drain his energy. This will make your furniture less likely to be chewed. Of course, the costs for these supplies are also variable. But on average count about 10-15 dollars/piece.

dog  toy

Of course, a dog eats. A lot. Note that a puppy has different nutritional needs than an adult. Ask your veterinarian for an opinion on which dog food to buy for your canine. Be sure to buy a monthly dose first, it will cost between $20 and $60. This price can be even more if you also want to buy a treat or your dog needs some special diet. In this case, the food can cost up to $100 a month.

Although not mandatory, spaying, or neutering is also an important procedure to consider. These surgeries have a number of benefits and are not expensive at all these days. They may cost from $150 to $700

Regularly expenses

The following are not initial costs. However, you may want to think about them later. There will be some things that, included in the initial costs, but you will have to buy these over and over again.

Food and treats

Of course, this is the most important thing you need to buy regularly for your dog. The annual cost will be between about $250 and $700. However, keep in mind that if your puppy needs some special diet, these foods can be even more expensive.


If you have an indoor dog, he absolutely deserves a comfortable bed. These goods are between about $50 and $200. I have to mention that you may want to avoid cheaper products. You have to pay for the quality and the more expensive better quality beds will last longer.


Toys are important. They are responsible for the mental and physical stimulation of your dog. Toys cost about $25 to $150 a year. This amount can be more. After all, there are more expensive toys. But it can also happen that your dog treats toys very aggressively and you have to buy new ones more often.

Leashes, collars, harnesses

You should buy one of these (I mean, if you use a collar, you don’t need a harness and vice versa). An average owner spends between $20 and $50 a year on these accessories. If you buy very good quality products, you may not have to buy them again for several years.


This cost depends largely on the breed of your dog. You need to spend more money on long-haired, fast-growing fur dogs as more grooming is needed. And of course, you have to spend less on smooth coated short-haired dogs in this regard. 

dog grooming

You also need to think about nail trimming or grinding. There are various grooming tools that you can use to solve this yourself. However, these assets also cost money. All in all, you have to spend between $30 and $500 per year on grooming depending on the above. 

Routine Vet

These regular vet visits are very important. After all, these ensure that your dog stays healthy. A minimum of 1-2 checkups per year is recommended, which costs about $200-300 per year. Annual lab work can cost an additional $100-300 a year. This is not to be skipped either.

Dental cleaning is also extremely important and should be done once a year. This can cost between $300 and $800. This is usually the price of basic dental treatment. If your dog has a more serious problem, this treatment can be even more expensive. 

It is generally true that veterinary costs can be much higher if your dog has some health problems. Older dogs are much more at risk for this.

Supplements and preventive medications

Of course, there are necessary medications for every dog. These usually prevent heartworms, fleas, ticks, and other parasites. If you are not sure exactly what you need, be sure to ask your veterinarian.

If your dog is on a proper diet, there is no need for extra vitamins and other dietary supplements. However, in some cases, your vet may suggest things like glucosamine.

Various medications and supplements can cost between $100 and $500 per year. It depends on the breed, size, sex, age, and health of your dog.


More and more people are going to obedience school with their dog. This is usually started at the age of one or two. Training and learning should continue throughout the dog’s life. There are books, videos, online courses, or obedience classes for this purpose. Depending on which version you choose, the annual cost of learning and training can be between $25 and $300.

Walking services

Most dog owners do not need this kind of service. However, there are life situations where you have to enlist the help of a dog walker. For example, if you have to work a lot, stay home irregularly, or have a puppy who needs more exercise than you can provide for him. The price of such a walk is about $20. So if you use such a service every working day, it will cost you at least $400 a month.

Dog sitters and boarding

Lots of people are vacationing without taking their dogs with them. In this case, the services of a pet sitter must be used. This cost will be between $100 and $300 per year. Boarding is cheaper, but your dog will receive less individual attention.

dog sitter

Of course, you can choose to take your dog with you on vacation. In this case, keep in mind that your travel expenses may be higher.

Unexpected expenses

From other areas of life, you are certainly familiar with the phenomenon that things happen that will cause you unexpected expenses. This is no different for pet-owning either. 

Tragedy, emergencies, chronic diseases, these are just a few of the many examples. Treating these can increase your annual spending by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. 

An emergency vet hospital visit can cost up to $500 to $1,000 or even more. Complicated surgery can cost up to $2,000-5,000. If your dog needs to stay in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), it will cost $200-500 a day, or more. 

These costs can seem like a lot. However, you definitely need to be prepared for these as well (I’ll write some tips on how later). Ideally, you should not choose between the health of your dog and the thickness of your wallet.

Budgeting tips for pet owners

You can see that keeping a dog is not the cheapest thing in the world. Here are some tips to help you reduce your costs.

Adult dog

In most cases, an adult dog costs less than a puppy. Adult dogs do not need initial vaccinations and training. In many cases, these animals have already received the necessary preventive medications and chips or tags too. 

adult dog

Ask what the adoption group covers

Ask for all the details at the time of adoption. A lot of dogs are spayed or neutered before adoption. This can save you up to $300 or more. 

It is also not uncommon for these dogs to have already received the necessary vaccines and preventive medications, microchips, or tags. The latter will in many cases be covered by the shelter for you. 

The point is, get interested in these things because you can save hundreds of dollars.

Try the grooming yourself

Almost every grooming process has a tool for home use. You only need to buy these once and you can save a lot of money by not having to take your dog to a groomer on a regular basis.

Home training

There are plenty of ways to train your dog at home. There are training tips, books, videos, training collars, etc. Although these will make the process longer and you need to be more persistent. But this solution is much cheaper than a professional trainer.

Second-hand supplies

Of course, you don’t have to buy all the supplies second-hand. In fact, there are some that I don’t specifically recommend. For example, chew toys, etc. 

However, there is nothing stopping you from buying a good quality cage or bed second hand. These are not cheap items and you can buy them at half price or even cheaper.

Look for promotions

Almost all brands tend to announce special offers from time to time. Follow them on social media, subscribe to their newsletter, and so on. This way you can be informed about the promotions in time.

Pet health insurance

Nowadays, it is becoming more and more popular to take out insurance for pets. There are some costs to this, but you can do much better in the long run. Make sure you take out insurance for your dog as soon as possible. Although this can be done for elderly animals, it is much more difficult.

Pet insurance typically costs between $38 to $70 in the US each month and can cover up to 90% of a pet’s medical bills under some plans. has a great article on the best insurance plans, as well as some of the fine print to watch out for and whether or not pet insurance is even right for you at all! Check it out here:

pet health

Prepare for the unexpected costs

Insurance is a pretty good way to deal with unexpected health care costs. However, it doesn’t hurt to set aside some money for additional situations. You don’t have to think about tons of money. $1000-2000 may already be enough to handle unexpected situations properly.

Check your monthly expenses

You definitely have expenses you don’t need. Are you sure you need to go to that expensive restaurant every week? Are you sure you need that new modern TV? If you can, cut a little of your costs

First time owner? You should definitely read this guide for first time dog owners.


From this article, I hope you got some useful information on what the costs of dog keeping can be. You could see that I didn’t give exact numbers anywhere, but a range. The exact amount will depend on your individual circumstances. However, make sure that this amount is always available to you. It’s not good if you can’t give your puppy something important. 

Photo of author
Hey, my name is Peter, and I am the owner of this site. I have loved animals since I was a kid. I am constantly training myself; I recently obtained an accredited certificate in pet nutrition. But I am constantly learning about training, grooming for dogs and cats. I am currently a happy owner of two dogs, six cats, and two red-eared sliders. My goal is to provide my visitors with the most authentic information possible on any pet-related topic.
Amber LaRock
Reviewed By An Expert:

My name is Amber, and I am a licensed vet tech with 10 years of experience in the field. I spent the majority of my career working in emergency medicine but recently transitioned to creating accurate pet care information online. There is nothing more important to me than helping pet owners understand their furry friend’s health, and giving you the tools you need to offer your pet the best future possible!

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