The cost of owning a dog

If you saved the money most dogs cost over their lifetimes, you could buy a new car or take a trip around the world. Before you decide to adopt a dog, consider the cost, both monetarily and emotionally, of raising a healthy, happy puppy through adulthood.

The first year

The cost of a dog is usually more the first year than each year after because of several one-time expenses. These include the price of the puppy, initial vaccinations, and the purchase of supplies like a crate, collar, and leash.

Purchase Price of a Puppy: $50 – 1,000

A future champion show dog can cost more than $1,000 or you can adopt a puppy from an animal shelter for as little as $50-75. The cost of a purebred puppy may seem steep, but it’s worth it if he’s healthy and the breeder guarantees he has no genetic defects. You’ll spend less on veterinary care over the dog’s lifetime than you would with a “free puppy” from poor breeding with the potential for temperament issues.

Veterinary/Medical costs: $160 – 670

The cost of spaying or neutering a dog is $50-200 depending on the size of the dog and whether there are health conditions that can complicate the surgery. A routine veterinary exam runs from $45-150. The cost of puppy vaccinations and boosters is $20-150. Worming and fecal exams cost $20-40. If you live in an area that puts your dog at risk for heartworms, basic testing and preventative treatments run $25-130.

Dog Food: $150 – 500

The cost of your dog’s food will depend on his size and what you feed him. The bigger the dog, the more he eats, and premium dog food is more expensive than off-brand kibble. You can save money with a generic food, but it could be at the expense of your dog’s health.

Supplies: $150 – 1,700

The supplies you’ll need to care for a dog include: food and water bowls, a collar and leash, stain cleaner and odor neutralizer, chew toys, treats, and a crate. Optional items include: a dog bed, a car restraint, and fencing if you have a yard. Of course the cost of dog supplies will vary based on the quality of the products.

Grooming: $20 – 400

Short-haired dogs require less maintenance and have fewer grooming expenses than those with longer coats. You can tackle grooming on your own with some shampoo and a brush. If your dog has special needs, however, you’ll need to pay for a professional groomer.

Training: $30 – 500

All dogs need obedience training. It allows you to communicate with your dog and keeps him healthy both physically and mentally. If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you can train your dog for the cost of a book or DVD. But remember, there’s no substitute for the assistance of a professional dog trainer.

Miscellaneous: $100 – 500

This covers minor charges associated with the cost of owning a dog. They include: licensing fees averaging $10-20 per year, having a pet sitter come by or boarding your dog at a kennel, and the special treats that find their way into your cart at the pet supply store.

For the first year of ownership, dogs cost anywhere from $660 to $5,270 or more.

Annual cost of a dog

After the first year, you can estimate the yearly price of owning a dog as follows:

  • Food: $150-500
  • Veterinary Exams: $45-150
  • Vaccinations: $10-100
  • Worming and Fecal Exams: $20-40
  • Heartworm Treatment: $25-130
  • Grooming: $10-400
  • Training: $0-500
  • Supplies: $0-200
  • Miscellaneous: $100-500

The yearly cost can start at $360 and rise to $2,520 or more.

The total

If a dog’s average lifespan is twelve years, buying a puppy and caring for him throughout his life will cost $4,620 to $32,990. You may spend more or less depending on the dog you adopt and where you live. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include expenses like emergency medical care or dealing with the issues of old-age in dogs, which can run into thousands of dollars.

It’s also important to consider factors other than money, particularly the emotional cost of owning a dog. Raising a pet through sickness and health can be as trying as it is rewarding.

The cost of a dog is an investment, both of your money and your love. So before you adopt a puppy or dog make sure you’re willing to spend what it takes to keep a pet healthy and happy for his lifetime


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