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Monthly And Annual Costs Of Owning A Dog

Canine companionship may be a priceless gift, but the actual cost of owning a dog is higher than you might suspect. Whether you’re looking to get your first puppy or plan on adding another dog to your pack, let’s take a look at the common and overlooked expenses and break down the average cost of a dog per year!

Can You Afford To Own A Dog?

a close up shot of Golden Retriever

There’s nothing as exciting as adding a new dog to your family, but before you start browsing adoption sites you need to be sure you’ve got the financial side covered. 

As a veterinary technician, I’ve found that there are essentially three types of expenses you’ll need to prepare for if you want to properly care for a dog:

  • Initial costs associated with a new puppy or dog. 
  • Annual costs of caring for your dog as they grow and mature.
  • Emergency and “surprise” expenses, including injuries and chronic health issues.

Let’s take a detailed look at the essential and miscellaneous canine care expenses and estimate how much it costs to have a dog per year. I’ll also pass on some tips for emergency planning, so you’ll be prepared for whatever happens down the line! 

Introductory Cost Of Getting A Puppy: Initial Dog Cost Calculator

How expensive are dogs? The ASPCA estimates that it costs an average of $1000 to raise a puppy in the US over their first year, and that’s not even accounting for adoption or purchase fees!  This covers both the one-time expenses like microchipping and buying a crate, along with routine costs for food and grooming.

Altasian Pup Being Trained

I’ve created a comprehensive list below that covers the typical medical expenses, equipment and supplies needed for a new puppy or dog. You’ll notice the total cost ranges from $1000 to over $5000 for the first year. Why is the range so broad?

  • Veterinary costs vary widely across the country. Exam costs tend to be higher in big cities and metro areas, but there’s usually more low-cost vaccination and surgical services available in those locations as well.
  • The actual costs for your puppy or dog’s first year will depend on their age, breed, prior history and development. 
  • Whether you buy or adopt a dog also influences how much you’ll spend, since adoption usually includes a microchip, surgical alteration (spay/neuter) and/or other medical care, flea/parasite control and at least some vaccinations.
  • Large and giant breed dogs have higher costs than small or medium breeds, since they eat substantially more kibble, require larger doses of medications and cost more to crate, bathe, board and groom. Huge breeds can cost from three to five times more per year than the average dog.
  • Long-haired breeds like Goldendoodles and Maltese are known for their extensive grooming requirements and usually need professional services every 4 to 6 weeks.
dog grooming

Costs Of Owning An Adult Dog

dedicated girl training dog in kennel

While the cost of owning a dog for the first year is fairly expensive, the list includes a lot of one-time expenditures like adoption fees, crates and sterilization surgery. What will your dog budget look like after that first year?

In general, providing your dog with the basics costs between $50 to $300 a month and averages around $800 a year when you factor in veterinary services. But there’s a lot of variability in these expenses, and the costs go up as your dog ages from an adult to senior. Let’s breakdown and explain these costs:

Dog Food And Treats

How much is dog food and how much can you expect your dog to eat every month? It’s hard to generalize about dog food and feeding regimens, because: 

dog food
  • Diets vary widely in terms of their ingredients, quality and caloric content. If you opt for a bargain brand, for instance, you may need to feed up to twice the amount of food compared to a premium product to maintain the same weight.
  • Lifestyle and stage of development matters, too, since active dogs need more calories than couch potatoes, and puppies typically consume about twice the food of an adult dog.
  • Pet food ranges from cheap brands under $1 a pound to premium and prescription diets that can cost more than $4 a pound. Prices also vary widely from brand to brand and may include kibble, canned foods, dehydrated and raw diets.

Since most owners opt for kibble, let’s make some rough estimates on how much food different sized dogs typically eat daily and over the course of a month. A pound of kibble works out to roughly 4 cups of food (highly variable!), so you can see why the annual cost of food has such a wide range:

Adult Dog Size and Weight

Small (4 to 24 pounds)

Medium (25 to 54 pounds)

Large (55 to 100 pounds)

Giant (100 pounds and up)

Amount of Kibble per day

½ to 1½ cups

1 to 2 cups

2 to 6 cups

6 cups and up

Total Monthly Consumption

4 to 15 pounds

8 to 20 pounds

20 to 50 pounds

50 to 100 pounds

Adult Dog Size and Weight

Small (4 to 24 pounds)

Amount of Kibble per day

½ to 1½ cups

Total Monthly Consumption

4 to 15 pounds

Adult Dog Size and Weight

Medium (25 to 54 pounds)

Amount of Kibble per day

1 to 2 cups

Total Monthly Consumption

8 to 20 pounds

Adult Dog Size and Weight

Large (55 to 100 pounds)

Amount of Kibble per day

2 to 6 cups

Total Monthly Consumption

20 to 50 pounds

Adult Dog Size and Weight

Giant (100 pounds and up)

Amount of Kibble per day

6 cups and up

Total Monthly Consumption

50 to 100 pounds

Dog Supplies: Toys, Collars, Clothes And Dog Beds

Backyard Maze toy

How much you need to spend on things like dog toys, clothes and bedding will really just depend on your dog and how destructive they are with their possessions. You’ll likely need to replace your old dog beds every few years and older, arthritic dogs may need therapeutic mattresses.

Very short-haired breeds often wear jackets or sweaters to stay warm in the wintertime, so clothing can be an essential need for some dogs. I also recommend replacing your dog’s collar once a year, so budget at least $15 to $30 a year for that. 

Veterinary Care

Expect to spend around $500 to $800 a year on preventive veterinary care for the typical adult dog, which usually includes an exam, bloodwork (including heartworm test and a fecal exam) and any needed vaccinations. Senior dogs 7 years and older usually need twice-yearly exams, so you’ll want to budget for that, too.

Flea, Tick And Heartworm Prevention Is Essential For Dogs!

To avoid problems with parasites, you’ll want to use a good flea/tick/heartworm preventative or a combination of meds, which usually costs around $15 to $30 a month or $180 to $360 a year. Don’t skip the flea control! You could easily end up spending twice the money to treat a skin infection if your dog starts scratching.

Oral Hygiene And Dental Cleanings
veterinary dental dog

Most cost calculators skip budgeting for any kind of dental care, so don’t make this mistake. The single best way to prevent expensive extractions and the health problems related to dental diseases, like heart and kidney problems, is to care for your dog’s teeth at home AND pay for annual dental cleanings!

Brushing your dog’s teeth and using water additives/dental treats really does reduce plaque build-up, gum disease and tooth loss. Dental care costs around $15 to $30 a month depending on the products you use. Routine dental cleanings run between $350 and $500 a year if no problems are found.

Grooming, Bathing And Nail Trims

Your costs for baths, grooming and nail trims depends on your dog’s breed and how comfortable you are doing them at home or at your local dog wash station. At a minimum, dogs need their nails trimmed back every 2 to 4 weeks, so if you aren’t into DIY be sure to budget for that monthly expense.

For professional grooming services, you can expect to spend from $30 to over $100 per session depending on your dog’s size and breed, and most need it every 4 to 6 weeks. You can always invest in a pair of clippers and watch YouTube tutorials to learn how to groom your dog at home.

Training And Activity Classes

A Dog with tennis ball on its mouth

There’s plenty of things to do with your dog once they’ve mastered basic obedience, so consider spending $30 to $100 a month for advanced obedience or to have your dog become a Canine Good Citizen. You could start your active puppy in flyball or tracking classes, or learn to run an obstacle course!

Pet Sitters And Boarding Expenses

The average family travels away from home at least two weekends a year, so you may need to hire a pet sitter or send your dog to a boarding kennel at times. Pet sitters usually charge around $25 to $50 a day, while kennels run $50 to $75 a day on average.

Dog Walkers And Doggy Daycare

It can be hard to manage an active dog at times, so many owners rely on dog walkers and doggy daycare for exercise and socialization. These costs can quickly add up and get very expensive if you use them daily. Expect to spend around $1 per minute for walks and up to $40 a day for daycare.

Prepare For The Unexpected: Emergency Vet Bills

What happens if there’s an emergency and you can’t afford to treat your dog? It’s tragic, but owners are forced to either euthanize or surrender their dog to the hospital for treatment and rehoming. Just walking into an ER usually requires a deposit from $500 to $3500. How can you be ready for these situations?

Pet Insurance

Dog Portrait in sofar

The best way to be prepared for the unexpected is to get pet insurance for your puppy and keep it active as they mature. You may have to wait for reimbursement, and insurance usually doesn’t cover routine exams and treatment, but it can definitely turn an emergency situation or chronic illness into an affordable event.

Pet Savings Account

Another option is to put money aside to dip into in case of an emergency by creating a pet savings account. Ideally, you’d want to maintain a balance of at least $3500 to cover the big things like a hit-by-car or knee surgery, but even $1000 can buy you time to treat your pet while you look for further funds.

Care Credit

Care Credit is a medical credit card you can use to pay for services at many veterinary clinics, emergency and specialty hospitals and pharmacies. If you pay the balance off in the allotted time you can avoid making interest payments, so it’s often a better option than using a standard credit card if you qualify for the program.

Monthly And Annual Dog Cost Calculator

Fox Terrier tugging the rope playing

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the costs of owning an adult dog. The average family spends between $500 and $800 for their adult dog and around $1000 to $1500 for a senior, so your yearly expenses may vary.

Routine Dog Expenses

Food and treats

Toys

Bedding, blankets and clothing

Collars, leashes and training equipment

Routine Veterinary Care (exam, vaccines, bloodwork)

Dental care (brushing supplies/water additives/dental treats etc)

Flea, tick and heartworm prevention

Grooming, Bathing and Nail Trims

State/city licensing and registration

Total costs:

Miscellaneous Expenses

Annual dental cleaning

Dietary supplements/vitamins

Pet Insurance

Lifestyle Expenses

Dog Walker/Doggy Daycare
twice a week

Boarding or Pet Sitter

Training or Activity Classes (Obedience, Canine Good Citizenship, Flyball etc)

Average Monthly Costs

$15 to $100

$15 to $30

$15 to $30

$5 to $100

$50 to $290 a month

$15 to $60

$20 to $100

$240

$25 to $75 a night

$60 to $100

Total Annual Range

$180 to $1200

$30 to $360

$30 to $200

$30 to $500

$130 to $350

$180 to $360

$180 to $360

$60 to $1200

$30 to $75

$850 to $4605 a year

$350 to $1000

$180 to $720

$240 to $1200

$2880

$100 to $300

$720 to $1200

Routine Dog Expenses

Food and treats

Average Monthly Costs

$15 to $100

Total Annual Range

$180 to $1200

Routine Dog Expenses

Toys

Total Annual Range

$30 to $360

Routine Dog Expenses

Bedding, blankets and clothing

Total Annual Range

$30 to $200

Routine Dog Expenses

Collars, leashes and training equipment

Total Annual Range

$30 to $500

Routine Dog Expenses

Routine Veterinary Care (exam, vaccines, bloodwork)

Total Annual Range

$130 to $350

Routine Dog Expenses

Dental care (brushing supplies/water additives/dental treats etc)

Average Monthly Costs

$15 to $30

Total Annual Range

$180 to $360

Routine Dog Expenses

Flea, tick and heartworm prevention

Average Monthly Costs

$15 to $30

Total Annual Range

$180 to $360

Routine Dog Expenses

Grooming, Bathing and Nail Trims

Average Monthly Costs

$5 to $100

Total Annual Range

$60 to $1200

Routine Dog Expenses

State/city licensing and registration

Total Annual Range

$30 to $75

Routine Dog Expenses

Total costs:

Average Monthly Costs

$50 to $290 a month

Total Annual Range

$850 to $4605 a year

Miscellaneous Expenses

Routine Dog Expenses

Annual dental cleaning

Total Annual Range

$350 to $1000

Routine Dog Expenses

Dietary supplements/vitamins

Average Monthly Costs

$15 to $60

Total Annual Range

$180 to $720

Routine Dog Expenses

Pet Insurance

Average Monthly Costs

$20 to $100

Total Annual Range

$240 to $1200

Lifestyle Expenses

Routine Dog Expenses

Dog Walker/Doggy Daycaretwice a week

Average Monthly Costs

$240

Total Annual Range

$2880

Routine Dog Expenses

Boarding or Pet Sitter

Average Monthly Costs

$25 to $75 a night

Total Annual Range

$100 to $300

Routine Dog Expenses

Training or Activity Classes (Obedience, Canine Good Citizenship, Flyball etc)

Average Monthly Costs

$60 to $100

Total Annual Range

$720 to $1200

Conclusion

How much do you think you spend on your dog every year, and how does it compare to our initial puppy and adult dog cost calculators? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the costs of dog ownership in the comments below, or come join the pack on our social media pages!

Meet our writer

Jen Clifford is an animal behaviorist and veterinary technician with more than a decade of hands-on experience working in small animal and specialty veterinary clinics.

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