The Cost of Owning a Dog: A Guide

Owning a Dog

Lots of people would like to bring a dog into their home, but not everyone is able to provide a dog with the care that they need to live happy and healthy lives. Unfortunately, too many people decide to get a dog without giving enough thought to the practical implications. Not only do dogs require a lot of exercise, time, love, and attention, but they also cost money. If you are considering taking responsibility for a puppy or dog, this guide will help you to work out if you have the financial resources to give them the care they need.

Upfront cost

Buying a puppy from a breeder will require an initial investment, but the amount will vary depending on the breed of dog and the quality of its parentage. On average, you can expect to pay $500 to $3,000 for a puppy. While you may be able to find a puppy for less money, it is important to avoid backyard breeders and puppy farms that prioritize profit over the welfare of the dogs. Alternatively, you might want to consider adopting a dog from a sanctuary or rescue center. This usually requires a donation of between $50 to $500; taking on a rescue dog can be more complex as they may have unknown histories or additional medical needs.

Veterinary costs

Whether you buy or adopt your dog, you will need to get them checked over by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will need vaccinations and preventative medications at a minimum, and puppies need regular check-ups during their first few months. In addition, you might also want to spay or neuter your puppy, which can cost $150 to $600.

After the initial veterinary costs, your dog will need to see the vet on an annual basis for a health check and dental cleanings. This can cost between $300 to $800. Dogs need to take medication to prevent parasites like fleas, ticks, and worms, and some dogs may need to take vitamin supplements. This may cost between $100 to $500. You may be able to save money by purchasing a puppy care package or similar from an Easy Vet practice.


Your dog will need to eat, and ideally, you will be able to buy them high-quality food that keeps them in good physical condition. Bigger dogs will eat more than small dogs, and you will need to take their exercise level into account to prevent them from gaining weight. Dog food can cost from $250 to $800 a year, and specialist or fresh food will cost more.

Leash and collar

You will need to buy a collar with an ID tag and at least one leash for walking the dog. You can buy these for around $20, but the more you spend, the less likely it is you will need to replace them in the near future.

Bed and crate

Ideally, your dog will have their own bed that is comfortable and sturdy (some dogs love to chew!) filled with blankets that they can curl up in. Even if you plan on letting a dog sleep on the sofa and/or in your bed, giving them their own space where they feel safe and can enjoy some quiet time. Some dog owners also provide a crate which can be a great puppy training aid, and the dog can use it as a den when they are older.

Other costs to consider

In addition to the above, there are other possible costs to consider, depending on the breed of dog and your lifestyle. Some dogs that have constantly growing hair may need regular grooming appointments, which can cost $30 to $500 per year, although you might choose to groom the dog yourself. You may need to pay a dog walker or dog sitter to care for your dog if you will be out of the home for several hours, which can cost $10-$15 per walk.

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