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A Realistic Look at the Cost of Owning a Dog

The thought of bringing home a cute, playful, new puppy causes many people to neglect the cost of ownership. Would you be surprised to learn that it can cost thousands of dollars each year to properly care for a canine? Without planning a realistic budget, you may discover that you lack the necessary funds to provide for your dog’s basic needs. If you’re unable to meet his needs, his comfort, happiness, and health may suffer.

Below, we’ll explore the costs associated with owning a canine. We’ll take a look at the upfront investment as well as expenses related to food, veterinary care, various supplies, and professional training classes. By the end, you’ll have a much better grasp of the financial resources needed to care for your new pooch.

Tallying The Upfront Cost

The cost of a new puppy or adult canine can range from free to thousands of dollars. If you’re willing to adopt a mixed breed (and there are plenty of advantages to doing so), consider visiting a local animal shelter. Adopting a new pet from a shelter will usually cost less than $100.

You should immediately have a veterinarian examine your new pooch after adopting him from the shelter. The dog may need vaccinations and other medicines, which can cost $300 or more.

Also, plan to buy a crate, bed, a few toys, a leash, and a collar, and have them waiting at home for your new pet. Together, these items will cost approximately $300, bringing the upfront investment to $700.

Dog Food

The amount you’ll spend on food each year will depend on two things: your canine’s size and his activity level. Bigger dogs eat more than smaller ones, of course. For example, a German Shepherd will consume more food than a Yorkshire Terrier.

Some breeds are far more active than others. They burn more calories and need to refuel. That means they’ll need more food. American Foxhounds and Border Collies will burn more energy – and thus, eat more – than Basset Hounds and Shih Tzus.

The annual cost for a commercial brand dog food can range from $300 to $800. Add another $200 a year for high-quality dog treats.
Veterinary Care

Your canine will need regular trips to the veterinarian to maintain his health. Assuming he does not require special medications or treatment for a precondition, these routine visits will cost approximately $250 to $350 each year.

Supplies And Personal Belongings

Eventually, the bed, toys, leash, and collar you purchased as part of your upfront investment will need to be replaced. In fact, you should plan to replace these items multiple times throughout the year (with the exception of the bed, which should last a year).

Most owners spend $50 to $70 a year on leashes and collars. A comfortable bed will likely cost between $100 and $200. Also, your canine will go through his toys quickly. Plan to spend another $150 to $200 on replacements.

Professional Training

Professional training classes can cost up to $300 or more each year. Many new owners believe this is a one-time expense because they expect their dogs will learn everything during a single course. In reality, dogs need refresher courses throughout their lives. The alternative to enrolling your canine into obedience classes is training him at home. You’ll save money, but the results are unlikely to be as good as those produced by a professional trainer.

Grooming Expenses

Depending on the length of your dog’s hair, grooming costs can range from $50 a year to $400 and more. As you might expect, breeds with short hair require very little maintenance. By contrast, longer-haired canines will need frequent trips to the groomer in order to keep their coats in check.

As you can see from the numbers above, owning a dog can be expensive. If you’re planning to adopt a canine, make sure you have the financial resources to provide him with the care he needs to be comfortable, healthy, and happy.


Hi, I am Judith and I am passionate about pets in general! I love dogs and cats and many pets share my daily life... I created this site to share my passion with you and I hope you will enjoy it! I have worked for a long time in an animal newspaper and I also have a background in veterinary health, knowledge that I would like to share with you. Enjoy :)

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