What Are the Costs of Dog Ownership?

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If you have never had a dog, it is essential to understand the financial repercussions of pet ownership. A dog is a lifetime commitment, and though the cuddles, licks, and companionship are worthwhile, you want to be certain that you can afford the upkeep.

Even many experienced dog owners are unaware of the amount they spend on their pets. Whether you have had a dog all your life or are considering getting your first, we recommend scanning our list below and tallying up the costs of owning a dog.


How you obtain your dog significantly impacts the initial price of setting yourself up with a new furry friend. Below are a few options for finding a new dog to welcome into your family:


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Most towns will have an SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) or the equivalent. Some dogs are in shelters due to homelessness, neglect, or abuse. Other dogs may end up in a shelter if their owner becomes sick or passes away, and there are no family members able to take on the responsibility of a pet.

Shelters do have puppies at times, though it is rarely possible to ascertain their lineage, so you may not know the eventual size of the fully-grown dog. Please note that shelters charge an adoption fee which typically covers an administration fee, vaccinations, and spaying or neutering the animals.


Did you ever consider what happens to a loving pet when its owner dies unexpectedly? What about if a family discovers that their child’s asthma is linked to pet dander and they need to find a new home for their beloved furry friend? If you would like to chat with previous owners to ascertain what dog is right for you, then look at the online service Rehome.


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If you are determined to have a specific dog breed, then it is best to check for responsible breeders registered with the American Kennel Club or your country’s equivalent. Expect to pay $1000 and up for a pet and far more if you wish to have puppies eventually. You will also likely need to go on a waiting list for an upcoming litter.

Initial Supplies

The first year of doggie ownership will cost the most, depending on if you have supplies already on hand. Below is a list of estimated dog-related expenses:

  • Pet food and water bowls: $40
  • Leash: $20-50
  • Chew toys: $10-40
  • Crate: $50-200
  • Dog bed: $25-100
  • Licensing: $20
  • Microchipping: $50


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Be sure to look out for dog food appropriate for their age, breed, and energy level. It stands to reason that a Chihuahua and a Great Dane will cost vastly different amounts with regards to maintaining their diet.

A happy and healthy dog requires top-quality dog food from sites like https://dogfoodcare.com/.

You can expect to pay $0.22 to $0.55 per cup of dog kibble, depending on your choice of brand, and the size of the bag. Here is an estimation of daily pet food needs, based on breed type:

Extra Small Breeds

Example: Affenpinscher, Brussels Griffon, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, English Toy Spaniel, Havanese, Japanese Chin, Maltese, Miniature Pinscher, Pekingese, Pomeranian

Feed: 1/3 to 1 cup per day split into two meals

Small Breeds

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Example: American Eskimo Dog, American Hairless Terrier, Australian Terrier, Basenji, Beagle, Bedlington Terrier, Bichon Frise, Boston Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Dachshund

Feed: ¾ cup to 2 cups per day split into two meals

Medium Breed

Example: Airedale Terrier, Alaskan Klee Kai, American English Coonhound, American Foxhound, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Water Spaniel, Australian Cattle Dog, Basset Hound, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Bulldog, Collie, English Cocker Spaniel, English Setter

Feed: 1 ¾ cups to 3 cups per day split into two meals

Large Breed

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Example: Afghan Hound, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Belgian Sheepdog, American Bulldog, Black Russian Terrier, Bloodhound, Boerboel, Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Greyhound, Otterhound, Siberian Husky, Weimaraner

Feed: 3 cups to 4 ½ cups per day split into two meals

Giant Breed

Example: Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bullmastiff, Dogue de Bordeaux, Cane Corso, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Irish Wolfhound, Leonberger, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Scottish Deerhound, Tibetan Mastiff

Feed: 6 cups to 10 cups per day

Medical Expenses

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The initial veterinary care required for owning a dog can start to add up. A puppy should be given their initial vaccinations before leaving their littermates, but there are still additional once-off and annual shots.

You can expect to pay $75 to $100 annually to keep these up-to-date. Spaying or neutering your dog will likely cost around $200. Keeping your dog in tip-top condition, feeding them quality dog food, and giving them ample opportunity for exercise will likely save you money on medical bills in the long run.

However, medical emergencies cannot always be budgeted for yet can run into thousands of dollars. If you would rather not have any unexpected financial surprises, then consider opting into medical insurance for your dog, where payments are made monthly.


Canine breeds such as Poodles, Schnauzers, and Havanese look adorable; however, they require routine grooming to keep their coat and skin in good condition. Unfortunately, few people have the tools and expertise to offer more than a touch-up job between visits to a professional groomer. If you intend to have a dog that requires a trip to the doggie spa, then expect to pay up to $75 per visit every month or two.

If you have a short-haired dog, you may still wish to go to a professional groomer to bathe and brush your dog. They can then clip their nails, check their ears and clean their anal glands. They will also check for fleas and ticks and recommend appropriate care between visits.

What are other potential costs for owning a dog?

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Like having children, the sky’s the limit for what you could potentially spend on your pets. Below we have included a few additional expenses that owners might need to budget for:

  • Doggie Day Care: $12 to $40 per day
  • Pet Walking: $15 to $30 per walk
  • Boarding or Kenneling: $30 to $50 per night

How can you keep costs down for owning a dog?

We highly recommend calculating the overall annual cost of owning a dog before you consider adoption. However, there are simple ways to limit your costs without jeopardizing your pet’s health. Some of these include:

  • Borrowing a kennel from a friend
  • Asking on social media for used dog beds or toys
  • Ensuring you have a family member that can puppy sit when you go away
  • Sharing dog-walking duties with a neighbor
  • Keeping your dog at a healthy weight
  • Stick to the vaccination and deworming schedule

Every responsible dog owner is best to understand the costs involved to work into their monthly budget. Nevertheless, we know that it is impossible to truly put a value on your beloved furry family member.