Q: I’d love to have a dog, but I’m not sure I can afford one. What kind of expenses am I looking at if I bring a furry canine friend home?
A: Owning and caring for a dog doesn’t come cheap. But, if you work out the numbers before moving forward, you’ll know what to expect and have an easier time budgeting for these new expenses.
Here’s a rundown of what buying and owning a dog can cost.
First, let’s take a look at the larger expenses that you’ll, fortunately, only need to pay once.
If you decide to buy a purebred from a breeder, it’ll run you $500-$2,000. This cost may be offset by lower healthcare expenses, as purebreds from reputable breeders are generally healthier. If you get your dog from a shelter, you can pay as little as $50 or up to $200.
You’ll need to spring for some doggy gear before bringing your pet home, including a bed, a collar, a leash, a feeding bowl, and some toys, for starters. Combined, these should run you, on average, about $50-$100.
If you want to get your dog trained, you can pay as little as $25 for a single class, or up to $300 for a full course of training, plus resource materials.
Next, is getting your dog spayed or neutered, which can add $20-$300 to your initial costs.
Licensing, vaccinations, and a microchip will bring that total up by $110-$360.
Total one-time costs: $255-$3,060
Once you’ve brought your dog home, you’ll need to consider monthly pet care costs.
Your four-pawed friend’s got to eat, but how much is dog food going to run you? That depends on several variables.
First, how much are you able to spend? The cheapest dog food can cost less than a dollar a pound, but if you go gourmet, expect to pay gourmet prices or up to $1.60/lb.
The size of your dog also plays a role in how much the food will cost. A small 3-pound pup will only need 140 calories a day, or ⅓ cup of food, while a 100-pound beast will need a whopping 1,925 calories a day, or 4½ cups of food.
Finally, consider your dog’s special dietary requirements. A bag of food for dogs with sensitive stomachs can cost as much as $2.60/lb.
Total monthly cost: $20-80
Preventative health care and routine visits
All dogs will need some medication to prevent common conditions, like heartworms, fleas, and ticks. Some vets may recommend vitamins or other supplements and dogs should also have their teeth brushed occasionally. Costs for these preventative measures will vary by the size of the dog and its general health.
Most vets also advise dog owners to bring their pets in for a wellness checkup at least once a year. The cost of this visit will vary by location and practitioner.
Total monthly cost: $20-80
Dog grooming and bathing
If you’ll be giving doggy baths at home or out in the yard and trimming its claws, you can save hundreds of dollars a year. If you’ll be hiring someone else to do the washing and occasional grooming, these costs can add another $100 to your monthly dog costs.
Total monthly cost: $0-100
Doggy daycare, boarding, and walking
Here’s where doggy costs can start to skyrocket.
Doggy daycare averages $40 a day, while individuals who travel often can expect to add another $100 to their pet costs for every overnight stay. Hiring someone to walk your pup will bring these costs up even more, with professional dog-walking services charging as much as $30 for every half-hour walk.
Total monthly cost: $0-600
So, how much does it cost, in total, to own a dog? After the initial costs, expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $960 a month, depending on how much you choose to spend and how often you’ll need to leave your pet in daycare.
That furry friend doesn’t come cheap, but you can’t put a price on the companionship, and boundless love, that a dog will bring you. Be sure to review the costs before bringing your pet home, and to make sure you can comfortably afford these new expenses.
Enjoy your four-legged friend!
Your Turn: Have you recently purchased or adopted your own furry friend? Tell us how you cover your new expenses.
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