having dog on a budget

15 Costs Every Dog Owner Should Budget For

Preparing to bring a new dog into your home is an exciting time. Finding the perfect match for you and your family is an adventure to be enjoyed. However, it’s important to remember that with dog ownership comes the financial responsibility of providing for your new family member in every way they need for the duration of their life.

Dog ownership can quickly get out of hand without a proper budget and become overwhelming. From saving for vet bills to splurging on delicious natural dog treats, pet ownership has its costs. To avoid being left with bills and no funds, here are 15 costs every dog owner should budget for:


1) Food.

A high-quality, nutritious diet is essential for your dog’s health and well-being. Depending on your pup’s size, weight, and activity level, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $100 per month on food alone. This could be even more if you have a large dog or feed special food due to allergies or intolerances. 

2) Toys and treats.

cute-puppy playing

Dogs need plenty of toys and treats to keep them stimulated and happy. They’re also ideal rewards and training props. Expect to spend $15 to $25 per month on toys and treats for your dog.

This could be even higher if you have a pup who goes through their toys rigorously, which is often the case with chewers. Also, note that puppies require different toys than adult dogs due to their teeth and other needs, so you’ll likely replace a lot of toys at least once. 

3) Grooming.

Do you want to keep your pup’s fur long and beautiful? There may be times when it will need a professional trim or shave. Regular grooming can also prevent issues like matting and foul odors. Depending on the breed, you can expect to spend anywhere from $25 to $75 per month on grooming.

There will also be initial costs for home grooming essentials like a brush and suitable shampoo — about $50.

4) Vaccination fees.

Vaccinations are essential to keep your pup safe and healthy, but they cost money. Every year, common vaccines every dog needs include rabies, DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) and bordetella (kennel cough) vaccines. You can expect to pay around $75 to $125 per year for vaccinations.

Keep in mind, this is in addition to other vet visit costs. Additional vaccines you may want to consider are leptospirosis (sometimes included with DHPP), Lyme disease, canine influenza, and coronavirus. Of course, more vaccines mean more costs. 

5) Puppy school and other training classes.

We all want our new furry friends to be model members of the family, and there’s no better way to do that than with proper training. Unfortunately, puppy school and other training classes can be expensive, averaging around $75 per month.

When choosing a dog trainer, it’s crucial not to simply go for the cheapest available. Instead, research prospective trainers to ensure they use positive training methods, which are highly recommended as the best training method for companion animals

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6) Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention.

Essential for all dogs, heartworm, flea, and tick prevention can be costly. Depending on the products you choose and how often you apply them, it can range from $10 to $50 per month.

However, don’t go for the cheapest option, as some may claim to do the job but haven’t gone through the rigorous safety and efficacy testing of other products. Instead, consult your vet for the best options for your pet and make sure to factor this into your budget, as it is an essential preventative measure for your pup’s health. 

7) Pet transport costs.

Planning to travel at all? Domestically or abroad?

You may not think so now, but something as simple as a job opportunity can have us in a car or on a plane in the blink of an eye. Transporting pets can cost anywhere from $20 to $500 for an appropriate carrier, depending on the size of your dog and method of transport.

These costs skyrocket, regarding flight fees, which can quickly go from the hundreds to the thousands.

8) Boarding kennel fees.

gsd boarding kennel

Maybe you’re thinking that your friends or family will always be there to watch after your dog when you travel or go on vacation.

Life doesn’t always go to plan, however, and you need to be ready to shell out the cash for boarding kennel fees if you can’t find someone to watch your pup. Boarding kennels can easily range from $25 to $75 per night, so it’s important to factor this into your budget as well. 

9) Spaying/neutering costs.

Spaying or neutering your dog can help them live a longer, healthier life. That’s because it can reduce the risk of certain cancers, infections, and diseases. It can also make them calmer and better suited to living in a home with humans.

However, spaying/neutering will cost at least $100 to $200 or more, depending on where you live and the size of your dog. In some regions, you can expect to pay up to $500 or more for the procedure. Females usually cost more because the procedure is more invasive and requires additional care and equipment. Visit Petdt for more information about dogs being spayed.

10) New pet essentials (including toys, bedding, bowls, and leashes).

training commands for german shepherd

All dogs need some basic things to live comfortably, but what you spend on your dog’s essentials will depend on their breed and size. For example, larger breeds require bigger bowls so they can eat properly.

Meanwhile, smaller breeds may need leashes that are proportionate to their size. This isn’t only about pet essentials, though; larger breeds often require bigger toys and beds, so they don’t have trouble moving around in them.

All these things will cost you at least $50+ on new pet extras like toys, bedding, bowls and leashes (or more if you’re buying designer items). 

11) Vitamins, supplements, and other needs. 

From puppy to senior, you’ll see benefits from adding high-quality dog supplements and vitamins to your pup’s routine.

Especially for larger breeds, these supplements can provide extra support to joints and muscles to be more active. These will usually run at $50 per month, but you might need to pay more if your dog has specific needs or medical issues. 

12) Pet insurance. 

Emergencies happen. When they do, you’ll be glad you have pet insurance. Vet bills can easily reach thousands of dollars for serious illnesses or injuries.

Pet insurance can save you from this financial nightmare and allow you to stay focused on making the best decisions for your furry family member without having to consider associated costs. Annual premiums for pet insurance range from $200 to $500, so it’s wise to consider this additional monthly cost that will save you money in the long run. 

13) Regular vet visits. 

Even if your pet is perfectly healthy, you should still budget for regular vet visits. These usually cost around $50-$75 per visit, but they can be more, depending on which clinic you go to. Also, some vets have higher exam costs than others. Still, it’s essential to go in every six to nine months for a checkup to help you catch any potential health problems early on. This is especially important for older dogs who may not show signs of illness until it’s too late. 

golden retriever at vets

14) Emergencies. 

As we mentioned, emergencies happen, and they can be costly. So even if you have insurance, it’s wise to keep an emergency fund around just in case. We recommend considering at least $1,000 as a bare minimum for emergencies. This way, you know you won’t have to stress about vet bills if your dog ever needs surgery or has a serious health emergency.

15) Your time.

Time is money. When it comes to a dog, they need plenty of your attention. From feeding and walking them to playing and training, dogs need a lot of attention.

So if you’re working a 9-5 job with a long commute and don’t have many weekends off, owning a dog may not be the best idea for you. Dogs who are left alone for long periods can become destructive or develop separation anxiety. 

Remember, when it comes to your dog, you are by far the most essential thing in their life. They need your time more than anything else. If you don’t have any to give at this period in your life, perhaps wait until you do.

Final Thoughts

Owning a dog is not always cheap, but the costs are outweighed by the love and joy your new pet will bring you. Be sure to plan for all these expenses before bringing home that new pup and consider adding an increase to each year’s budget as well.

Having a proper budget and a realistic idea of what a new dog will cost you is part of being a responsible owner. So, take a deep breath, add up all the costs, and if it’s doable, get ready to welcome your new furry friend into the family.

Last Updated on September 30, 2022 by Shepped Team

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