I have owned dogs my entire life, and my family has also always been among the dog-owning households. So I appreciate the cost of owning a dog, the obvious costs, the hidden ones, or the small outgoings that you don’t even notice but add up over time.
The following article offers a deep dive into the statistics behind dog ownership costs
Due to the high rate of inflation on pet food, accessories, vet care, grooming, and other costs, we adjusted our numbers accordingly based on industry inflation percentages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinary services jumped 2% to 10.3%, and pet food increased to 15.2%.
We also used online resources, researched extensively, and interviewed experts to arrive at our adjusted numbers. Please keep in mind these numbers are arbitrary, and some costs might be higher or lower.
How Much Does it Cost to Own a Dog?
The estimated costs of dog ownership can be broken into four categories: first-time costs when you first bring your pup home, basic essentials you’ll be buying every year, monthly expenses, and optional extras. All these costs can differ based on factors like your dog’s age, breed, and lifestyle.
In 2023, the upfront costs for new dog owners may range from $1,144 to $5,360. Annual costs for the basic essentials range from $560 on the low end to $3,860 on the high end.
The monthly dog expenses can range from $40 to $290. Lastly, the cost of the optional extras most dog parents may have to bear ranges between $500 and $5,000 per year.
You can also use our calculator to know more about the cost of owning a dog.
First-Time Dog Costs
Owning a dog is about more than just putting a roof over their head and going for walks. There are costs involved in every step of dog ownership. Therefore, new or potential dog owners should always take a step back and ask how much does it cost to own a dog?
According to our research, the first-year cost of owning a dog is around $1,144 to $5,360. There are seventeen critical expenses involved in getting a new dog.
Some of these costs may be covered by the initial expenses paid to the breeder, and others may be bought secondhand or given by family members.
Pet health insurance is an additional cost that many pet owners elect to take. However, many variables regarding insurance make it hard to factor into the figure above.
The average dog adoption fee ranges from $129-$767. The dog breed is the main factor influencing the cost of adopting a dog. You can expect to pay as much as $2,000 or even higher for designer breeds.
Other factors that impact the adoption fees are whether the dog has been microchipped, vaccinated, or neutered by the shelter.
New Dog Supplies
When bringing home a new dog, there are several supplies you can invest in that will make your furry friend feel more comfortable in their new home.
Below are seven vital supplies for canine pet owners:
- Crate: A crate acts as a bed and a safe place for your dog to retreat. The best dog crate should be large enough for your dog to stand and turn around but not larger. Expect to pay anywhere between $25 to $250 for a crate.
- Food and Water Bowls: A vital necessity for any pet parent. Expect to pay anywhere between $10 to $50 for food and water bowls.
- Toys: Toys are vital for your furry friend as they stimulate your dog. Whether puppies or older dogs, toys remain important. Expect to pay anywhere between $10-$200 for toys.
- Collar: Collars are a mandatory item for any dog. Depending on your dog’s breed, there are many different types to choose from. For larger dog breeds, you will also need a harness. Expect to pay between $6 and $50 for a good collar or harness.
- Leash: A leash is another vital dog-owning tool. Most dog owners and dog walkers appreciate the benefits of a good quality lead. Expect to pay anywhere between $10-$50 for a leash.
- Food: Food and treats are often overlooked for their importance. Finding out what food your dog eats best is imperative. Expect to pay anywhere between $200-$500 for food and treats.
- Soft bed: Whether you have a soft bed in your crate, outside, or both, they are an important factor to remember when looking at the annual costs of owning a new pet dog. Expect to pay anywhere between $25-$250 for a soft bed.
- Grooming tools: Some dogs require a lot more work than others. However, even a short-coated dog would benefit from grooming and TLC from time to time. Keep grooming costs low by investing in some simple tools yourself. Expect to pay between $10-$60 for grooming supplies.
- Poop bags: As a responsible pet parent, dog waste removal is an ongoing cost to consider. Poop bags and dispensers are essential for this task, typically costing around $5 to $10 per 100-count. To save on expenses, it’s recommended to buy in bulk for better deals, as you’ll need them throughout your pet’s life.
House training your dogs using a training pad can cost almost $20-$100. The same article by Pawlicy Advisor also referred to the cost of house training a dog. Should you elect to use potty training pads, you should factor in an additional $20-$100. House training a puppy can take anywhere from four to six months.
The dog vaccination can cost hundreds of dollars. An article on Forbes, using data from the Banfield Pet Hospital, confirmed that the average cost of dog vaccines is approximately $165. The price varies from state to state; however, variances are relatively minor.
Incidentally, California is the most expensive state for dog vaccination costs.
How Much Does a Dog Cost Per Year?
According to our research, an average dog owner spends anywhere between $560 and $3,860 per year on their dogs. The main source of ongoing expenses is pet food.
Pet parents spend between $210 to $2,340 per year on dog food. Depending on your dog’s breed, size, and dietary requirements, the cost of feeding a dog can be vast.
A growing trend among pet owners is to use fresh dog food, which costs considerably more than dry or canned food.
The cost of dog health could reach $700 to $2,000 per year. Keeping a dog healthy is not cheap. Pet owners should expect to pay upwards of $2,000 yearly to maintain their pet’s health.
Below are the five main expenses related to dog health.
- Routine vet visits and wellness checkups
- Lab tests
- Dental care
The annual treats for dogs cost approximately $60 to $180. A helpful article on Lemonade helped people budget properly for their dog costs. The article stated the average cost of dog treats is $15 per month or $180 per year.
You could spend more than this or less, depending on your dog and, to a larger extent, your finances. You could always try making your own dog treats at home to save money.
The annual food costs for dogs average $446. An AKC article also discussed budgeting for food costs.
Depending on your dog’s age, size, and any health conditions that impact its diet, this price can change. However, it is a healthy average to work towards.
Monthly Dog Costs
Our research shows that the average cost of owning a dog is $40 to $290 per month. This figure excludes any emergency veterinary care of unexpected costs.
However, this cost will vary based on your dog’s specific needs, size, pet insurance plan, and health condition.
Unexpected/Optional Costs Associated with Owning a Dog
The unexpected or optional dog expenses can cost up to around $5,000. Looking at the different costs of owning a dog, many pet parents spend between $500 and $5,000 on unplanned or optional expenses every year.
Unexpected or optional dog expenses include emergency veterinary bills, associated pet insurance costs, housing deposits, and home and garden doggy-proofing.
Emergency Health Conditions
An article published by Met Life Pet Insurance detailed the cost of emergency vet visits as anywhere between $150 – $1,200.
This is the average cost. Extreme and serious incidents could see veterinary bills run into the tens of thousands. This is why more people take out pet insurance when getting a new dog.
Grooming and Training
An article published by USA Today states that pet parents should expect to spend anywhere between $50-$600 per year on grooming.
Your dog’s grooming needs will vary based on their size, breed, and how much they like to roll around in mud or other unmentionables. You can save money on grooming by buying some basic dog supplies and try grooming your dog more at home.
If you choose to enroll your dog in obedience training classes, it is advisable to allocate a budget of approximately $200 to $600 per week. This amount will cover the expenses associated with instructional DVDs, books, and classes you may opt to attend alongside your dog.
According to USA Today, a visit to the emergency hospital for your dog can incur expenses ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
Extended hospitalization for a sick dog can amount to approximately $1,000 to $3,000, or even more, depending on the severity of the illness or injury.
Unforeseen surgeries can result in costs ranging from $5,000 to upwards of $10,000.
While pet insurance is not compulsory, numerous pet owners find it valuable, particularly during the initial year or for dogs susceptible to health issues. According to the ASPCA, the average yearly expense for pet insurance amounts to $516.
The average cost per month of hiring a professional dog walking service is around $300.
This will vary based on the length of the walks, whether they are part of a group or solo, and the frequency. However, for a professional walking service to take your dog three times a week, you should plan to spend $300 a month.
Cost of Owning a Dog by Size and Breed
Below are three stats from an article published by the American Kennel Club that breaks down dog ownership costs by size.
Cost of a Small Dog
A small dog has an average life expectancy of fifteen years. This means that the average cost a pet parent should expect to incur during that time is $15,051.
While some recurring costs, such as food, may be lower per month for smaller breeds, the longer life span means more costs in total. One of the primary factors in the full-life cost of owning a dog is veterinary costs.
Cost of a Medium Dog
Medium dogs have 13 year long lifespan, making them the most expensive sized dog to own. Medium dogs are some of the more popular dog breeds, but pet parents should expect to pay a lifetime cost of $15,782 for their dog.
Cost of a Large Dog
The lifetime cost of owning a large dog is $14,480, which is the lowest of all dog sizes. However, that is because large dogs have a life expectancy of just 10 years.
Additionally, large dogs have a chance of incurring extra expenses, particularly when it comes to medical expenses and large breed health conditions.
If you’re considering adopting a dog and are concerned about your budget, you can compare the average costs associated with different dog breeds.
An article published on CNBC confirms that caring for Labrador retrievers comes between $55-$99 a month. The dog’s size is a major factor, as most medicines and other costs associated with vet visits are based on the dog’s weight.
The cost of owning a Golden Retriever ranges from $100 to $150 a month. The recurring monthly costs include vaccinations, toys and treats, and grooming.
Mixed breeds like Dachshunds and Chihuahuas are generally more affordable, with monthly costs averaging less than $100.
The driving cost for all dog breeds is their food and grooming needs. Those prices will vary based on owner requirements for things such as a pet sitter or professional grooming services above and beyond the standard.
Which Generation Spends the Most on Dog Ownership
Below are three dog ownership stats based on generation.
57% of Millennial Households Own a Pet
An article published on PetFoodIndustry using data gathered by GFK confirms that 57% of millennial households own a pet.
Interestingly, a further 20% added they do not have a pet but intend to get one. The surge in the number of 18-34-year-old dog owners is largely related to the Covid-19 pandemic, as this pet owner demographic grew the most during that period.
One-Third of All Millennials Buy a New House With More Space for Their Dogs
A survey funded by Sun Trust Mortgages and published by NBC News confirmed that 33% of millennials base a large part of their purchasing decisions on needing more space for their fur babies.
Pet parents are becoming more attuned to the lifestyle and welfare of their animals, and as the time comes to leave apartments behind and move into a family home, space for dogs to run and play is becoming a highly sought-after commodity.
59% of the Millennials Adopt a Pet Before Getting Married
A survey showed that 33% of millennials bought their first home because of their pets, while marriage was the reason behind 25% of homebuyers.
A poll also showed that 59% of millennials haven’t married but own a dog and love spending on them.
Reason Behind High Dog Ownership Costs
An article published on Yahoo Finance confirmed that 71% of pet parents feel that inflation is the main reason behind the increased basic costs of owning a canine.
Everything from vet visits and routine care to the cost of toys and treats has risen sharply in recent years. The worrying impact of this could be the high number of people forced to surrender their dogs due to the inability to afford them.
73% of dog parents show concern about continually rising costs. CNBC reported that almost three-quarters of pet owners are worried about the rising cost of dog ownership.
Everything from the upfront costs and price of adoption papers to food, toys, treats, and license costs have pushed owning dogs from being an affordable option to a family luxury.
Cost of Dog Ownership by State
The cost of owning a dog can vary depending on the state you live in and is influenced by factors such as the local cost of living and the availability of goods and services.
Below are two interesting stats looking at the cost of dog ownership by state. Both stats are taken from a report published by Pettable.
Most Expensive State to Own a Dog
Delaware is one of the most expensive states to own a dog, costing over $2864 yearly for standard care requirements. New York, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ohio also come within the same league. The prices were based on average costs for food, medicines, grooming, and ancillary expected costs.
When it comes to dog food, Delaware residents spend over $200 more per year compared to Massachusetts, which is the second most expensive state in terms of dog food costs.
Least Expensive State to Own a Dog
Conversely, Idaho is one of the most affordable states, with a $1,232 yearly cost for owning dogs, and others on the list are Florida, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
The same article states that in New York, vet visits typically cost $77 per year, the highest in the United States, whereas Arkansas residents usually pay $51.
Memorial Cost Associated with Owning a Dog
Saying goodbye to your cherished pet companion is often the most difficult aspect of being a pet owner. When considering dog burials, it’s important to note that they can be costly due to expenses such as dog caskets, burial services, and the plot of land.
On average, dog burials in the US start at $400 and can increase based on the dog’s size and the type of casket chosen.
Can I Afford To Own a Dog?
Providing you understand that you need to spend money on more than just breeder fees and can do so without bringing yourself into financial difficulty, yes, you can afford to own a dog.
However, it is vital to do your research and get an idea of the lifetime cost of dog ownership. It is a good idea to create an annual budget for your dog.
Should I Finance My Dog?
No, you should not get finance for a dog. A dog is a big financial commitment, and besides the initial purchase cost, the yearly fees associated with owning dogs often eclipse the initial breeder fees.
If you do not have the money to purchase a dog, you need to understand that you will also be unable to afford the day-to-day costs of it.
Additionally, when you take finance for a dog, you pay the cost of the dog and the interest on the repayments, further increasing your outgoings.
What Are the Statistics About Loans for Vet Bills?
The statistics surrounding loans for veterinary bills show that this method of payment is still in the minority. Around 5% of pet owners use loans to pay for routine vet visits and emergencies.
Generation Z types are over twice as likely to take out a loan for vet bills (9%) than both millennials (5%), Generation X (4%), and Boomers (1%).
How Much Does Vet Care Cost?
The average vet care costs vary greatly depending on several different factors. A good starting point is to assume a standard doggy physical would cost around $60.
Other costs vary widely depending on the breed, the issue, and the geographical location. Major surgery will always cost more than an extra health check, while ongoing medications also vary depending on amounts and types.
In addition, pet insurance can take a lot of the sting out of ongoing vet bills, but again, have many variations depending on budget and requirements.
To summarize, there is much more to owning dogs than just paying the initial expenses to buy them. Responsible pet parent does their research and gets a true idea of the ongoing costs they are likely to face.
Only then can a real decision about getting a dog be made. Personally, I had to wait an extra year to get my dog, not only because of the yearly costs but because the pandemic had driven the cost of puppies up by over 300% where I lived.
Are you a dog owner? How have the rising costs of dog care impacted you? If you’re considering getting a dog, are you concerned about the rising cost of dog living? Let us know in the comments. We always love hearing from you.