How much does it cost to own a dog?
Whether you get your puppy for free or pay a month's wages for him, that initial price is just the beginning of what your dog will cost. Basic yearly expenses associated with owning a dog depend on several factors that include the dog's age, how healthy he is, what food and services cost where you live, and what kind of lifestyle you choose for your dog and whether you decide to get a dog insurance. Remember, as the cost of living changes, so does the cost of keeping a dog. Take into consideration the fact that large dog breeds have a shorter lifetime (about 10 years), medium-sized dogs lifespan can be about 13 years and about 15 years for small dogs.
Annual costs associated with dog ownership include veterinary care and pet insurance, dog food, dog training equipment and dog grooming tools and professional dog grooming services, dog toys and dog supplies such as collars, leashes, dog bowls, and dog beds.
First year dog expenses list (for small breeds)
First office visit $50.00 (for larger breeds vet visits tend to be more expensive)
Four vaccinations at $35.00 each $140.00 (costs may vary)
Rabies shot cost $15.00
Bordatella vaccine cost $15.00
Leptospirosis vaccine (x2) and/or $15.00 each Lyme disease vaccine (x2), depending on where you live
Spay/neuter operation $150.00
Prevention Heartworm prevention at $3.50/month $42.00
Flea control spot-on at $8.00/month $96.00
Obedience classes for dogs
Puppy class (6–8 sessions) $50.00 (costs may vary)
Basic obedience (6–8 sessions) $50.00 (costs may vary)
Dog Services expenses
Pet sitter/boarding for one-week vacation at $20.00/day $140.00 (costs vary)
Professional grooming expenses
Dog grooming costs vary per dog breed
Pet supplies expenses for the first year of owning a dog
Dog Food $400.00 per year
Retractable Leash $25.00
Collar or harness $12.00
Dog Food and water bowls $10.00
Dog bed $50.00
Dog Shampoo (two bottles) $20.00
Canine Toothbrush/paste $10.00
Nail clippers $10.00
ID tags $4.00
Pet gate $40.00
Dog toys $50.00
Treats, one box/month $30.00
Chewing/teething treats $50.00
Poop scoop $10.00
Breed book $15.00
Training book $15.00
Pet odor remover, 1 gallon $20.00
Veterinary care and cost of health insurance for dogs
Expected annual cost ranges from $200 to $500 provided the dog doesn't suffer from any serious illness during the year. These costs reflect the price of well-dog care, including veterinary exams, immunizations, and protection from heartworm, fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Illnesses, accidents, or injuries will quickly multiply these amounts, often increasing them to thousands of dollars. Pet insurance can help with the cost of your pet's medical care. There are many different policies that vary in terms of cost and coverage. At Nationwide, policies range from about $17 per month to about $58 per month depending on what the coverage includes. Regular preventive care can help to keep overall medical costs down by catching certain problems early, before they become worse and more difficult to treat.
When you are looking for the right pet insurance plan, the following five steps will help you to make the right decision:
Pick the appropriate reimbursement type: decide whether a percentage of invoice or a benefit schedule fits your needs best. In the first case, you get back a percentage of what you paid your veterinarian for the treatment. In the second case, reimbursement is capped at a set amount for each condition and the treatment cost does not matter in this case. Some pet health insurance companies limit your percentage-based reimbursement by excluding certain things, such as exam fees. Be sure to understand what is excluded from the reimbursement plan when you are selecting the reimbursement type.
Understand what is and isn't covered and when and why these things might change. There can be some restrictions on your coverage when you file a claim. Check whether the coverage changes from year to year and ask questions before you sign up.
Do not buy a pet health insurance plan because it's cheap but doesn't cover what you need. Find out about deductibles. Some plans have an annual deductible and other plans may have no deductible.
There are various kinds of coverage offered by pet insurers. Choose the coverage plan that makes sense for your situation.
Check the pet insurer's company's track record for dependability, and recommendations. See what other pet owners have to say about their experience with that particular company. See reviews and especially see what are the negative things that are mentioned about that pet insurance company and get your questions and concerns answered by the pet insurer before you sign up.
Annual cost of dog food
How much does it cost to feed a dog? Annual cost of dog food depends on the size of your dog and on what type of dog food you choose to feed your dog. Dog foods with better-quality ingredients cost more to make, so they usually cost more to buy. Better-quality dog foods are usually more nourishing, more palatable and easier to digest and better for the dog's health and longevity. Expected annual cost of dog food ranges from $300 to $1,000 and could be more.
Professional dog training services
How much does a dog training cost? Annual cost for dog training starts at $150 and up. Dog training costs vary widely, depending on whether you sign up for private or group lessons and how much and what kind of dog training you decide to give your pet. For example, to train a large working breed for personal protection can cost over $5,000 a year.
Does owning a small dog cost less?
Size of the dog makes a difference when it comes to calculating the annual cost of dog ownership. The larger the dog, the more expensive it is to keep. Larger breeds require more expenses. A large dog eats more dog food, needs a larger dog bed and a larger pet crate. All of these add up for more expenses associated with larger breeds. Even veterinary visits cost more with a larger dog breed.
Dog boarding costs
How much does dog boarding cost per day? Don't forget about the costs involved in dog boarding. When owners go for vacation, dogs often have to stay at the dog boarding facility which is an additional expense that needs to be taken into consideration. Plan on spending $10 to $30 per day for a lower-end boarding company. A higher-end boarding facility can cost from $45 to $65 per day.
Dog Boarding Services average cost per day based on location:
Anaheim, CA: $20
Atlanta, GA: $33
Bellevue, WA: $22
Charlotte, NC: $38
Davidsonville, MD: $22
Davie, FL: $48
Doylestown, PA: $38
Fresno, CA: $23
Indio, CA: $65
Los Angeles, CA: $45
Morristown, NJ: $45
Pensacola, FL: $41
Rancho Santa Fe, CA: $40
San Antonio, TX: $31
Seattle, WA: $32
Dog grooming services costs
How much does dog grooming cost? Some dog breeds require considerably less grooming and maintenance than others. Annual cost of dog grooming can range from $50 to $1,000 and for some breeds much more. Some dog breeds require minimal grooming and owners can save plenty of money by taking care of the pet's grooming needs at home. Owners of dogs with high maintenance coat can learn how to groom their dogs at home, and many owners enjoy giving their dogs haircuts at home. The initial cost of dog grooming tools is minimal in comparison to the cost of taking your pet to the professional dog groomer once every six weeks or so.
Other pet-related expenses
Annual cost of dog toys, collars, leashes, dog bedding, dog car accessories, etc. can add up to about $1,000 a year and could be much higher, depending on the cost of living in your area and other factors.
Some dog breeds are healthier than others
How much does a veterinary visit cost? Purebred dogs often have a set of inherited diseases and some breeds experience less health issues than others. The healthier the dog breed that you choose, the less the pet insurance cost will be. Some breeds have a shorter life span due to health issues affecting the specific breed. If we take the Great Dane breed as an example, the large dog breed has a very short lifespan - with some individuals living only up to 6 or 7 years of age. The short lifespan is connected to canine cancer which is considered to be the leading cause of death for Great Dane breed. There are other dog breeds that require more attention to their health issues and the costs associated with having a less healthy dog breed will affect the overall cost of dog ownership. English Bulldogs, for example are among the least healthy breeds due to breathing issues that most Bulldogs experience. The shorter nose causes serious health issues for this breed. Bulldogs can not efficiently cool themselves off by panting during the hot summer days and may easily get a heatstroke when kept in a hot and humid area during the hot weather. There will be more veterinary visits with a Bulldog breed in comparison to healthier breeds and the dog is more expensive to keep as a result.
Chihuahuas are among the healthier dog breeds and there aren't many serious health issues associated with the Chihuahua dog breed. A Chihuahua owner who takes a good care of the small dog on average will have less visits to the veterinarian because Chihuahua is a healthier breed. The fact that a Chihuahua is a healthier breed means that the dog's lifespan will be much longer than that of a less healthy dog breed. On average Chihuahua has a long lifespan and can live about 16 years. A longer lifespan of the dog means that the yearly cost of owning the healthier breed will need to be adjusted to account for the longer lifespan of the dog.
A relatively healthy dog breed will have significantly lower veterinary costs over the lifetime of the pet. Of course, many factors affect a dog's overall health, including the following:
How well the dog is cared for - does the owner take the pet to the vet in case of any health issues, is the dog properly groomed - some breeds develop skin issues when their coat is not brushed regularly
Does the dog get enough exercise and physical activity for his specific breed - some breeds require more exercise than others
How healthy is the dog's diet - does the dog eat a healthy dog food that meets his nutritious needs or is he eating human food that does not provide the dog with all the nutrients he needs to stay healthy?
There are many other factors that affect a dog's overall health and longevity and in turn affect the cost of dog ownership.
Legal services for dog owners
Especially if you own a large and potentially aggressive dog that doesn't have the appropriate obedience training, your legal fees may be very expensive as you are responsible for any damage or pain that your dog can cause to other people or their property. Also, the owner of any breed, large or small will need to abide by the licensing requirements in his or her area.
Dog housing costs
Homeowners do not need to worry about budgeting for extra housing costs for their dog. This situation is different for renters. Some landlords charge pet deposits (up to $350 per year) as well as non-refundable pet fees that can be up to $400 per year and that's not all. Monthly pet rent can be more than $40 per dog. Some areas are more pet friendly than others.
A responsible dog owner will benefit by having a good idea about the annual costs involved in caring for a dog. Having this information will help you to make a responsible decision and maybe save some extra money before you plunge into the wonderful experience of owning a dog.