How much it really costs to own a dog

Scott Akerman/FlickrThere are a lot of costs to consider before getting a dog.

Bringing home a dog can open up an exciting new chapter in your life. However, when looking forward to the priceless rewards you’ll gain when owning a dog, be sure to consider the costs associated with feeding, housing, and taking care of your new pet.

Here’s how much it will typically cost you to own a dog.

As a note, the average costs for the items on the list are based on listings found on Amazon, Walmart, and Petsmart.


A collar and leash are doggie essentials.

MikeDotta/ShutterstockA leash and collar can be pretty affordable.

Collars and leashes are a necessity when taking care of a dog, particularly when it comes to neighbourhood walks and trips to the dog park.

Prices for dog collars depend on the size of the dog and type of collar. In terms of leashes, the prices vary depending on if you prefer a standard nylon leash or a retractable one.

The typical price range of dog collars: $US5 to $US20

The typical price range of leashes: $US8 to $US35


You’ll likely want to microchip your dog and get them a customised tag.

Caters/Express Syndication/Getty ImagesA microchip can come in handy if your dog ever gets lost.

One of the most important things to do when bringing home a new dog is to ensure they have dog tags with your dog’s name, your address, and phone number.

You may also want to take your dog to the vet to microchip them in case they are lost without a collar.

The typical price range of dog tags: Dog tag prices depend on the type of tag you prefer, and they can be engraved at most pet stores for a small cost. Typically, they range from $US4 to $US20.

The average cost of getting your dog microchipped: According to Petfinder, the average cost for implanting a microchip in your dog totals $US45 and often includes the registration fee to submit your dog’s information to a pet recovery database.


Use your dog’s size as a reference when purchasing dog food.

Flickr/lisa_yarostThe price can vary.

There are a lot of factors to consider when purchasing dog food, particularly given the size and breed of your dog. Bigger dogs tend to eat more than smaller dogs and you can calculate exactly how much you should feed your dog using this chart from Pet MD. For example, a medium-sized dog typically eats 2 lbs a day, or 60 lbs a month.

And of course, these prices can vary depending on your dog’s dietary restrictions and whether or not you purchase specialty foods.

The typical price range for a 50 lb bag of dog food: $US20 to $US40


Toys are important for a dog’s playtime.

Flickr/cogdogRope toys are a popular choice.

In addition to providing fun and entertainment for your dog while you and your family members are away from the house, chew toys and bones can help improve your dog’s dental health.

Some of the most common dog toys are tennis balls, bones, stuffed animals, chew toys and rope toys. Fortunately, there are a lot of affordable options when it comes to dog toys.

The average price range of a common dog toy: $US2 to $US12


Dog beds are recommended to provide a place for your pet to sleep.

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty ImagesThe price oftentimes depends on the size of the bed.

Dog bedding can provide a unique place for your dog to sleep and lay down away from beds and couches. Bedding is also important for a dog’s comfort as it grows older and experiences orthopaedic issues.

Prices for dog beds typically depend on the quality, material, and size.

The average price range of dog beds: $US18 to $US120


Dog crates are useful but not always necessary.

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSmall, active dogs may not like them.

For some dogs, sleeping in a crate at night or while their owner is at work provides them with a sense of comfort. According to Modern Dog Magazine, dogs have “a natural denning instinct, normally preferring safe, enclosed quarters for their naps.”

On the other hand, dogs with high energy levels may not do as well in a crate for hours at a time, so you may want to talk to a veterinarian before deciding whether or not to purchase a crate for your dog.

Dog crates range in price depending on their size and which type of materials you’re looking for.

The typical price range of dog crates: $US28 to $US90


Much of the initial costs depend on whether you buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter.

Fiona Goodall/Stringer/Getty ImagesAdopting a dog is typically more affordable.

Purchasing a dog from a breeder can typically be more costly than adopting a pet from a shelter or dog rescue. But, of course, the costs can vary greatly.

The typical price range of buying a dog: This cost entirely depends on the breed of your dog and the breeder, but Forbes reports it can typically cost from $US500 to $US3,000 for the common Golden retriever.

The typical price range of adopting a dog: According to Petfinder, adopting a dog can cost nothing or as much as $US880. But, they say most high adoption fees come with a lot of benefits for your dog, such as basic vaccinations, microchips or veterinary exams. So, in the long run, a high adoption fee could mean you save on a lot of other dog-related costs.


Expect veterinarian bills to be high.

Rafi Letzter/Business InsiderEspecially when you first get your dog.

The most expenses for owning a dog often come from visits to the veterinarian. Even if your dog is completely healthy, there are initial and recurring fees associated with taking your dog to the vet that help them stay in good health.

According to the Best Friends Animal Society, these costs can range quite a bit.

  • The average price range of spaying and neutering: This price depends on if you go to a low-cost clinic or if there are any surgical complications. Typically the price ranges from $US45 to $US175.
  • The typical price range of heartworm prevention and flea and tick control: $US150 to $US200 or more per year
  • The average price range of annual checkup and vaccinations: It typically ranges from $US50 to $US200 depending on your dog’s age, size, and health

That being said, medical emergencies or unforeseen surgeries for your dog can sometimes cost thousands of dollars. Additionally, some pet owners choose to purchase pet insurance plans that can help with some costs.


When necessary, you may need to hire a pet sitter or a boarding company.

Pedro Ribeiro Simões/FlickrThe cost can be higher or lower depending on how much you travel.

The yearly costs for pet care can range widely, depending on how often you travel and whether you would prefer to board your dog in a kennel rather than leave it with a sitter.

Average cost per day for boarding in a kennel: According to CostHelper.com, boarding can range from $US12 to $US38 for a full day.

Average cost for hiring a pet sitter: According to Pet Sitter, the average dog sitter charges between $US14 and $US19 an hour, with an average cost of $US16.80 per hour.


Anticipate the unpredictable costs of replacing damaged items.

Flickr/stevenljohnsonWhether it’s their favourite toy or your holiday decorations, you can’t predict what your pup will get into.

Animals are unpredictable. Even if your dog is well-trained, there is always the chance that clothing could be eaten, trash cans may be knocked over, and items will be destroyed.

The costs associated with replacing damaged items vary depending on what was broken or damaged, as well as the cost of the damage it could potentially do to your dog’s stomach.


All in all, owning a dog is priceless.

Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesBut, it’s important to consider the cost of owning a dog before making the commitment.

Owning a dog can come with a bunch of initial fees, like a dog crate, adoption fees, vaccinations, and spaying and neutering.

There are also annual fees to consider, such as vet checkups and food.

Remember, these costs can vary depending on the size, age, and health of your dog, in addition to personal decisions you make as its owner.

But, overall, owning a dog can feel absolutely priceless.

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