How much does it cost to own a dog?

Our fur baby, Baxter.
Our fur baby, Baxter.

Many people have started the relationship of owning a dog without thinking about how much it is going to cost. Maybe they find a stray or inherit a puppy but as the animal grows up, they are shocked at the ongoing cost of dog ownership. So how much does it cost to own a dog?

Here is a breakdown of some of the costs associated with owning a pet.

Start-Up Costs

Whether you choose to adopt a dog from the local pet shelter or decide to go with a private breeder, you will end up paying for the animal. Some breeders and shelters include the spay and neuter fee in the initial cost.

Ask whether the dog is current on all shots or if they are going to need to get caught up.

These fees can add up fast, so ask ahead of time and limit the surprise fees.

Pet Food

Depending on the size of your dog you will have varying amounts of money for food and treats. You can buy single cans of specialty choices or bulk size bags of dry food. It makes sense that small dogs will eat less food which will mean less money required for daily feedings. Some dogs require special diets for health issues.

Treats can be purchased for a couple dollars for a bag or you can choose specialized treats that are designed for special breeds. Pet food can be expensive if you are not careful. When you first get the dog, you will have some trial and error till you decide which food is best for the animal.

Annual Shots/Checkup

All dogs will need to have yearly checkups and shots. Most vets will do the yearly checkup and routine shots in the range of $100 – $200. Call ahead to see what the fees are in your area.

Tip: Keep a record of when your pet receives the recommended shots. This will help if your dog is ever involved in a biting situation or you decide to let him move to a new home.

Flea & Tick Control

If your dog is going to be outside at any time, he will need some sort of flea and tick protection. This can range from under $10 at the local big box store to $20 and up per month. Find out what your vet suggests for your breed.

Dog Gear

You will need a collar, leash, food bowl and pet shampoo as well as a place for the animal to sleep. You can of course use a blanket or towel for a bed, but sometimes dogs do sleep better if they have a designated place of their own.

Owning a dog can be a rewarding experience for all members of the family, but you don’t want to be surprised by the cost of dog ownership. Do your research and then bring home a new furbaby!


  1. These are all great things to keep in mind BEFORE getting a pet. It’s always important to research before pulling the trigger on such a big decision.

  2. They can be costly, but they’re well worth it! I wouldn’t mind getting another dog sometime. 🙂

  3. I am fortunate that I have never really had to worry about fleas and ticks. However, with two dogs the expense for heartworm pills certainly adds up. (But so worth it!)

  4. There were a lot more expenses of having a dog that first year than I realized. Great post!

  5. Great post, animals can be expensive, but I agree they are totally worth it.

  6. Today we became dog owners. We rescued a dog from a shelter and he had one day left. He is so loving and sweet, and this is a great article. It is very important to invest in our pets so they can have the life they deserve.

  7. Our little Ruger is a bit expensive but we love him and wouldn’t have it any other way. We buy him Science Diet food and it is pricey but it is a brand we know and trust. Great post to help give people ideas!

  8. We have two large dogs and it is expensive but I stagger costs so we don’t owe it all at once. Vet appts are months apart for shots and annual visits. Same with dog food as they eat different food (one is a senior and one is young adult).

  9. Thank you for sharing these costs. I think that a lot of people don’t think about these costs when considering adding a pet to the family.

  10. It could cost almost as much a child,we recently got a pet rescue dog as a gift.Luckily the previous owner, who is my son’s best friends mom takes care of the vet bills.

  11. My kids keep asking if we can have a dog but I keep telling them that it is too expensive and not a hobby but a life time friend and family member that you adopt. I love cats but it would be nice to have a dog 🙂

  12. First off your shihtzu is so adorable! I miss having mine so bad! You’re right owning a pet can be expensive. Like someone else said, owning a cat is cheaper in some ways.

  13. This is a great post. When we got our pooch it was a spur of the moment decision (we found him the night before we bought him :O)so we were not prepared, thankfully we had almost all of these things in mind and we stopped at Petsmart on the way home to pick up his stuff.

  14. It’s also good to keep in mind that dogs get sick, too. They can develop serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease, and vet bills are not cheap.

  15. Yep, ours has been expensive. That’s mostly because he tore her CCL the first year and the second one the next year, costing us some $10K. We do love her though 🙂

  16. i love to have a puppy but its a bit troublesome

  17. Another expense that some might have is kenneling if they don’t have friends or family to watch the pup when they go away. And emergencies always come up just like they would for humans 😉 I think pet insurance is a prudent cost to owning one, because when something big happens those vet bills can get out of control.

  18. I think vetting costs are the biggest shock to people. Just taking my pup in to get an exam is $60 before anything else is added on! I’ve really been looking into pet insurance, especially if anything big were to happen to my pup.

  19. My family and I have been debating getting a dog and this post certainly helps out in pointing out what to consider as well as listing those pet care areas where expenses can add up.

  20. Dogs are expensive, but so worth it. This is great information for people to read before they decide to get a dog.

  21. So important to remember these points!

  22. The cost of owning a pet can definitely add up and many expenses can come unexpectedly. Our Harvey needed life saving surgery at just 6 months old and it set us back $2700.

  23. I was thinking about adopting the sweetest and most adorable shitzu last week, but with the $80 grooming every six weeks and the $300+ vet bills (just for regular check ups) I already have with one dog I don’t think I will be getting another anytime soon unfortunately.

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