Dog ownership can be as expensive as you want to make it. If your precious pooch needs organic food, a custom dog bed shaped like a hot rod, diamond-studded collar, etc., things can really add up. Even if you have more modest ideas of what a dog needs, dog ownership is still not cheap.
You should figure on spending $1600 in the first year you have a new dog, and about $800 per year afterwards. If you get a purebred puppy, add 20% in the first year and 10% every year after.
Seem high? Let’s look at the likely purchases you’ll make for your dog in the first year and then later on:
Cost of Your Dog in the First Year
- Acquiring the dog: $75 (if from a shelter) and up. We’re going to assume a shelter dog here; purebred puppies will be more, maybe much more.
- Food + treats: $400 – $500, depending on the size of the dog.
- Vet bills, including vaccines, spay/neuter, heartworm & other maintenance pills: $500
- Crate & dog bed: $200
- Food bowl, collar, leash: $75
- Pet cleaner for the inevitable messes your dog makes: $50
That brings you to between $1300 and $1400. But there are other potential costs, at least some of which you’re sure to have to deal with:
- Boarding or pet care costs when you are away: $150 or more.
- Fencing: You could easily pay $1000 if you don’t already have a way to keep your dog secured in a yard.
- Training: You may or may not need outside help, but if you do, you’ll spend at least $200.
- Grooming: You may or may not do this yourself, but an outside groomer is likely to charge at least $100.
After the First Year
- Food + treats: $400 – $500
- Vet bills and maintenance drugs like heartworm pills: $100
- Boarding/Grooming/Cleaning/Miscellaneous: $200
Lifetime Cost of a Dog
On average, the lifetime cost of a dog is $11,000 – $12,000.
To get this number, we assume the average dog will live 12 years. Different breeds have different average lifespans, but we’ll use 12 as an average. In general, smaller dogs will live longer than bigger dogs, but the smaller dogs have less per-year costs in terms of food, so we’ll assume that they cost the same amount overall, just spread out over a longer period.
There will generally be added veterinary costs in the last 1-2 years of a dog’s life, boosting the overall lifetime cost.
Is it worth it?
Heck, yeah, it’s worth it! Dogs are awesome! No one’s ever going to love you the way your dog does.