How Much Does It Cost To Take Care Of A Dog? When deciding to get a dog, most first-time owners look forward to all the good times they’re going to have with their pup. They focus on the cuddles, kisses, walks, and puppy playtime in their future and don’t realize that taking care of their new BFF is going to be a long-term investment. Long gone are the days when all you had to do to welcome a furbaby to the family is buy some food and a collar.
In this edition of Animal Facts, we’re going to break down the digits on what it costs to take care of a dog so you can budget accordingly and not break the bank.
What you pay to purchase or adopt a dog can range anywhere from thousands of dollars to free. As with any other purchase, you’re going to get what you pay for. The best way to make sure you get a strong, healthy pup is to steer clear of “shade tree breeders” and to go to a professional breeder. Sure, you’ll pay a bit more—anywhere from $500 to $2000 for a purebred, more or less—but you’ll save in the long run because your dog will likely be healthier. If you get your pooch from a shelter or rescue, it’s a win-win. The adoption fee can be as low as $50 to $200, and you’ll also be giving a furever home to a dog in need.
But keep in mind that many of these dogs are undocumented and little to nothing may be known about their medical histories, so down the road, you may end up spending more than you expected on vet care.
Veterinary Care and Medications
Speaking of Vets, although you might be eager to show off your new sidekick to family and friends, the first person you should introduce your dog to is a good veterinarian. No matter where you get your pup, they should be checked to see if they need any preventative treatments or medications, and to make sure they’re up to date on their vaccinations. You should prepare to spend between $50 and $300 on the initial checkup. If you have a puppy, you’ll need to bring them in every couple of weeks until they’re about 16 weeks old at $100 to $300 per visit, depending on your buddy’s needs.
Routine checkups are essential to keeping your dog healthy. So, when you schedule your annual or biannual checkup, you should do the same for your pup. Wellness visits typically average about $200 to $300 per year, and lab work can cost an additional $100 to $300.
And long gone are the days when all you had to do to clean your dog’s teeth was give them a Milk Bone and let nature take its course. Nowadays, it’s recommended that dogs get professional dental cleanings at least once a year at a cost of about $300 to $800. If your pup is suffering from tooth decay and bone loss, expect to pay about $800 to $3000, give or take, depending on the severity of the disease.
Also, be sure to set aside $100 to $500 annually for preventive medications and supplements like vitamins, flea, tick and heartworm treatments.
Dogs are born foodies. If given the choice, most of them would feast on filet mignon every day, whether it was good for them or not. Well, fortunately there are several high-quality dog food options for every stage of your dog’s life. A year’s supply of food and treats generally costs anywhere from $250 to $900, depending on your dog’s size and energy level, the quality of the ingredients, and your pup’s dietary needs. For instance, if your dog can only digest certain foods, or prefers freshly-made food over dry food, you may spend $150 or more a month.
When you look good, you feel good—the same goes for your dog. So, shampoos, haircuts, and mani-pedis are essential to keeping your best friend healthy and happy.
If your dog is hairless or short-haired, you might spend as little as $40 annually on grooming supplies and appointments. On the flip side, if your dog has a longer coat or sheds heavily, you may end up spending as much as $1400 a year…but isn’t it worth spending what seems like a million bucks to make your BFF look like a million bucks?
Whether they’re an untrained puppy or an adult that needs a little remedial coaching, most of your dog’s training will take place in the first two years of their life with you. But contrary to popular belief, old dogs can learn new tricks, so training should be continuous. You should budget at least $25 to $300 per year for obedience training classes and resources like crates, puppy pads, clickers, books and videos—you might want to pick up a couple of extra treats, too.
Check out Brain Training for Dogs to learn how to use your dog’s natural intelligence to stop bad behavior.
Toys – How Much Does It Cost To Take Care Of A Dog
If you want to keep your pooch from getting bored and making his or her own fun at your expense, pick up a variety of toys. A great recreation station should include chew toys, balls, puzzles and other playthings that encourage physical and mental stimulation. Get ready to shell out about $25 to $125 per year or more, depending on how rough and tumble your pup is at playtime—and how hard it is for you to resist an adorable, little squeak toy.
Boarding and Sitters – How Much Does It Cost To Take Care Of A Dog
Unless your travel buddy can fit in your purse or tote bag, it won’t be possible to take them with you every time you hit the road, so you’ll need to budget for boarding or a pet sitter. On average, most people travel at least once or twice a year. Expect to pay about $100 to $300 annually in boarding charges, or fees for a “substitute you.”
Miscellaneous and Emergency – How Much Does It Cost To Take Care Of A Dog?
If we broke down every single thing you’ll buy for your dog in their lifetime, we’d need to tape at least two segments. So, we’re lumping costs including (but not limited to) walking services, leashes, collars, doggie dishes, beds, licenses, and the latest fashions together under “miscellaneous expenses.” On average, yearly miscellaneous expenses can range from about $250 to more than $5000.
And as with any other part of life, there will be unexpected costs that pop up from time to time, so you should put a little something in the cookie jar or get a credit card to be used specifically to pay that emergency vet bill, replace that ruined rug, or chewed up pair of shoes you loved so much. We’re sure you’d like to know how much your peace of mind is worth…trust us, it’s priceless.
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