Cost of Owning a Dog: Financial Commitments

Owning a dog is a big responsibility, both in time and in cost. Every year millions of dogs make their way into shelters and rescues because people thought that they would like a dog but weren’t prepared for the responsibility of having one.

There is no such thing as a free dog. Nor does the cost of a dog stop at her purchase or adoption price. All dogs require adequate food, supplies, and veterinary care. Depending on the size of your dog, she may eat a little or quite a bit.

cute Samoyed puppies
we’re hungry mom!

Expect to buy a twenty-pound bag of premium food for a small dog and a forty-pound bag of premium food for a large dog once a month, plus canned meat and treats.

Your puppy will need a series of four to six vaccinations (usually a distemper-parvovirus combo and rabies). She’ll need to be dewormed, tested for heartworm, and given heartworm- preventive medication. And if she’s not already spayed or neutered, your dog will have to be spayed or neutered before the age of 6 months.

How Much Does a Dog Cost?

flying with a dog

The cost of a dog doesn’t end at her purchase or adoption price. If you decide to buy a puppy, you can expect certain costs in the first year. The following is a list of potential costs you might face the first year:

Cost of owning a dog: Veterinary Care

Veterinary CareCostTotal
Distempter-parvo combo vaccination$10–$50 each $40–$200 (four times)
Rabies vaccination $10–$30 each $10–$30
Lyme disease vaccination$30–$70 each $60–$140 (two times)
Bordetella vaccination $15–$35 each $30–$70 (two times)
Giardia vaccination $30–$70 each $60–$140 (two times)
Office visit $10–$25 each $40–$100 (four times)
Spay/neuter $20–$200 $20–$200
Deworming$15–$50 each $30–$100 (two times)
Heartworm test $10–$50 each $10–$50
Heartworm medicine $4–$8 per dose $50–$100

Cost of owning a dog: Supplies

SuppliesCostTotal /yr
Food $10–$50 per month $120–$600
Crate$15–$200 each $15–$200
Grooming supplies$15–$50$15–$50
Miscellaneous supplies (bedding, etc.)$10–$100$10–$100
Treats$1–$5 per week $52–$260
Toys$3–$15 each $9–$45
Bowls $5–$10 each$10–$20
Collars, leashes, etc.Toys $3–$15 each$9–$45


ServiceCostTotal /yr
Grooming $20–$60 per visit $240–$720
Boarding $10–$40 per day$140–$480
Training$70–$300 per 8-week class $140–$600
Yard cleanup$25–$50 $300–$600

how much does a puppy cost?

owning a puppy

Most puppies are expensive for the first year of life because of the required vaccinations, supplies, and veterinary checkups.

If you get an adult dog, you can still expect to have increased costs the first year, although they won’t likely be as high as those for a puppy.

The cost usually decreases or remains steady during the dog’s adult life (assuming no serious injury or illness) and then rises again as the dog passes 7 years of age and becomes a senior citizen.

Problems such as cancer, arthritis, and other age-related diseases may crop up after that time. But there are other costs of owning a dog, too.

funny puppy

Most municipalities require that you license your dog. Some insurance companies raise homeowner insurance rates if you own a dog of a certain breed.

It’s a good idea to go through professional training sessions with your dog, so the dog learns basic manners and obedience commands.

If you’re not the type who will groom your dog yourself, you can expect to pay groomers’ bills, too. Other costs can include treats, toys, crates, car seat belts, beds, and cleaners and cleaning appliances.