The average cost of a human baby can easily hit thousands in the first year alone, especially in an area with a high cost of living. That’s enough to rattle anyone’s rattle, but what about the monthly or annual cost of our fur babies? How do dogs compare to other monthly expenses, and are they expensive, like everyone claims they are? Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Dog Owners’ Initial Costs of Getting a Dog
There’s usually unavoidable upfront costs of owning a dog. The purchase price or adoption fee, spaying or neutering, microchips, initial vaccinations, first vet visit, and deworming and parasite control can hit you all at once right when you first adopt your new best friend. But there’s more where that comes from.
Adoption and breeder fees
The numbers for adoption fees and breeder fees are all over the place. Pet parents spend anywhere from $100 to many thousands, depending on where they’re getting the dog and what breed it is. Generally, you’ll spend less on smaller dogs than large ones. However, this likely wouldn’t be the case if you purchased a small purebred from a breeder vs adopting a dog from a shelter. You’ll notice a pattern throughout this guide about monthly dog expenses: it’s all relative to the dog you’re taking home, your budget, and your personal preferences.
New dog supplies
Chances are, if you aren’t already a dog owner, your home will need a few things. Some necessary items could be as straightforward as water, dog food and kibble bowls or a doggy bed, while others could be a bit more conditional, like specific toys or potty training equipment.
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Boarding, Training, Dog Walkers & Doggy Day Care
Dog training classes can run for $40 to $150 per session, while boarding or hiring a dog walker could cost roughly $20 to $40 per walk or day at the daycare. Walks won’t be an expense for everyone; many dog owners enjoy walking their dog many times a day.
Many train their dogs themselves, too, which often works and is a great choice, both budget-wise and to bond with your pup. But it won’t work for every dog, as some are more stubborn than others. You’ll need a lot of time and patience – for some, it can be worth the extra expense so you aren’t paying thousands for a new bed because they decided it would be fun to tear it up while you were at work.
The Cost of Dog Ownership: Monthly Expenses
Alright. Let’s crunch some numbers. How much does it cost to own a dog? On average, your monthly dog expenses could range between $40 to $300. But where did these numbers come from? Let’s break down each category and start thinking about cash.
Dog Food & Treats
A dog’s food and treat monthly costs can vary widely. How big is your dog? What brand of kibble or treats do you intend to buy? Do they have any dietary restrictions? How much do you want to spoil your little ball of fluff?
The answer to each of these questions could add or subtract a few bucks from your final costs. But ideally, you’ll be purchasing something that’s both affordable and healthy, like treats from Carolina Prime Pet. These treats are made by dog lovers, for dogs and those who love them. So they’re packed with good stuff that will bring out a happy woof or tail-wag pretty much every time.
Without toys, your dog may get bored and have their own “fun.” And yes – that’s usually as bad as it sounds. Common impromptu dog toys can be anything from your favorite pair of shoes to an entire couch. Most pet owners buy their pup toys to help keep them happy and occupied.
It may take trial and error to see what toys your dog likes to play with and how often you need to replace them. Depending on how rough your dog handles their toys, you might find yourself replacing them more frequently than you expect, which can also up this expense.
Grooming is another category that varies a lot. Long-haired dogs usually need more attention than short-haired dogs. The time of year could impact your grooming expenses as well. And any pups that love the great outdoors will need more than a few baths in their time. You could knock out some or all of the grooming yourself, depending on your dedication and patience. Most dog owners either opt for groomers to occasionally bring out the best in their furry best friend, or provide their own grooming supplies and methods.
Pet Insurance & “Other”
As a dog owner, you’ll learn to expect the unexpected when it comes to monthly dog expenses – the dreaded “other” category. Basically, the stuff you don’t typically think about until it just… happens. Accidents, health issues, pet deposits, rent hikes, fences, crates, and damage to your home or belongings are all things to consider when budgeting for a dog.
Not everyone will run into all these costs – pet insurance, for example, may be an unnecessary luxury to many. Still, you should probably put aside some extra cash, in case “someone” decides that your 10-minute trip to the grocery store warrants tearing up your office chair, or jumping the fence to scrap with the rival dog next door.
Vet Visits & Vaccinations
Routine vet care is a big help in keeping your dog healthy and safe. These could be more frequent when you first get your dog (especially a puppy), and will taper off to a more stabilized number of visits. You can generally expect your average cost of a veterinary care visit to be $50 to $250, but it can and often is higher for things like emergency visits, diagnostic tests, or dental cleanings.
Some dog breeds are prone to health issues, so there’s a decent chance you’ll shell out more if you own these breeds. But just like with your health, there’s no telling when you’ll need to find some room in the budget for a trip to the vet. So some mental flexibility with your budgeting here can save you a lot of stress.
Ways to Save on Dog Costs
So. Will your dog be expensive? Well, like we mentioned earlier, it depends on the dog you’re bringing home, your budget, how “lucky/unlucky” you are, and your personal preferences. But if you’re finishing up calculations and can’t stop dissociating and staring at the wall, don’t worry: there are plenty of ways to own the happy, healthy dog you want without breaking the bank.
An excellent way to save on monthly dog expenses is to invest in your dog’s health by making smart food choices. Healthy, nutritious meals and treats do the same things for you that they do for your pup – good nutrition typically means more energy, less illness, and more overall health. But the difference is, your dog can’t make these decisions themselves, so it’s up to us as pet owners to ensure their meals have the right ingredients. You can also buy your treats in bulk to save too! You already know your dog will love them, so you might as well stock up and save! We make that easy with our treat bundles that offer a ton of scrumptious variety to keep things interesting.
The DIY route is something to consider if you also want to save money. Dog walking, grooming, and training are all things you can do yourself if you’re up for it. Even boarding could be easier if you ask a friend or family member – they can often be the perfect pet sitters. It’s about getting creative where you can without sacrificing your dog’s (or your) quality of life, and there are many ways to achieve this!
Getting The Most Bark for Your Buck as a New Dog Owner
Knowing exactly how much your furriest family member will set you back can be challenging, but you have more control over it than you think! Buy quality where it counts, like your vet, experiences, and dog food and treats. Then, find ways to cut convenience costs where it makes sense for you. Taking the extra effort to know what’s right for your pup and pocketbook will ensure every family member has a wonderful, comfortable life together – the two and four-legged!