How much does the family dog really cost?
A lot of people I know (but not me) have a dog, so they really can't cost that much, right?
Of course they do, even if most pet owners view those dollars as nothing compared to the joy their charges bring.
According to the ASPCA, the estimated expenses for the first year of dog ownership range from $1,314 to $1,843, which includes food, health insurance and other things like beds, dishes and crates. Recent reports from the Ontario Veterinary Association peg the numbers even higher in Canada ($1,840 annually for a 40-pound dog).
Actually, that’s really on the low end since it doesn’t include the cost of adopting or buying the dog, which can range from a couple of hundred dollars to ten times that for some purebred breeds.
Also not included are recurring costs like daycare, which can range in price from $30 to $40 daily, and grooming which runs another $40 a trip depending on the location, services, and type of dog.
And that’s assuming the animal is healthy.
According to vet Chris Bern the total annual cost of basic preventative canine care should come in somewhere between $585-$965 annually, excluding special diets or extra medical expenses. These too are minimal estimates as many dog owners have stories of unexpected medical bills that run into the thousands.
In addition to such basic medical costs, Bern recommends having an emergency fund of at least $500 that you don’t touch for any reason other than problems with your do, which is funny since most people don’t even have that setup for themselves.
Based on these estimates, owning a small dog for its lifetime could cost at least $14,000, and a larger model could come in around $20,000, it seems.
Does this sound right to you? Have you discovered ways of keeping these costs down without affecting your pet's quality of life?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: NorthernGirl | Sep 3, 2021 9:43:56 PM
If you have to think about what it will cost you to own a dog..... you can't afford it and should probably not be a pet owner (maybe get a gold fish). All dogs (depending on breed) have their own set of issues so do your research and make sure it fits your lifestyle and wallet. If you are on a tight budget do yourself a favour and don't invest in any purebred (mixed breeds make wonderful companions). I have 2 purebred dogs (and a cat) Bennie is a Golden Retriever and Sofie is a Yellow Lab and if I had to put a dollar amount on what I have spent on them in the past 4 years I am sure it would be a mortgage payment for most of you haha I would not change a thing...we love our furballs and we do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and happy. Cost has never been a concern as they are wonderful companions and we will go to the mat for them. My favorite line has always been "I love my dogs more then I like most people". ^.^
Posted by: Jim | Sep 4, 2021 5:16:25 PM
Are you saying that I am not a responsible pet owner cus I only spend 400 a year on my dog. My dog gets the utmost of care. The reason why her bills are so low is cus she gets the best care to begin with unlike yourself. She has never been sick or injured thus no reason to bring her to the vet. Except for her spring shots. She is almost 7 years old yet she is frequently mistaken as a puppy.
Posted by: Chad | Sep 4, 2021 7:38:58 PM
Kind of agree, not totally. I have an 85 pound German Shepherd. Costs about 90 a months for food. Treats and toys myabe 20-25 a month. Preventative care upto $965? Not even close. She's still a pup (year and a half) but after the first year we've only taken her to the vet for her booster shot. ($45) So that stat is a crock.
Grooming I spend about $65 every 10 weeks
Posted by: NorthernGirl | Sep 4, 2021 9:23:24 PM
Jim you are being a little sensitive....dear me ...I never said you or anyone else was being irresponsible.I just meant to say you never know what will come your way with your pet and if you do happen to get a dog that does get sick for whatever reason or ends up with some weird disease/cancer/tumours etc... that you are able to cover the cost without causing hardship to your pocket book. There are no guarantees and things happen. Please don't say "unlike myself"...goodness ask anybody who knows us they can't believe how well looked after and loved our dogs are. They get better medical care, attention, exercise and are fed better then most kids I know. Although our breeder came highly recommended to us our Lab Sofie was full of worms and very sick and it caused her to develop collitis (she is on a very expensive and special diet) and she is also allergic to all vaccinations because she developped auto immune due to mandatory vaccines. This is nothing we did to her it just is and the vet said most people would have put her to sleep. We can afford it and we love her so we work with her issues and she is leading a very happy life with us now (she will be 4 in September). Our Golden Retriever Bennie has arthritis in both from legs (elbow displesia) chronic ear infections/hot spots due to Spring and Fall allergies so to alleviate he under goes special cartefen shots every 3 months to help with his arthritis and also on a special diet to alleviate allergies. He just turned 3 and we found out 3 of the other pups from same litter suffer the same ailments.We did not plan for this they just are and thank goodness we can afford to care for them and give them a wonderful loving home at whatever cost. As I said you never know what you are going to get....you got lucky and got a healthy dog. I am very happy to hear that. Thankfully we can love our furballs and give them a good home even with all their health issues that were not caused by us. Just genetics. I also wish his grooming fees were cheaper but where I live average grooming prices start at $85 and he goes every 10 weeks. (I do their nails myself and proper brushing in between appointments/including brushing their teeth weekly and keep their ears clean). They have two 50 minute walks every day/ a 45 minute ball throwing session and swim every weekend in the summer months. We do the mountain trails in the winter months. Trust me we care for our animals and even with our busy lives we make plenty of time for them. They keep me active and feeling young :-) I meant no offense to anyone.
Posted by: Dopn | Sep 4, 2021 9:38:27 PM
One thing sticks out go to a country Vet rather than city and your cost will be 1/2 . Vets forn pets are way out to lunch on their pricing go to a good Vet that looks after cowsand horses they are much more reasonable and tend to tell you straight rather than having you spend hundreds for a lost cause . I have 3 big dogs and it costs approx 1500 a yaer for food and deworming, and odd porkypine quill.
Posted by: Beth | Sep 4, 2021 10:15:05 PM
I don't care about the costs of owning a pet or a dog for that matter if you were to equate that to having childern I bet the costs are even more when you factor in sending them to college and if they decide to live with theyre parents and not bother to get a job even though they are older. At least the dog or pet doesn't talk back or give you a problem
Posted by: jim | Sep 4, 2021 10:43:06 PM
hey are you calling me a irresponsible dog owner? Just because i only spend around 400 a year on my doggie. I don't have pricy vet bills cus I take good care of her in the first place. She has never been injured or sick.
Posted by: jim | Sep 4, 2021 10:56:46 PM
I get my dog groomed in the late spring cus she can handle the summer heat better. I don't have the air on all the time. In the winter it is the opposite and don't have the heat on all the time thus she needs her natural warm coat. I have a large coral reef as well and the costs are about the same as a small dog. A healthy dog in not an expensive proposition.
Posted by: no pets | Sep 5, 2021 10:36:55 AM
Beth, you are right. Pets don't talk back, generally.
However, I have two kids that I will have for the rest of my life, I"m hoping.
They are two great kids that I wouldn't trade for the world. Everyone around me tells me they are great also. However, I had to take the time to watch them and train them carefully, when they were toddlers (up to about 5 years old) to get them to be the wonderful young adults they are today. (Yes, I still watch their actions today as teens.)
Now, can I train pets this way? Yes, I can. However, my kids will way outlive any pets.
So, now I ask you, which is really more worth the work? Pets or kids?
Posted by: jim | Sep 5, 2021 5:32:55 PM
Pets I never even wanted a dowg. My irisposible rn ex girlfriend decided that she didn't want her anymore a year after I tried to talk her out of having this dawg.
Posted by: Bob | Sep 5, 2021 5:36:41 PM
Who cares!!! I already spend $3,000 per month on mortgage, $$1,500 on groceries, $$800 per month on car insurance for my family, $2,000 per month on property taxes, $550 for electricity, $700 for gasoline, etc. What my dog costs me is not even worth thinking about.
Posted by: JG | Sep 6, 2021 8:57:13 AM
I thnk pets are great! I've had many (cats and dogs). As for dog expense, I think the costs you have posted are much lower than actual. You have forgotten to put in the cost of the furniture,rugs,paint jobs,chewed up shoes.... you know what I mean pet owners. Let's not forget the chewed up car seats and the gas used to bring the animal for a walk when you want a diffrent route for a change of scenery. Then there is the cost of a vehicle (genrally larger) (house as well) which you can use to transport your pet. I can go on and on. Wow pets are expensive!! I still have one though!
Posted by: Tana | Sep 6, 2021 10:38:32 AM
Yes it will cost you that much if you buy designer foofoo mutts with a questionable pedigree of puppymill parents.
I've had quality purebred dogs my entire life and the one time we purchased outside a known breeder (not known to us directly) was the one time we had a medically challenged dog. Even with that medical condition the dog didn't cost us near that much. I estimate that the dog, feeding quality dog food and average (not including spa days or doggie day care for the dog which is just stupid IMO) shouldn't cost more than $500 per year TOPS!
Adding in costs to spoil the dog isn't the real cost of dog ownership. Gross over estimation of costs I think.
Posted by: ruth | Sep 6, 2021 2:24:52 PM
I adopted a puppy mill cutie 250 inclshots,spaying i took the time to learn how to trim her 0$,Itake the time to make her food weekly 50% off,I walk her,socialized her[Tons offriends neighbors to watch herwith her buddies and return the favor}0$and practice preventative medical measures so far in 3 yrsIve spent$600 thats 55 cents a day.If you dont have the time or cant make the effort you shouldnt have a dog or any other pet.it costs more for a cup of coffee!
Posted by: Katherine | Sep 6, 2021 8:52:52 PM
I've owned three dogs in the past twenty-two years. One required hospitalization during her lifetime. I won't lie.....it was expensive. But my vet allowed for payments to be made in installments which allowed me to continue with the treatments until she was well. I love my dogs. Wouldn't have done it any differently. But having said that.......they do require alot of time, money and energy which you have to be willing to give. Pets (dogs in particular) bring alot to our lives.....nobody but a dog owner can truly appreciate the value of having one in our lives!!
Posted by: CJ | Sep 6, 2021 10:49:55 PM
Pets are expensive, just like kids, cars, and life in general is expensive.
We have two greyhounds, and they cost us a fortune. We love them dearly, but it is outrageous, the pet industry and veterinarians are robbing us blind. 70 dollars for a bag of food that lasts us about 2.5 weeks between them. Thats over 1400 dollars in dog food alone. This is the biggest bag of a relatively good diet, but there are foods that are more than that. You can't even go into a pet store and buy a toy for under 15$ (atleast not one large enough for my dogs). I don't even want to know what we spend on grooming, vaccinations, bedding, cleaning products, boarding costs and all the extra stuff we buy because of our dogs. I'm sure it's up there.
Posted by: Puppy Lover | Sep 7, 2021 9:14:53 AM
My Maggie is the same as family. I treat her like my daughter. We make all our own raw dog food at home, and it costs about $1700 a year, treats, bones and other stuff considered too (she is 27 lbs, for reference). We have been lucky enough that she has not needed any medical care outside of spaying and vaccinations. If something did happen to her, well, that's why we have an emergency fund. If I had to sell my house to pay for medical care for her, I would, in a hearbeat, just as I would for my partner, family, or if I had kids. I think most everyone else who has posted will agree.
Posted by: Chris | Sep 7, 2021 11:14:45 AM
We adopted a dog from the SPCA who had been rescued from a puppy mill. He was already old and had never received adequate medical or dental care. We invested over a thousand dollars on treatments above and beyond the cost of adopting him and having him fixed. We would do it again in a heartbeat. Not only because he has brought us such joy over the past few years, but also because the thought of him being put down after such a depressing life is simply heartbreaking. We wanted to give him the best 'retirement' possible!
Posted by: kimmilil | Sep 11, 2021 12:20:38 AM
we have two large dogs and one has epilepsy . these figures for our household are quite close considering the frequent vet visit to check blood levels and then the added cost of the two medications every month etc. and ya know what ... it is soooooooo worth it. they are such incredible comanions that no matter what the cost I would pay it .... and do :) ps we have a cat too who recently had an expensive surgery done to save his life . He is about 12 and has also been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism so even more expense whatever just a little extra overtime ... :)
Posted by: Pug Lover | Sep 11, 2021 7:50:25 PM
Owning a pet is very expensive. Aside from the normal yearly/day-to-day costs my dog got sick and cost a fortune. I had to pay a vet to see the dog, set up the x-ray machine, take the x-ray, and finally to read the x-ray results to me. That was just one of the many tests they put my dog through to try to figure out why she is sick. I would definitly suggest pet insurance for anyone buying a dog! But having my dogs around does make life more enjoyable :)