The Cost of Owning a Dog

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There has been a surge in dog adoptions during the pandemic with more people staying home, but many people don’t actually consider how much it costs to own a dog. 

You’ve probably heard that pets are costly. While it’s true that dog care requires an investment, it is essential to grasp the specifics of dog care costs. However, you may believe that dogs are inexpensive. It’s all relative when it comes to things like the expense of dog care.

Below we will detail the annual cost of pet ownership like medical costs, various insurance needs with a dog, like dog bite insurance, and supplies.

Can I afford a dog?

The cost of having a dog varies considerably based on the breed, where you live, potential health issues, and other variables. After the initial costs of adopting a dog and purchasing all the necessary equipment, the monthly cost of a dog might range from $20 to $200. 

However, these estimates are for basic expenses only and don’t include any additional fees you may incur, such as dog walking or pet sitting, training your dog, or emergency vet visits.

What are the initial costs of owning a dog?

There might be a lot of upfront costs when you initially buy a dog. It may appear overwhelming at first, but it is all about acclimating your new puppy to their new family. The overall cost of these one-time expenses is usually between $500 to $3,000, depending on whether you stick to the fundamentals or spend on more expensive necessities. 

Adoption fees vary between $20 and $600 but can quickly go into the hundreds and thousands if you choose to buy a puppy from a breeder. 

No matter where your puppy comes from, if they haven’t been spayed or neutered, the procedure can cost anywhere between $30 and $500. However, if you adopt a dog, the adoption cost frequently includes a spay or neuter. 

Vaccinations are also reasonably necessary for pups, and they generally cost $65-$100. Another essential cost for the well-being of your pup is flea and tick treatment, which may cost $30-$300. 

Pet licenses and microchips are used to register yourself as the owner in case someone decides to take your pup, or he runs away. The costs are around $10 and $50 each.

What are the costs of maintaining and upkeeping a dog?

You’ll need the following items to make your new dog happy at home: 

  • A collar or harness ($3-$60)
  • A leash ($8-$50)
  • A crate ($30-$200)
  • A bed ($5-$300)
  • Food and water bowls ($5-$60)
  • Poop bags ($3-$12)
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Toys and treats are also essential components of every puppy’s life and may range in price from $5 to $200 for toys and $5 to $30 for treats. Stain and odor removers and training pads are essential when potty training your pup, and these costs range from $5 to $50. 

Since dogs tend to get bad breath sometimes, you’ll probably want to pick up some teeth-care goods, such as dental chews, which range in price from $5 to $20. The typical cost of keeping your house and dog smelling nice can also vary, with dog shampoo and brushes ranging from $5 to $30.

Finally, make sure you’re prepared for any additional immediate medical costs your new dog may require, which may range between $100 and $500 for new pet owners.

The Annual Costs of Owning a Dog

Once you’ve covered the initial one-time costs of settling your puppy into their new home, there are additional annual expenses to consider, which range from $500 to $2,500 each year on average. 

Depending on the quality and how much your dog consumes, food expenses might range from $200 to $2,000 each year. 

Routine vet appointments are required and cost an average of $300 per year. Flea and tick control (average $30-$300) and heartworm prevention (average $20-$150) are two more yearly expenses to consider. 

Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy with regular maintenance and dental chews costs $50-$190 each year.

Do I need insurance for my dog?

Healthcare fees are one of the most significant unknown costs associated with owning a dog. Budgeting for pet mishaps or significant health issues that might occur at any time is very hard.

You can’t anticipate when or how your pets will become ill or how much it will cost. However, pet insurance protects you against unanticipated veterinary expenses. 

Though many pet owners opt to pay for their pet’s medical bills out of pocket, an emergency bill can cost anywhere from $10 to $3,000. Many people can’t pay out of pocket for a bill that reaches the high hundreds. 

Plus, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars for an emergency vet bill just to find out you simply have a stressed dog can be infuriating, especially when the bill could have been covered by pet insurance that costs $10 or $30 a month. 

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An adequate amount of pet insurance coverage might literally save your pup’s life and your life’s savings.

The cost of pet insurance varies greatly. Prices can be as little as $10 per month, but some go as high as $100 per month, depending on your pet’s breed, age, location, and the deductible, reimbursement rate, and payment limitations you select.

Considerations for Adopting a Dog During a Pandemic

Pet adoptions have increased throughout the pandemic due to people spending more time at home because of COVID-19. 

Adding a new puppy to your family may be both thrilling and enchanting. The first few weeks of assimilating a puppy into your family are all about getting to know one another, creating limits, and finding a balance. 

Animals, like humans, have complex cognitive and emotional processes. One of the most painfully tricky health concerns for dogs is being moved inadvertently due to a crisis and having to create a new home and connections. 

This is a difficult period for household pets. Here are a few things to think about if you’ve recently adopted a dog during the pandemic:

  • Animals perceive the world through smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing. Some or all of these are disrupted when relocating to a new house and take time and inspection to rebuild a sense of belonging.
  • Include realistic expectations for the amount of time and patience required for each dog or cat to get used to a new home and develop familiarity and trust with their immediate surroundings and family members. 
  • Establish a defined routine and timetable that enhances the individual’s ability to regulate and the pet’s sense of safety and well-being. 
  • Create chances for your new family member to become acquainted with their surroundings, activities, and other people. 
  • Our pets experience a broad spectrum of emotions.

As a general rule, you should expect your dog to suffer feelings of helplessness, sadness, and anxiety due to being re-homed or freshly adopted. Sometimes dogs convey this in their own distinct manners. 

A dog in a new home, for example, may become sensitive to new noises and smells—for instance, they may yelp if they hear voices or footsteps inside. Empathy will benefit your puppy as they acclimate to their new beginning with you and your family.

Imani Francies writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, She enjoys helping dog owners find the best pet insurance policy so they can best plan financially to own a dog.