Pages Navigation Menu


The Unexpected Average Cost of Owning a Dog in the First Year

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015 in Blog, My Favorite Things

Most people underestimate the average cost of owning a dog, especially in the first year. The upfront costs can quickly pile up and overwhelm you if you’re not prepared.

Puppies have a mysterious power over us. One look into their wet, doughy eyes and all sense of rational thinking and reason are thrown to the wind. Checks quickly tear from their captive books, credit cards swipe furiously through machines, and we cuddle and laugh all the way home, happy as can be. It’s a great feeling–until reality sets in.

You go to the pet store, you go to the vet, you go to the groomer, and then you take a look at your checking account. Whoa. Didn’t expect that to happen, right?

The average cost of owning a dog is not something many people take into account when they lay their eyes on a puppy. It’s just too darn cute to put a price tag on, we think. Do yourself a favor and don’t let your emotions influence your decision to buy a dog, at least not the majority share of it. Owning a dog is a heavy investment, so you should prepare a budget plan and take into account every upfront cost.

We put together a simple guide to preparing yourself for the average cost of owning a dog, specifically in the first year. Too many times have we seen someone bring home a puppy only considering the cost of food and proper vaccines. The actual cost is much more complex, and we are here to show you why. Keep reading for our breakdown of the upfront costs and what to expect in the future.

Expect the unexpected: the average cost of owning a dog in the first year.

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to point out the many different variables that can influence the average cost of owning a dog. Where you live, the type and size of the dog, what brands of food you choose, what illnesses your dog is prone to developing–these all play a large role in the overall expense. According to the ASPCA, the average cost of owning a dog for the first year can go from $1,300 to above $1,800. That’s no figure to ignore.

Now here’s the good news: not all these costs will carry over into following years. In fact, if you keep your dog healthy and safe, the average first-year figure can be nearly cut in half. Below we’ve broken down the costs into two sections. Combining these two sections together will give you a full picture of the first-year expenses; the annual cost section will give you an idea for the years after.

First-year upfront costs:

  • Adoption/store purchase = $200 – $2,000
  • Spay/neuter procedure = $190 – $220
  • Deworming, blood tests, microchip = $70
  • Leash/collar = $25 – $35
  • Crate = $35 – $125
  • Training class = $110
  • Initial grooming (for long haired dogs) = $260 – $400
  • Food and water bowls = $10 – $40
  • Doggy bed = $25 – $100
  • Grooming tools = $20 – $120

Annual costs:

  • Food = $120 – $500
  • Recurring medical exams = $210 – $260
  • Toys/treats = $40 – $75
  • Licensing = $15
  • Health insurance = $225
  • Grooming = $50 – $400
  • Teeth cleaning = $60 – $200

As you can see, the average cost of owning a dog is not cheap. Not all of these variables will apply to your situation (maybe you have a small dog with short fur), but this list is something to consider.

Avoid a financial squeeze by preparing yourself with a responsible budget plan.

When you do end up adopting that adorable pup, don’t you want to provide everything you can for it? That’s why it’s important to understand the costs and plan accordingly. You should be able to make annual appointments with your veterinarian to keep your dog healthy, at the very least.

Being able to afford health insurance coverage for your dog is also important, for you and your pet. Analyze these figures above before you get sucked into the gooey-eyed, doughy-faced, crazy adorable puppy realm of irrational thinking.

Add Pet Insurance to your homeowners policy so you’ll never need to worry about an unexpected vet bill, or worse, a treatment that’s way out of budget for your best friend.

Read More

Call Toll-Free 1-800-322-0160