Lifetime Cost of Owning a Dog
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Worksheet: Estimate The Cost of Owning a Dog

The love we have for our furry companions is priceless, but it’s important to budget appropriately for their care. According to Rover, the average cost of owning a dog is between $650 to $2,115 a year, but that actual cost varies widely depending on the dog’s size, age, breed and health. If you already have a dog or are thinking of getting one, our guide can help you budget for their care, including the senior years when unexpected healthcare costs can come up. Use our worksheet to estimate the cost of owning a dog during its lifetime. 

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The Average Lifetime Cost of Owning a Dog
Worksheet: Estimate the Lifetime Cost of Owning a Dog
Upfront Costs of Getting a Dog
The Most Expensive Medical Procedures for Dogs

The Average Lifetime Cost of Owning a Dog

In a recent poll by the PDSA, 98 percent of pet guardians underestimated the cost of taking care of a dog throughout its lifetime. Around 12% expected it to cost only $644. The majority of estimated costs wouldn’t exceed $6,445.

In reality, the lifetime costs of owning a dog exceed these estimates by nearly 50%. The average annual cost of a dog’s basic needs is $1,380, and the average dog lives around 15 years, bringing the average lifetime total to $16,560.

The Benefits of Owning a Dog

This is a lot of money, but most agree the benefits of owning a dog are worth it. Studies show that having a dog comes with health benefits for the guardian. Dogs encourage us to be more active, provide emotional support and companionship, lower stress, and can lead to lower blood pressure and less risk of heart disease.

Worksheet: Estimate the Lifetime Cost of Owning a Dog

Check out the free worksheet! Fill in your pet’s data to estimate how much you currently spend on your dog. Based on their current age and life expectancy, we will calculate how much you will spend on your pet during its lifetime.

Where Does The Money Go?

Costs will vary depending on your dog’s size, breed, and general health. In addition to essential expenses like food and supplies, extras and medical expenses can quickly inflate the total by thousands of dollars. So, where does the money go? 

We broke expenses down by frequency and average high and low totals. Costs vary widely, so make sure to check these numbers against the services and products available in your area.

Average Dog Spending By Category (Monthly, Annual, and One-Time or Infrequent Expenses) 

Monthly ExpensesAmount/Frequency
Food and Treats$16 to $400 per month
Pet Rent$10 to $50 per month
Dog Walker$10 to $30 per walk
Pet Insurance$50 to $200+ per month
Mediations and Vitamins$10 to $100 per month
Poop Bags$5 to $10 per month
Annual ExpensesAmount/Frequency
Preventative Healthcare$220 – $700+ per year
Licensing$10 to $20 per year
Boarding$20 to $50 per day
Professional Grooming$30 to $90+ per groom
Collar/HarnessCollar $10 to $50
Harness $15 to $50
LeashLeash $10 to $50
Toys$30 to $75+ per year
One-Time/Infrequent ExpensesAmount/Frequency
Adoption FeesUp to $250 (one-time fee)
Spay and Neuter CostsNeutering $45 to $250
Spaying $70 to $250
Crate and Bedding$15 to $300
ID Tags$5 to $10
Jackets, Booties etc. $10 to $100+
Emergency Healthcare$650 to $8,000+ per surgery
$500 to $2,000+ for imaging
$2,000 to $7,000 for radiation
End of Life Care$50 to $100 for Euthanasia
$50 to $150 for Cremation
Up to $1,000 Pet Cemetery Burial

Sources: Chewy.com, Cornell University, GoPetPlan, Apartment Guide, Cesar’s Way, Daily Paws, Cost Helper, The Nest, Furrever Memorials, Fortunly

The Upfront Costs of Getting a New Dog

When you first get your dog, you’ll need to have the money upfront to cover various expenses like adoption fees and supplies.  

Adoption or Purchase Fees

Adoption fees usually cost around $250 and cover your pet’s first round of vaccinations and spay and neuter expenses. If you purchase your pet, healthcare costs may not be covered, and you should expect to pay much more, especially if you buy from a breeder. 

Collar, Leash and Harness

A high-quality collar, harness, and leash can last for a long time. For example, a leather set could last the  There is no specified length of time, but you should replace them if they show signs of damage or too much wear. 

Food Bowls, Toys, Bedding, and Crate

Prepare your space for your new pet by purchasing bowls, toys, bedding, a crate, and anything else they may need to feel at home. Depending on the size and age of your dog, you might need to replace these items to accommodate your dog’s growth. Toys may only last a few months, but food bowls, bedding, and a crate should last a lifetime once your pet is fully grown.

Monthly and Annual Expenses

Food and Treats

Kibble is the most inexpensive type of dog food. It typically costs 2.19 per lb. Raw food formulas and special foods for allergies and medical needs can cost much more. Food subscription services like Farmer’s Dog can cost as much as $5 to $9 per day, depending on your dog’s weight.

Pet Rent

Many landlords are happy to welcome pets but will charge pet rent per animal. On average, pet rent for dogs costs $10 to $50 per month, depending on your dog’s size. 

Dog Walker and Vacation Boarding

Dog walking and vacation boarding have grown in popularity over the past few years. Apps like Wag and Rover make it easier than ever to find caretakers for your dog. The service often makes it easier for busy people to have dogs, but the expense does add up. Daily dog walking can cost $10 to $30 per walk (thousands of dollars per year.) Boarding will cost you around $50 per day. 

Pet Insurance 

Only 2.1% of pets in the US are covered by insurance. However, insurance can be an affordable addition to your pet budget, especially if you get a policy while your dog is young. Most policies don’t cover preexisting conditions, have waiting periods, and cost more if your dog’s breed is prone to specific health conditions. These are some of the most expensive dog breeds

Preventative Healthcare

Dog’s should see a vet for preventative healthcare several times a year. This includes physical exams, fecal tests, and vaccination boosters. The combined cost of annual wellness exams throughout the year is around $200 to $700, depending on your location and your dog’s health.

Licensing

Most cities and counties require dogs to be licensed. Registering your pet with a local authority requires proof of vaccinations and costs around $10 per year. You can usually register your pet through your veterinarian. 

Professional Grooming

Dogs that require frequent grooming may need it every 4 to 6 weeks or every 3 to 4 months, depending on fur type and condition. Some dogs, like short hairs, may not need professional grooming but should be bathed once a month at home or a self-serve stall available at most pet stores for around $10.

One-Time or Infrequent Expenses

This category includes small expenses like ID tags and more substantial expenses like emergency medical and end-of-life care. 

Emergency Healthcare

Medical emergencies are scary and expensive. When a dog requires emergency care, the costs can be overwhelming for pet guardians. Surgeries, imaging, and other treatments can cost thousands of dollars, and most emergency vet centers require payment upfront. 

The Most Expensive Dog Procedures

  1. Dental Emergencies: $1,000 or more
  2. Gastrointestinal Obstruction: Up to $3,000
  3. ACL and CCL surgery cost: $1,000 to $3,000 per knee
  4. Hip Replacement: $3,500 to $7,000 per hip
  5. Dog cataract surgery cost: $2,600 to $4,000
  6. Cancer Treatment: $500 to $10,000 or more

Sources: Finance Buzz, Healthy Paws, The Canine Journal

End of Life Care

As a dog ages, its health may decline, so it’s essential to make decisions about palliative care. Many guardians monitor the qualify of life of their senior dogs and will choose euthanasia when the time is right. 

Euthanasia can be performed at most veterinary clinics. There are also at-home options where a vet will come to you. After your dog passes, you may decide to cremate them or pay for burial in a pet cemetery.

Update Your Budget to Plan for Your Dog’s Lifetime Costs

If you have a dog or plan to get one, plan ahead for their care. You can update your budget spreadsheet to include provisions for your dog and create an emergency fund to help cover unexpected expenses like emergency vet bills.

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