Adding a new four-legged family member can be an exciting adventure, but it’s not all fun and games. Ensuring that you’re financially prepared before bringing home a new puppy can help make the first year of dog ownership much easier on the family. From the cost of puppy shots to the price tag associated with toys and pee pads, puppies are far from cheap, and the expenses from the first year of puppy ownership can add up to thousands of dollars.
The Cost to Own a Dog
In 2021, $123.6 billion was spent on pets in the U.S. alone, though costs may vary based on size, breed, and average lifespan. With that in mind, according to PetPlace, the lifetime costs of owning a dog are as follows:
Small to medium-sized dogs:
- First-year: $740 to $1,325
- Estimated annual costs after that: $500 to $875
- Total estimated lifetime cost: $7,240 to $12,700
- First-year: $1,020 to $1,825
- Estimated annual costs after that: $690 to $875
- Total estimated lifetime cost: $5,850 to $7,950
Factors Affecting the Annual Cost to Own a Dog
How much does it cost to own a dog? The main expenses for your new puppy savings account are pretty straightforward.
Initial Puppy Costs:
What is the average cost of pet care? Whether you’re purchasing your puppy from a breeder or looking to adopt through the AKC Rescue Network, the fee for your new dog will play a role in the overall cost for the first year. Breeders work hard to produce healthy, breed-standard puppies that are exemplary in physical traits and temperament. However, the cost of your new puppy reflects a breeder’s time, resources, and commitment and can cost thousands of dollars.
Grooming can be necessary every few weeks at a professional groomer or an easy task you can tackle independently. Choosing a breed of dog that matches the level of grooming you’re willing to provide is essential to keep your budget in check and your dog looking their best. If you aren’t interested in handing over $100 or more monthly for professional grooming, pick a breed that requires less maintenance. In addition, teaching your dog to let you trim their nails can help cut down on extra grooming costs.
The cost of dog food not only depends on the type and brand you choose to feed, but also on the size of your dog and how much you need to feed them! Depending on all these factors, the average cost of feeding your puppy ranges between $300-$1,500 per year.
If you enroll your puppy in a training class, you can expect to spend about $20-$40 a session. These classes can be a great way to socialize your puppy and teach them to behave as good citizens in public and at home.
Doggy Daycare, Boarding, or Pet Sitting:
A dog walker or pet sitter is valuable to your dog’s inner circle. In addition, socializing your puppy or dog with someone new is an integral part of enrichment. So, even if you work from home or need a break, it’s a good idea to budget for a pet sitter. Dog walking is an essential budget item as well.
As your puppy gets older, you may leave them at a boarding facility when you go out of town or enroll them in a doggy daycare class to keep them busy and happy during the day. The costs of these services changes based on location.
Dog Treats, Toys, Crate:
A fun expense associated with bringing home a new puppy is the shopping spree to purchase new puppy essentials! Crates or beds can cost anywhere between $20 and a few hundred dollars, depending on your chosen style. Also, treats and toys can quickly run up the cost of dog ownership, so ensure you choose healthy treats and safe toys for your pup!
It’s important to take your puppy for their first veterinary visit shortly after bringing them home. This first visit should kick off the annual exams that occur throughout your dog’s life. The average cost of veterinary care for your puppy during their first year ranges from $100 to $500. It includes the core vaccinations they’ll need, like canine parvovirus, canine hepatitis, and rabies.
You can save a few dollars on office fees by taking advantage of the AKC Veterinary Network Certificate Program, which provides a complimentary vet visit for dogs newly registered or listed with the American Kennel Club.
Adult dogs across all dog breeds may need to see the emergency vet, but puppies are often taken for a sudden illness or even foreign body removal surgery. Pet owners must consider initial expenses associated with overall pet healthcare if they are trying to determine the cost of owning a dog. There are more than a few surprises when it comes to pet ownership.
Spaying or Neutering:
Spaying or neutering a dog may cost between $90 to $200 depending on several factors, including veterinary costs in your area, size, age, and breed. There are low-cost spay and neuter clinics held throughout the U.S. that offer the service at discounted prices.
Your veterinarian will recommend flea, tick, and heartworm preventive medication to keep your puppy feeling their best! Flea, tick, and heartworm meds can range from $200 to $300 per year. Considering that the cost of treating heartworms starts at $400 and the money used to treat a flea infestation often costs far more, preventive treatment is the least expensive option to keep your pet healthy. Some pet insurance plans even reimburse for this type of care.
Enrolling your new puppy in a pet insurance plan can save you money down the road. Pet insurance offers reimbursement for eligible accidents, illnesses, and more! Once your puppy is enrolled, you can rest easy knowing that if an incident occurs that results in a large veterinary bill, you can choose the best treatment option for your dog without worrying about the cost. In addition, dogs newly registered or listed with the AKC can take advantage of an initial 30 days of accident and illness pet insurance coverage (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) with their registration. This is a great way to try out pet insurance and discover the many benefits of enrolling your puppy!
Budget for the Cost of a Puppy
While it may seem like the first year of dog ownership is pricey, planning and budgeting for your new pet can allow you to focus more on enjoying their adorable puppy antics. Things like annual veterinary visits, preventive medication, and enrolling in pet insurance can help protect your dog from preventable illnesses and unexpected vet bills.
You can’t put a price on the memories you and your dog will create over the next decade or more!