How much is a dog worth? They're priceless. But that doesn't mean the reality of how much money you have to spend to keep them in any safe or enjoyable way can't interfere with your ability to continue taking care of them. To be sure you can provide a good home to a dog and maintain that good home throughout their lifetime, you need to know the cost of owning a dog and calculate how reasonable it is for you to not just buy a dog, but take care of it through its lifetime. Instead of ruling out getting a dog at all, because that's terribly sad, you could discover you can sustainably afford a certain dog.
Know the Cost of Owning a Dog
How much do dogs cost a year?
The cost of owning a dog changes at different stages.
The first year contains the initial cost of the dog, the costs of buying new items for them, and vet expenses.
The middle years are pretty much maintenance unless the dog becomes ill or has an injury and requires emergency vet care.
As the dog ages, the likelihood of emergency vet care or routine care for health problems increases. They may begin to need special diets or health aids. You also may not be able to leave them alone without a sitter.
Let's get into the details.
Average first year costs range from over $1k to almost $5k, depending on many factors.
The first year cost of owning a dogincludes the price of a dog. This could be as low as $50 if you adopt the dog from a shelter or over $1k, if you purchase certain dog breeds from reputable breeders. If you get a special deal on the adoption, get a dog from someone you know, or find a stray dog, then there may be no initial cost.
You will also have to pay for:
- a dog bed
- a crate
- pet bowls
- poop bags
- high-quality meat-based food
- at least one vet visit
- a pet gate
The average ongoing yearly cost of owning a dog is between $1k and $3k, which breaks down into the monthly cost of owning a dog of $80 to $300 on average.
Monthly expenses include such recurring costs as dog food, toys, poop bags, heartworm and flea preventions, and insurance payments as mentioned above as well as routine grooming costs and potential dental cleanings.
Many dogs require regular grooming to look nice and stay healthy. This can add $20 to $100 or more to your monthly expenses, unless your dog doesn't need to go to the groomer every month. Some don't.
Additional costs to be prepared for
These things are not part of the monthly expectations of owning a dog, but they are things that a dog owner will likely experience and need to account for when considering the lifetime cost of a dog.
Repair and replacement
Dogs are known for messing things up. Puppies, poorly trained, unhappy, anxious, depressed, and sick dogs are more likely to do this than others.
You may have to spend money on carpet cleaning, home repair, shoe and underwear replacement, furniture replacement, and breakable object replacement that can't be figured into a monthly budget but could add some considerable expense.
There will be times when you need to pay for a pet sitter or dog walker. You may regularly need someone to do this so you can work, in which case, it would become a monthly expense.
If you board your dog so you can take care of things you need and want to do, this will cost you money. Doggy daycares are wonderful, but do add to your pet cost.
Dog parks charge fees so they can offer their great services. If you want to make use of a dog park, this will become part of your yearly dog expense.
Landlords charge additional fees for pets to cover the likely damage and irritation to neighbors that can come about when a tenant has a pet. This may become a monthly cost if it is calculated into your rent.
Emergency vet visits
Thankfully, the need for emergency vet visits doesn't happen regularly, but they can happen, and they pack a wallop on your wallet, so you have to consider them. Your dog may be injured and need emergency care. Or they may suddenly come down with a serious illness that is a medical emergency. Thankfully, you can call your vet's office for an emergency number or have an emergency number written down ahead of time, so your dog can always be seen when they need it. But this is an additional expense. In fact, emergency vet care often costs more than scheduled vet care or care during business hours. Pet insurance helps cover vet expenses, so it's a great thing to have, but there are copays like with human insurance to consider.
Chronic illnesses and aging
Chronic illnesses and aging can require regular vet visits, medications, special diets, and equipment that your average dog doesn't. Again, pet insurance can help with these costs, but it doesn't cover all of them, so you will pay for the insurance and copay.
Screenings for breed-specific diseases
Certain dog breeds are more likely to develop specific conditions and some of these conditions are so life-threatening or detrimental to the dog's wellbeing that regular screening is crucial. This will add to your vet expenses throughout your dog's lifetime.
You may also need to account for:
- dog licenses
- car safety harnesses
- airline-approved crates (should you want to travel with your dog)
- pet passports
- dog life jacket
- clothes you want to buy your dog
- beach toys
- GPS trackers
- pet security cameras
Considering pet insurance cost
Pet insurance could worsen your budget or mean the difference between being able to afford to take care of your pet even during the hard times.
Pet insurance cost ranges from around $10 a month to more than $100 a month, depending on various factors. The average cost is about $40.
The average cost of a vet visit for dog owners ranges from $50 to $400. Surgeries can cost thousands of dollars, and if a dog has to stay in the ICU, it will cost hundreds of dollars a night.
Any dog breed prone to certain genetic diseases will be more likely for you to get your money's worth out of pet insurance because of the screenings and to pay for treatments should they develop the ailment.
Choosing pet insurance requires that you weigh out your budget, the recurring costs, the potential costs in an emergency, how detrimental both of those costs will be to you, and how likely your dog is to need more than average vet care to determine whether to and when to get pet insurance.
Choose the Right Dog
The price of owning a dog varies a lot
You may have noticed the range between the costs, and the fact that these estimates are based on average expenditure. Your experience may be on the lower or higher end or be even less or more costly than the average.
The estimated cost of owning a dog rests on two points:
- the needs of the individual dog (largely dependent on breed and size)
- your plans for pet ownership
Some people want to buy scads of everything for their dogs and the most expensive of everything. This is a lovely idea, but it does greatly raise the cost of owning a dog. Depending on your budget, this expectation may not be possible.
You may not want to travel with your dog, crate train them, or buy them clothes, so any expenses in this area will not apply to you.
What you want to buy for your pet and how much you spend on it can make a big difference in cost, particularly the monthly ones, which add up to yearly costs. This doesn't mean you should skimp on food. Plan to invest in at least mid-grade, meat-based foods.
Generally, the larger the dog, the more expensive they are. They literally eat more food and need bigger supplies. Over the course of their lifetime, their overall cost may be lower, because generally they don't live as long as smaller dogs, but each month and year, the average large dog will cost more than your average small dog.
The cost of just purchasing a purebred dog depends greatly on the breed. Some are a few hundred dollars while others cost thousands. Know the average rate for the breed you're considering to ensure you are not being charged too much or too little. Too little probably means the breeder is running an unsafe breeding business and you'll end up with an unhealthy dog. Mixed breed dogs are actually less likely to develop genetic conditions that cost a lot in vet expenses. This is a financial benefit to adopting a mixed breed.
Different breeds have vastly different grooming requirements. Some never have to go to a groomer and require just a brush and the occasional bath, while others will need extensive grooming and maintenance.
Research to find the right dog
Learn which dog breeds meet your desires for appearance, temperament, maintenance, and costs. There is a lot of variety out there and a lot to consider, so it may take some time.
You might ask people who know a lot about dog breeds, or who have a dog when they have a similar budget to yours for advice to speed up your research.
The least expensive dogs are generally small breeds that are not prone to genetic health conditions and have short, easily maintained coats. Of course, this doesn't guarantee they won't develop a chronic illness or get injured, but your regular expenditure will be kept low so you can better afford the emergencies.
Gobankingrates.com lists the 30 least expensive dog breeds, which shows you the great variety you can choose from. And cheatsheet.com details the 7 most expensive and least expensive dog breeds, including mixed breeds.
Once you've picked out some breeds you are interested in, make a rough estimate of how much it should cost to care for these dogs based on their needs and your plans.
Before bringing the new dog home, try the costs on for size. Save the amount you estimate the dog will cost per month in a savings account, separate checking account, or piggy bank. Do this for several months to see how difficult it is for you. If it's tight right now, you may notice changes you might could make to improve the situation. Remember that if you want to take care of your dog throughout its life, you'll have to commit to this cost for at least 10 years, maybe 15 or more.
This post is not meant to discourage poor people from getting dogs. You can probably afford a mixed breed, particularly a small one, or a small purebred without likelihood for genetic conditions, with minimal grooming needs. Remember you can adopt purebred dogs from shelters. They are not immune to the reasons dogs end up with no home. Do try to plan for the potential for emergency expenditure, save up the money, prioritize the purchase of pet insurance, or determine someone you could borrow money from. Poor families can sometimes receive reduced or forgiven vet care in emergencies, but it isn't best to count on it.
How CBD Oil Can Reduce the Cost of Owning a Dog?
CBD oil promises a wide variety of health benefits, some of which could help you avoid costly treatments, medicines, and equipment, the need to stay home from work or pay for a sitter to take care of your dog, and more vet visits.
Ways CBD oil might shorten and improve dog illnesses:
- reducing pain
- decreasing inflammation
- soothing anxiety
- lessening depression
- reducing the number and severity of seizures
- killing cancer
- replacing medications with detrimental side effects
- alleviating side effects of needed medications
You may not be able to leave an anxious, depressed, or sick dog home alone and have to take time from work. Or they may become so depressed or anxious that they stop eating and require vet care or need to be prescribed an antidepressant. Many people give their dogs CBD oil to reduce anxiety and depression and find that it works and has no or virtually no side effects.
Your sick or injured dog may require extended care, additional vet visits, and more assistance depending on the severity of their illness. If you can reduce their pain, limited mobility, or the length or severity of their illness, they will suffer less and everyone's life and your budget can return to normal sooner or stay more normal. For instance, dogs with arthritis and other mobility-decreasing diseases, sadly lose their quality of life and require a great deal of care from you, water therapy, mobility aids, and vet care. CBD oil has been touted as a nearly miraculous way to improve the wellbeing of these dogs, helping them retain their mobility and vitality longer.
You've probably heard about medical marijuana. Well, CBD oil shares many of the benefits, and even promises more effectiveness, because it shares a common beneficial substance, cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is commonly extracted from the hemp plant because hemp is naturally very high in cannabidiol and low in THC, the "high"-inducing chemical in marijuana.
There is a reason why cannabidiol can be so beneficial to the body. Scientists have discovered that humans and pets have an endocannabinoid system that creates and uses its own cannabinoids. This system consists of cannabinoid receptors connected to many of the body's crucial organs, making it a big part of the homeostasis of the body. External cannabinoids, like cannabidiol, work like the body's own cannabinoids, helping it make up for deficiencies or get a boost in times of trouble. It's a similar concept to how antidepressants work, helping important chemicals work as they should, only it's natural and gentle.
Unfortunately, CBD oil has not received general FDA approval yet. It's simply too soon, though an epilepsy drug using CBD oil has been approved, because of the dire need for cannabidiol's unique benefits for seizures. At this time, no one can guarantee the effectiveness of CBD oil, but it is exciting scientists in studies and users are reporting miraculous changes in their dogs. It is definitely worth a shot, particularly when a traditional medication proves ineffective or too risky. You can even use CBD oil with traditional medications to make them more tolerable.
Innovations from Innovet
If your pet is struggling with an illness or you have a pet ownership obstacle that no current methods fix, contact us to see if we can't find a solution. We love innovating for pets and their owners. Should you end up looking for solutions to your dog's mental or physical health, whether they are a puppy, young dog, or senior dog, know that there is an extremely promising, natural, gentle option to improve their life and get everyone at a more normal state. On a completely practical note, the least interesting but nonetheless important one, using CBD oil to improve their condition faster or better can lessen the cost of owning a dog with health concerns so you can take better care of them. We create scientifically-backed CBD oil tinctures, capsules, crunchy treats, soft treats, and mobility chews as well as other ingenious and eco-friendly solutions to pet ownership challenges and hard-to-treat pet ailments.