How Much Should you Budget Annually for Your Dog?

Dog on pile of money shows how much you should budget for your dog

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How much you budget annually for your annually will depend on several factors. After the initial payment for the dog and the ensuing trip to the vet, the recurring costs can be mostly laid out on paper. However, owning a dog always comes with surprises. Extra vet trips or learning that your dog needs a special diet or needing to replace items more frequently because your dog is an aggressive chewer can all quickly double or triple the “estimated” cost of owning a dog.

So, it’s always a good idea to have an emergency/extras fund for your dog. That way when the unexpected expenses happen, they won’t be as hard to swallow.

Here’s a breakdown of the things you should include as you guess the annual cost of your dog.

Food

Your dog will need a good food and water dish. This is usually a one time cost if you purchase a reliable metal bowl.

Food costs depend on a few factors. First, how big is your dog? A large dog may go through a $50 dollar bag of food in less than a month while a small dog may take several months to eat the same amount of food.

Quality is another factor that should be accounted for. Just like with humans, the quality of food our pets eat contributes greatly to their health. You may think you’re saving money by buying the cheapest food you can buy, but you’ll probably end up paying more in the long run when your dog’s health decreases.

Moist food costs a bit more than dry food. Some people feed their dogs both. Some people feed their dogs raw diets. Dry food, even high-quality dry food, is usually the most cost friendly form of food.

I typically go through about two $50 dollar bags of food for my two huskies a month. Which adds up to about 1,200 a year.

Veterinarian

After the initial veterinarian visits for your new puppy, you should budget for scheduled visits throughout the year and yearly dental treatments. Dogs need vaccines annually and they need to be wormed and checked for fleas.

You’ll also probably want to neuter or spay your dog at some point.

It doesn’t hurt to add some extra emergency money into the vet budget in case of emergency. Dogs usually require extra vet visits as they age and develop health problems. If your dog needs medications or special diets as they age, your cost will increase quickly.

Vet appointments and services can vary greatly based on not only your vet and their set prices, but also by the size of your dog. I know that if I had smaller dogs it would cost less to have their teeth cleaned. For my yearly vet appointments and cleanings for two dogs, I spend a little under $1,000 a year.

Grooming

Grooming costs vary greatly between breeds. Some dogs require very little grooming, and some dogs require weekly grooming. You can also choose to DIY your dog’s grooming, or pay a professional to keep them looking fresh.

Grooming typically includes baths, nail trims, brushing, haircuts, and teeth brushing. Doing a lot of this yourself will save you quite a bit.

Again, the cost to take a dog to the groomer is a huge range based on the type of dog and also the groomer’s set costs, but on average people usually spend around $500/year per dog on grooming needs.

My huskies are pretty cheap when it comes to grooming. They are active enough that I don’t really have to worry about their nails, they don’t require hair cuts or baths very frequently, and I brush their teeth myself as well. So, I’d say I easily spend less than $100 a year for both of them.

Travel expenses

Depending on your lifestyle, you might need to budget for travel expenses. This can be one of the trickiest parts about owning a dog, finding a person to house site or a boarding place to watch them. Many people and places charge around $30 to $50 dollars a night to watch your dog. Depending on how often you’re gone, this could quickly add hundreds to the cost of owning your dog each year.

The Necessities

Even if you’re trying to keep things as basic as possible with your pet dog, there are still some expenses that really can’t be helped. Your dog will need a collar, dog tags, a microchip in case they get lost, registration fees, a kennel, leash, food and water bowls, treats for training, and doggy poop bags for walks, at the very minimum. When you first get a new dog, this can all add up to a few hundred dollars to cover your basis.

Pet Rent and Home Upkeep

If you’re renting, odd are that in order to have your dog with you you’ll have to pay an additional pet deposit and pet rent per month. This $500 and $50 dollars are pretty average amounts for these two things. You may also get landed with an extra bill after you move out for damages like replacing the carpet if your dog peed on them or repairing anything your dog may have scratched or chewed. These costs can quickly add up.

Even if you rent a home, having a dog will cost you extra in maintenance as well. You’ll need to replace things like flooring and doors more often, and more likely than not your dog is going to destroy something valuable at one point. If your yard isn’t already fenced, you’ll probably want to put in a fence. Dogs can also be pretty rough on yards. If you like to keep your yard looking nice, plan on spending extra time and money taking care of pee spots and holes.

Training Costs

It is always a good idea to budget in some money for professionally training your dog. Especially if you’re a new time dog owner. You can read and research as much as you can online, but there’s something about seeing an expert dog trainer in action that will really make things click. I thought I knew what I was doing when I started training my dogs, but I was so wrong. I learned so much from my trainers and would have a completely different experience with my dogs without them.

Group classes are also a great way to train your dog to deal with distractions. Many dogs are great at listening and can sit and stay perfectly at home, but when they’re out and about with distractions and other dogs running around, all bets are off. Distraction training can help you have a well-trained dog at all times, not just at home.

It’s hard to have a dog that you don’t feel like you can take anywhere or trust around strangers because of different behavioral problems. Be proactive with training to stop problems before they start.

Dog Toys, Treats, and other Knick-Knacks.

This one depends greatly on the owner. Some owners buy their dogs tons and tons of toys, treats, clothes, and other cool gadgets. Some owners just buy their dogs a couple balls and something to chew on and that’s good for them. There’s coats and boots for dogs that live in colder climates but aren’t made to handle them. Dog beds are popular to give your dog a safe spot to lay. Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to your pets.

In Conclusion:

You may be surprised to find that your dog will cost you a few thousand dollars a year. It’s estimated that on average dog’s cost about $1,500 to $9,900 per year. This is a huge range, but then again, there’s a huge range of dog’s with tons of varying needs as well.

When figuring out your budget you can allow leeway in some areas and cut back in others. It all depends on your lifestyle, what kind of dog, how big your dog is, and what exactly you need to properly care for your dog.

These costs aren’t meant to discourage you from getting a dog, but set the expectations for how much they truly cost. It’s sad to see dogs end up in shelters because their family realized too late that they weren’t actually ready or able to handle all the additional costs of dog ownership.

How much does your dog cost you per year? Share with us in the comments below.