Average Cost of Owning a Dog

Having unconditional love from a dog can seem absolutely priceless, but in reality, there is a very real price commitment involved with becoming a dog owner. Our Enterprise vets give some financial costs to consider before adding a dog to your family.

Expenses to Consider

When you are considering whether owning a dog is within your budget, it's important to remember that different types of expenses occur with dogs.

One-Time Expenses:

  • Purchasing your dog
  • Spaying or neutering your pup
  • Cost of breed-specific surgeries such as tail docking

Recurring Annual Expenses:

  • Annual or semi-annual routine exams
  • Vaccines

Monthly Expenses:

  • Parasite protection
  • Medications
  • Food

Emergency Expenses:

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Chronic Illness (diabetes, cancer, etc)
  • Sudden Illness (Diarrhea, breathing difficulties, vomiting)
From the start, it is important to be prepared for each of these types of expenses and plan accordingly so that you don't face any unpleasant surprises along the way.

Calculating the Cost of Owning a Dog

Of course when it comes to estimating how much a dog costs the numbers vary wildly since there are so many factors to consider including the size and breed of the dog, health risks of your dog's breed, and the services needed to keep your dog looking and feeling their very best.

Beyond veterinary care and prevention, to get to a realistic cost of owning a dog you will also want to look at the cost of food (based on how much your chosen dog breed will eat), grooming sessions, toys, treats, beds, collars and leashes, obedience training, boarding for vacations, and possibly the price of hiring a dog walker.

Another variable to consider is where you live. Services from veterinary care to grooming and dog sitting range widely in price between locations. For a true estimate of costs, you will need to consider the breed you are looking at getting, that breed's risk of chronic illness, and how much the pet services your dog will need cost in your area.

Making Dog Ownership More Affordable

If you have your heart set on having a dog as part of your family, there are ways to help make the annual cost of owning a dog more affordable.

Set Aside Money for Pet Care

If you are good at saving and budgeting this may be a good solution for you. Whether you use a separate bank account or a jar tucked away somewhere safe. Calculate how much you would need if your pet suffered a veterinary emergency then work out a reasonable about to tuck away each payday. Having that money put aside may help to make veterinary emergencies less stressful when they strike.

Pet Insurance

If you are concerned about the high cost of emergency care or caring for a pet with a chronic illness, pet insurance may be right for you. Pet insurance can certainly help to relieve the burden of emergency care costs, but it's important to understand what your pet's policy covers before signing on the dotted line.

Wellness Plans

Many veterinarians offer wellness plans to help pet parents budget for their pet's annual preventive care. These plans take annual recommended preventive care and divide that cost into 12 easy-to-manage payments. At West Gate Veterinary Hospital, our pet wellness plans for dogs include annual core vaccines, 2 routine exams per year, your dog's Bordetella vaccine, 12 months of flea and tick prevention, and 12 months of essential heartworm protection.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

To learn more about our pet wellness plans, contact our Enterprise vets today.