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Hidden Costs of Dog Ownership: Are You Prepared?

Hidden Costs of Dog Ownership: Are You Prepared?

When you spot the perfect puppy for sale, your first reaction is usually to scoop them up and rush them home. But puppies are a lot more than just bundles of joy. They’re a significant financial investment, and all new dog owners should be prepared for the cost that comes with bringing a puppy home.

Here, we’ll walk you through some of the major costs you can expect from owning a dog. Although a puppy is a big investment, it can be affordable, provided you plan in advance.

Cost Of Owning A Dog

You may be surprised by how expensive raising a dog really can be. Aside from the initial fee you pay a breeder or adoption center, you have to plan for years of food, medical costs, and plenty of accidents around the house.

Here are the major costs that you should be prepared for.

Breeder Or Adoption Fee

The first expense will be a significant one. Depending on the breeder you choose, the fee could range from around $500 to well over $1000. This fee may include some vet care, as well as the first round of vaccinations.

If you choose to adopt your dog, you’ll still have to pay adoption fees at most shelters. These vary widely, and can reach well over $500. Often, these fees are covering initial vet visits and vaccinations.


Food costs for your dog will naturally vary, depending on the breed, activity level, and size. However, you can expect to invest a significant amount of money feeding just about any dog.

You don’t have to waste your money on expensive premium dog food brands. However, you’ll need to make sure that your puppy is getting all of the right nutrients. Discount dog food brands may save some money, but some of them skimp on important nutrients that your puppy needs to grow.

You should also be prepared to spend a lot of money on food as your dog grows. Puppies like to eat, and you can expect to feed them up to 4 times a day. As they get older, you will be able to cut back and feed them twice daily.

How much will this all cost? This varies widely, but many people spend around $500 per year. Over the life of the dog, that can add up to around $6000.

You could also consider cooking your own dog food. This likely will cost more, especially if you want to use high quality proteins for your dog’s diet. Speak to your vet if you are considering this route, and they can advise you on all the foods your dog will need.


In addition to your dog’s regular food, they need a near constant supply of treats. Having plenty of treats around makes your life a lot easier. After all, there’s nothing that gets a dog’s attention like a treat.

Remember, treats aren’t just a luxury for your dog. Many varieties of treats can be beneficial for your dog’s health by cleaning teeth and preventing plaque formation. Treats also keep dogs stimulated by giving them something to chew on.

Bedding, Crate, And Toys

You’ll also have to prepare your home for your new puppy. That means a crate, as well as plenty of bedding and toys.

Crates can cost you anywhere from $50-$300, depending on size and quality. When your dog is young, you’ll want to keep them in a crate that matches their size. As they grow, you can get a larger crate.

Even the most durable bedding and toys will eventually need to be replaced as well. If you have a dog that really loves to chew, you may have to replace them every few months, which add up to a substantial sum over the course of your dog’s life.


Many dog owners want to keep their dog safe by putting up fencing. You may also choose to use an electric fence. Whichever option you choose, this can be a major expense, and cost you thousands of dollars.


Some dog owners will try to save money by training their puppy themselves. However, many people turn to professional training to give their dog more structure. Over the years, the money you spend on training can really add up. For some dog owners, it ends up being the single largest expense.

The cost of training varies widely, depending on your dog’s personality, as well as how much you want them to learn.

A basic 5 week obedience class will set you back $150. If you want private instruction for your dog, you can expect to pay significantly more, with sessions costing over $100 per hour. If you want a trainer to visit your house to train the dog, the costs will rise even more, with some sessions costing up to $300 per hour.

Even if you only train your dog once per month, that can add up to well over $1000 in just one year.

Medical Expenses

Even if you find a dog that has few major health problems, vet care will still be a significant expense. All of those vet visits over the years will really start to add up.

When you bring your new dog home, they’ll have to go to the vet. At this first visit, the vet will go over their vaccination records and make sure that they’re healthy. Many dogs will require additional shots in the weeks and months following their initial vet visit. These shots usually cost around $90, and your vet will likely charge additional fees for the visit.

As your puppy starts to socialize with other dogs, your vet will want to check in on their health to make sure that they didn’t catch anything from their new friends. These checkup visits may vary in frequency, but you can expect to pay around $50 per visit.

Your vet will likely request that your puppy come in for an annual checkup. When they’re young, the vet will make sure that they are growing at the right pace. As your dog gets older, the vet can check for any signs of illness. All told, these annual vet visits could cost around $600, without accounting for any medication or procedures.

Unfortunately, many dogs will develop health issues. In addition to the emotional strain that this can cause, you can expect to pay a significant amount on vet bills over the course of their life.

Many dog owners turn to pet insurance to protect themselves financially in case of unforeseen medical expenses. However, pet insurance will only cover so much, and it often has high deductibles. Even if you’re insured, you can expect to pay quite a bit out of pocket if your dog needs expensive medical treatment.

How much will these procedures cost? Prices vary by surgery and the vet, but common surgeries such as growth removals can cost over $500. Surgeries to fix torn ligaments or repair a hip joint can cost well over $1000.


You’ll also have to keep your dog well groomed throughout your life. Grooming expenses vary significantly depending on the breed, as well as the size of the dog.

You’ll need the right gear if you plan on grooming your dog. That includes a brush, nail clippers, shampoo, and a variety of specialty products. You’ll also need to regularly buy teeth cleaning products.

If you don’t want to handle grooming yourself, you can turn to a pro. However, this will cost a lot, especially if you need to groom your dog frequently. Costs of grooming services depend on what you want done, but a full service haircut, nail trim, and bath can cost you upwards of $150.


Many people save money by leaving their dog with friends or family. However, if you ever need to board your dog, this can be a significant expense.

Costs for boarding vary widely depending on the size of the dog and the city where you live. A day of doggy daycare can cost between $30-50, with additional fees if you have a larger dog.

Boarding tends to be much more expensive in large cities, where space is at a premium.

Plan Ahead For Expenses

This long list of expenses might seem intimidating. But it can be manageable, provided that you plan ahead for expected costs and budget them out.

Try to list out all of the expected costs before you even start looking at dogs. This process can be a bit tedious, but it will help you better understand what you’re getting into. Once you know the true cost of your commitment, start reaching out to breeders to find your dream dog.

Find The Perfect Puppy

Decided that you’re ready to commit financially to a dog? Then head over to our puppy finder. We connect you to a network of some of the most experienced breeders and companies around.

Every breeder and business we work with is a true professional and a real dog-lover. They’re committed to the highest ethical and breeding standards, ensuring that you get a happy, healthy puppy.

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