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How Much Does Owning A Dog Cost?

Pedigree dogs cost a lot of money. A $1000 tag is pretty common, and two, three or four times that amount certainly isn’t out of the question.

But even if you get your dog for free – a puppy from a litter, or a rescue dog, for example – over his lifetime he will cost you a lot of money. Food, equipment, and vet bills add up to something around $15-25,000 over the 12-15 years of the dog’s life.

Breeds Jack Russell running at full pace
This Jack Russell may be small, but he'll still set you back a few dollars every year

Cost Of Buying A Dog

If the sums quoted above make you rush straight for the “home wanted for puppies” section of the local listings, consider these things first:

  • Dogs of unknown origin can have hidden health issues which will add to your vet bills over the years.

  • A cross-breed of unknown parentage may have behavioural issues, possibly including latent aggression.

  • A puppy from a “puppy farm”, rather than a respected breeder, may need a good home as much as the next dog. And it will be a lot cheaper than the one from the registered breeder down the road. But in buying from one of these brutal businesses you become part of the problem. You will be helping perpetuate a system that really needs closing down on grounds of animal welfare.

  • Buying from a registered and respected breeder is good investment, if you can afford the initial outlay. Cost varies massively from breed to breed, and some breeds that are particularly popular at any given moment in time will command high prices.

  • When doing the math, it’s also worth reflecting on the fact that smaller dogs tend to have a longer lives, so although their food and equipment generally costs less than a big dog’s, they will be part of the household budget for 4 to 5 years more.

Breeds Pomeranian Spitz
Pedigree breeds such as this Pomeranian cost more than crossbreeds and mutts

How Much Does A Pedigree Dog Cost?

Pedigree dogs are more expensive than crossbreeds. Over the preceding generations, lots of money and care has gone into keeping the bloodline. This has nothing to do with how handsome, good, clever or healthy the dog is, it’s simply a premium you pay for buying a pedigree dog. Typically, a pedigree puppy costs between $500 and $3000.

How Much Do Crossbreed Dogs Cost?

Crossbred dogs typically cost anywhere from £50 - $1,000. However, some so-called "designer dogs" like Cockapoos and Labradoodles (Cocker Spaniel or Labrador x Poodle) have become very popular and can fetch as much as some pedigree breeds.

Because of their wider gene pools, crossbreeds often have lower risks of developing diseases.

Buying A Dog From a Shelter

“Mutts” from the rescue centre are often the cutest dogs on the planet. They will certainly be much cheaper than a dog from a breeder. Always choose a well respected, registered shelter, and then you can get an honest and accurate impression, from the staff, of what your intended dog is like in terms of health, personality, etc.

Dog playing fetch playing with stick in sea
Non-pedigree dogs will cost you less than pedigrees, but will provide no shortage of fun and character

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Dog?

This will vary enormously depending on your choice of food, insurance plan, vet, etc. But as a general snapshot, it might be useful to think about these ballpark figures:

  • Food - $550
  • Insurance - $500
  • Vet Bill - $500
  • Grooming - $350
  • Kennels - $250
  • Toys and Treats - $250
  • Annual total - $2400

The average lifespan of a healthy dog is 13 years, which makes the average lifetime cost of owning a dog $31,200.

Mixed breed dog enjoying car ride
Life with a dog is a great ride, and worth every cent

How Much Does It Cost To Spay / Neuter A Dog?

Unless you intend breeding dogs, you will probably want get your dog spayed or neutered. The procedure costs between $45 and $175. Many rescue centre dogs will have been spayed/neutered already.

How Much Does It Cost To Keep A Dog In A Kennel?

Kennels usually cost between $25 and $45 a night. There are several upmarket ones with he price tags, of course. But you should avoid anything too cheap, as a lower-than-usual price suggests the kennel is cutting corners somewhere, and that’s not going to be good news for the well-being of your dog.

Always have a look around first, to make sure you’re happy with the staff and the facilities. You have to accept a certain amount of smell and cacophony – that’s just part of the deal when you have a lot of dogs on site together.

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Comments Leave a comment

Dan, 25 June 2017

Thanks. Great reading! I saw this article that also cover the subject and it's great to have a also the numbers in UK. One last comment - the final value of owning a dog is priceless.