Dog 101, Part 1: Can I Afford a Dog?

Tiny wet noses. Velvety ears. Squishy Buddha bellies. Wiggly little bums. Is there anything better than bringing home a puppy? Probably not. And while adopting or buying a dog is an exciting opportunity to bring a new family member into the mix, there are many elements that should influence that decision. Cost, lifestyle, and family life are just some of the factors that should play a role in aiding you doggie decisions.

First let’s talk about the financial obligations that accompany the furriest member of your family. Below are some ruff estimates of new dog costs (and this is before you factor in the shoes and couch cushions that will need to be replaced).

Dog Cost Chart

Initial Cost:

Small Medium Large

Adoption or Purchase

$50 to $2500

$50 to $2500

$50 to $2500

Vet Check and Vaccination

$50 to $200 

$50 to $200 

$50 to $200 

Spay or Neuter

$100 to $400

$150 to $500

$125 to $500

Crate/ Carrier

$35 to $75

$50 to $100

$75 to $125

Bowls

$10 to $20    

$15 to $25    

$15 to $25

Collar and Leash

$5 to $30      

$10 to $35

$12 to $40

Bed

$10 to $50    

$15 to $60

$20 to $100

The estimated low range initial cost for a small breed is $260, medium breed is $315, and a large breed is $372 (assuming the dog is in good health with no special needs). Want to implant a microchip in case Fido feels the need to stretch his legs all over the neighborhood? Tack on an additional $25 to $100. This initial cost then needs to be added to the average yearly costs below.

Continuous yearly cost:

Kibble

$250 to $500 

$350 to$650

$500 to $1000

Treats and Toys

$50 to $150  

$75 to $200

$100 to $250

Vet Visits

$150  

$150

$150

Flea and Tick and Heartworm

$100 to $150

$125 to $200

$150 to $250

License

$8.45 to $51.45

$8.45 to $51.45

$8.45 to $51.45

Did you know that all dogs three months or older must be licensed by January 1 of each year? Violators can be cited a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. In order to avoid this you can purchase an annual license for $8.45 and a lifetime license for $51.45.

So as of right now we have a low-end estimate of $550 to $900 a year, depending on size, to care for the newest family member. Now take into account additional expenses for health, grooming, day care, and boarding when necessary. Owning a pet is an obligation that needs to be taken seriously; do a preliminary cost breakdown to ensure that it will not become a financial burden.