Know exactly how much money it takes to care for a dog responsibly, from adoption to emergencies
Updated June 16, 2020
created byElla Jackson,
Mason Romero, DVM , and Erica Bowen, DVM Dr. Michele King, DVM
Mason Romero, DVM , and Erica Bowen, DVM Dr. Leslie Brooks, DVM
, Andy BowenThe bond with a furry friend is priceless. But exactly how much money does it cost to care for them well? For this report, our team took an itemized approach to help you wrap your head around the costs of being a pet parent and plan your budget accordingly.
According to Money, the lifetime cost of a canine companion generally comes to around $15,000 — and that’s pretty conservative compared to our research. Our figures show that it costs anywhere from $150 to $300 per month to care for your dog responsibly.
If subtracting $150 from your monthly cash flow you sweat, think long and hard about whether you should sign up for the responsibility. If you’re not in the position to be able to afford it, that’s OK — well done for researching! It means you’ve taken the first steps in your journey of becoming a responsible pet owner.
If you can afford the state of care that a dog deserves, then let’s move on and see a breakdown of where your money’s going.
At a glanceThe costs of owning a dog
The upfront costsIt costs around $750 to adopt a dog and prepare your home
The essentialsOn average, you’ll spend $2,175 per year to keep your dog happy and healthy
The unexpected costsIt’s likely you’ll pay at least $200 per year that you didn’t plan on spending. You’ll pay $500+ if your dog is injured or hospitalized.The upfront costs? On average, the total startup cost of rescuing a dog and preparing your home is around $750.
So you’ve made the decision to adopt a dog, what an exciting time. Soon we’re sure you’ll be playing fetch and taking your furry companion out on walks. But before all of that, there are a few integral steps to take.
First, you need to pick which dog you could see yourself taking home. At betterpet, we believe that there’s no better place to find a new member of your family than an adoption shelter. Places like the ASPCA and The Shelter Pet Project are just a few options, because like people, all dogs deserve a second chance at love.
? To get started with an adoption, read our step-by-step guide.
Typically, adopting a dog will cost around $4001, but this may vary depending on the breed and state you live in. Often, during the adoption process, microchipping is included in the fee, however, if it isn’t then typically the procedure would cost around $50.
And, of course, you can’t have a dog without the essential supplies. This includes:
The last crucial cost you need to account for is vaccinations. A few of the core ailments that vaccinations would protect your dog from include: rabies, distemper, parvo, and hepatitis. The total cost for these four vaccinations would be around $75, and while the cost may be eye-watering, to ensure a long life, it is imperative that your dog receives these vaccinations.
Upfront CostsThe initial costs of dog ownership
Type of expenseAverage upfront costYour pet$400
Spaying / Neutering$75 - $100 / $50 - $75
Essential gear (bowls, leash, harness, etc.)$100The essentials? It’s easy to spend over $2,000 a year to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Now we get into the cost of food, routine health care, pet insurance, and grooming. All of these have dependent variables, like the brand and type of food you purchase (wet dog food, kibble, fresh meal delivery, etc.). But as a baseline, you could spend in the ballpark of $240 a year on dog food alone3.
But if you want your dog to live a happy and healthy life (you do), then you also need to consider a visit to the veterinarian’s office. If this is your first time visiting the vets, then here’s a guide to help you prepare. In terms of price, you can expect to spend around $500 in any dental fees4 when anesthesia is necessary, while any recurring medication such as flea treatments may cost about $15 per month, with an additional heartworm test costing around $45 or more.
So, now that you’ve protected your dog’s inside, how do you care for the outside? One word: grooming. This will be another variable figure, however, we’d advise leaving aside $50 per month5. This is an essential treatment, especially, in the summer months for any long-coated dog breeds.
Last but not least, is pet insurance. The monthly necessity comes out at around $360 per year, and while it may feel like a waste of money, we promise you that if any unfortunate accidents do happen, you’re not going to want to be worrying about the price to save your dog’s life.
The EssentialsAnnual costs of dog ownership
Type of expenseAverage annual costRoutine veterinary care: checkups, etc.$100 - $300
Dental cleaning$175 - $300 ($500 - $1,000 with anesthesia)
Flea, heartworm, and tick preventative care$305
New toys / replacing old toys$70
Food$240The unexpected costs? The most expensive unexpected cost is a trip to the vet hospital, which could cost $500 or more.
Picture this: You’re going on vacation with the family — and while your dog would definitely get a kick out of a visit to the beach — the hotel you’re staying in isn’t pet-friendly.
Unfortunately, that means your dog needs to take a trip to the kennels instead. On average, you’ll pay around $25 per night6.
If by some luck your dog can come on holiday with you then great, here are a few of the best dog travel crates for you to transport your four-legged friend safely. But before you take your family pictures, remember that it also costs to get your pet on a plane, approximately $250 for a domestic return flight.
Be careful though, the last thing you want is for your dog to get into an unfortunate accident that may result in emergency treatment. Not only is the emotional worry draining, but so is the $500 bill you’ll get charged with.
The Unexpected CostsAll the things you forgot to plan for
Type of expenseOut-of-pocket costAn injury or illness$500+
Pet travel (return domestic flights)~$250
Boarding your dog~$25 (per night)? Read our complete guide to veterinary care for an exhaustive list of the different types of vet visits and how much they cost.
At the end of the day, your dog will become part of the family and it’s crucial that when the time comes, you know you’ll be able to afford to keep your pet through sickness and health.
Adopting a dog isn’t a money-saving investment, but what you lose in cost, you gain in love. And that’s always free.
Am I financially ready for a dog?It’s helpful to have a ballpark idea of what owning a furball will cost, but there are always unexpected twists and turns. At betterpet, we believe buying a pet insurance policy and setting aside $1,000-$3,000 for unexpected emergencies is part of being a responsible pet owner.
Andy Bowen, one of our co-founders, spent two consecutive Christmases in the waiting room of a vet hospital while Hadley, his Yorkiepoo, slowly recovered from a nearly life-ending bout of pancreatitis-induced seizures. “It was crazy and exhausting,” Andy said.
“She lived off an IV for about five days in total. Ultimately, those visits cost me over $6,000 out of pocket. I didn’t have a pet insurance policy at the time. Thankfully, I had several thousand dollars tucked away for stuff like this, but I never expected to spend nearly that much money keeping my dog alive.”
The odds are, you’ll find yourself in Andy’s shoes at some point. According to Dr. Louise Murray, vice-president of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, in New York City, owners will probably incur “at least one $2,000 to $4,000 bill for emergency care at some point during their pet’s lifetime.”
It’s not fair to your or your pet to have to choose between saving your pet’s life and paying your rent. That’s why we strongly recommend establishing an emergency fund before getting your pet.
Checklist for New Adopters Congratulations on adopting a pet! You are embarking on a wonderful and rewarding relationship. Because adopting a new pet comes with a lot of change for both pet and pet parent, we’ve compiled a checklist to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Questions for All Adopters:
Thank you doesn’t begin to express our gratitude.
Our rescue asked for help with secure storage for crates, dog beds, food, etc and Mary McKnight Thoma, Lori Devecsery and HOGBOX answered with a 40’ container and delivery of it!
This container was generously donated to I'm your Huckleberry Rescue by HOGBOX of Fayetteville, AR. It is beyond generous and so kind!
Please visit Hogbox for your container and dumpster needs.
We are being targeted in a campaign to harass us into giving a dog to an individual who claims it is his dog .
In late march we were contacted by a good Samaritan who had taken in a stray and could not locate its owner . Our volunteers posted the dog on lost and found sites and reached out to followers on Facebook. In accordance with the laws of the State of Missouri , we held the dog for 5 days and a Saturday before considering the dog for adoption.
This young male dog was malnourished , and required treatment for worms and ticks.He received vaccinations for distemper , hepatitis , parvovirus, kennel cough and rabies.He was also neutered and microchipped. He was not familiar with basic commands and showed fear and aggression towards men. We covered the cost of having the dog socialized and trained by a professional . After 6 weeks of care we had 3 qualified families under consideration when we were contacted by the person who saw a Petfinder advertisement for the dog and claimed they were the owner.
This person could not give us a date as to when they lost the dog , presented no proof of ownership, had no records of purchasing or adopting the dog , had no vet bills for the care of the dog , and had no rabies certificate . They stated the dog had been dumped or shot after being stolen . They had not filed any police report about the theft or possible shooting of the dog . They did not post about the dog to any of the many Facebook groups designed to help locate missing dogs..They did not present any social media posts sharing the news of their missing pet .They then demanded we hand over the dog to them and promised they would attack us legally and across the internet if we id not.
As legal guardians of the dog , I m Your Huckleberry Rescue could not in good conscience give a dog to individuals who had no record of owning the dog, vaccinating the dog , no record of ever having taken it to the vet , and who made no attempt to look for their dog when they thought it may have been dumped, and did not report to the police when they thought it may have been shot .
Now , as promised , the individuals who threatened to do so are smearing us across the internet and have recruited the help of many to assist them .THE IRONY is that had these individuals put as much effort into reporting , posting and looking for their dog as they have maligning the reputation of this rescue , they would have likely recovered the dog, or achieved some justice had it actually been shot.
We will not engage in a Facebook battle, but we did want to share our position with you . We assure you that we will always take action that protects the welfare of animals while meeting our obligations under the law. We thank you for your continued support as we work to uphold our standards in the face of this campaign of misinformation .
In your service ,
The Board of Directors
I m Your Huckleberry Rescue
The Ultimate Pet Nutrition Guide, This nine-article series contains insights from 35 pet nutrition professionals from around the world. It’s designed to answer common questions about animal nutrition and help pet parents make educated decisions when it comes to feeding their beloved companions.
We got a message yesterday of 2 puppies found in a dumpster, yes you read that correctly, a DUMPSTER! Luckily for these pups someone did something about it. We meet them at Anderson Animal Hospital, where Dr.Wooden gave them a good checking. Other than have massive amounts of parasites , the pups look to be in good shape.
5 week old Heeler pups, little girl (Brooke) weighs 1.96 lbs. and her brother (Benny) weighs 2.98 lbs. We’ve started them on dewormer and have gotten them some very good food.
These pups will have the next 3 weeks to get to full health and then will be ready for adoption.
Please donate so we can continue doing what we do.
Hello! We are Jessica Jessen and Jennifer Singleton, and we own The Yuppy Puppy in Lanagan. The Yuppy Puppy is a grooming salon offering full-service grooming, doggy daycare, and retail with an emphasis on the health and safety of dogs and cats. We will also offer boarding in the near future.
Mention, I'm Your Huckleberry Rescue before checkout to receive a discount of $5 off any of the above services. We also have a donation station in our retail area for I'm Your Huckleberry Rescue. When a donation is made we will give that customer $10 off any service mentioned above.
THE YUPPY PUPPY
203 S Main St.
Lanagan, Missouri 64847
"A DOG GONE GOOD TIME"