How Much Does it Cost Per Month to Own a Dog?

How much does a dog cost?
How much does a dog cost? | Source

Cost of Dog Ownership Varies

How much does it cost to own a dog? The monthly costs may very depending on who you talk to. If you ask my neighbor for instance, she may tell you the costs may be minimal because her son goes hunting and their dog is fed a diet of raw meaty bones. If you ask one of my former clients, she will tell you her pooch costs a lot because she is a dedicated owner that ensures her dog gets everything.

The cost of ownership may vary from one household to another, and of course, the amount of money spent is not necessarily indicative of how much the dog is loved. There are many dog owners who can barely afford owning a dog but they do everything possible to ensure their dog gets all it needs. There are also some dog owners which would spend a fortune on a dog collar but then fail to provide their dog with enough exercise and socialization.

But generally, how much does it really cost to own a dog? Let's take a look at initial costs, fixed monthy costs and additional costs that may be optional.

Initial Costs of Owning a Dog

If you are new to dog ownership, you will need several items for a fresh start. The prices for these items will vary from one place to another and this is why we will use price ranges. Not all of these items are essential, but they are recommended to ensure the dog has all it needs.

Essential Items for New Dog Owners:

  • Food bowl (estimated cost $ 5 to $20)
  • Water bowl (estimated cost $ 5 to 20)
  • Dog collar (estimated cost $ 5 to $20)
  • Dog leash(estimated cost $ 5 to $20)
  • Dog crate (estimated cost $ 20 to $100)
  • Dog bed (estimated cost $ 20 to $50)
  • Dog toys (estimated cost $ 5 to $10)

Total initial costs; $65 to $240

Additional costs:

  • Dog wellness check ($25 to $100)
  • Dog vaccinations ($25 to $100)
  • Dog microchip insertion and registration ($50 to $100)
  • Dog license ($6 to 50)
  • Dog spay/neuter surgery ($55 to $500)

Total additional costs: $161 to $850

Gross total of essential and additional costs: $225 to $1190


Monthly costs

Once your dog has all it needs, you will then have to incur in monthly expenses. The following are recurring monthly expenses. As mentioned, not all dog owners will necessarily want to invest in all of these items, therefore, they are only references.

  • Food (estimated monthly cost $25 to $85)

Regardless of the type of dog you own, you will have to feed it, of course. Costs vary depending on the size of your dog, nutritional needs and type of food fed. Most dogs are on a maintenance diet which means they are fed foods purposely made for dogs of normal activity levels. Cheap foods, full of fillers are found in super markets but the dog gets little nutrition. These food generally cost under $25 for a 40 pound bag. Premium foods which are often grain-free, provide more nutrition but also require less amounts fed. A premium dog food bag may cost anywhere between $45 to 85 for a 40 pound bag.

  • Treats (estimated monthly cost $10 to $30)

If you are training your dog, you will need tasty treats. There are many tasty treats on the market from tasty meaty nuggets to freeze-dried liver. Regardless of the type of treats, they are very helpful when offered as rewards for wanted behaviors. Some dog owners have opted to even make their own treats. Learn how to make liver treats for your dog:Home-made liver treats for dogs.

  • Dog Insurance (estimated monthly cost $20 to $60)

More and more dog owners are recognizing the importance of investing in dog insurance. Because the veterinary field is always expanding and offering new diagnostic machines and state-of -art treatments, costs are always on the rise. To prevent surprises, it helps to invest in dog insurance.

  • Dental Care (estimated monthly cost $10 to $20)

More and more dog owners are realizing how important it is to keep a dog's teeth in top shape. Periodontal disease may affect the dog's heart, kidneys and liver. Dog dental treats, tooth brushes and toothpaste play an essential role in keeping a dog's teeth bright and healthy. The costs of dog dental cleanings is often enough to intimidate dog owners and make them abide to good oral hygiene in their canine companions.

  • Dog Training (estimated monthly cost $80-200)

Dogs thrive on training and more and more dog owners are reaping the rewards of enrolling their dogs in classes. Most classes are held once a week and costs vary from one trainer to another. If you are going to train your dog, make sure to find a reputable dog trainer using scientifically approved reward-based training methods.

  • Flea/tick/heartworm prevention (estimated monthly cost $5-30 dollars)

Depending on where you live and the season, you may have to protect your canine companion from pesky parasites. While fleas and ticks are more abundant in the spring and summer, heartworms are becoming a year-round problem. If your vet recommends year round protection consider the cost of monthly heartworm pills and possibly, tick and flea treatments.

  • Shampoo/skin care/grooming (estimated monthly cost $5 to $50)

If you own a dog with sensitive skin or a dog that requires routine grooming, you will have to incorporate these costs into your monthly budget. Some dogs require nail trims, baths, anal gland expressions or routine grooming sessions by a professional groomer.

Total monthly costs from $155 to $475.

And What About Unexpected Expenses?

All dog owners should at least have some money set aside for unexpected expenses. If you elect not to invest in dog health insurance, it may be a good idea to start setting some money aside each month just in case (hoping your dog does not get sick in the meanwhile!). Just an emergency vet visit along with hospitalization can easily amount into thousands of dollars. Do you have enough money to cover that? Many vets do not offer payment plans and many emergency vets will want a large chunk of money as a deposit. Working along with vets, I know too well, the sorrow of dog owners putting a dog to sleep simply because they could not afford a veterinary bill, don't let that happen to you!


How much do you spend each month for your dog?

  • under 50 dollars
  • under 100 dollars
  • under 200 dollars
  • under 300 dollars
  • under 500 dollars
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Comments 8 comments

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

How much do you spend on your dog monthly? Share your costs here!


jaybos profile image

jaybos 4 years ago from Utah

Great hub! I really want to get a dog, and I plan to as soon as my living arrangements allow it. When that time comes, I'll be back to this hub to make sure I have what it takes. Thanks!


bilghi profile image

bilghi 4 years ago from Samsun, Turkey

excellent hub


trainerlex profile image

trainerlex 4 years ago from Denver, CO

I'm a small spender with my Doberman. Food only costs $30 monthly. I have found an affordable vaccination clinic that we visit annually and only charges $35 for rabies and distemper. Don't get me wrong, I have spent ridiculous amounts of money in the past on all kinds of leashes, harnesses, toys, beds, potty pads, gates, and poop bags. I've learned what works and what doesn't. It's difficult to account for everything you'll buy experimenting with different training or problem solving techniques. This hub helps put things into some perspective.


alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for sharing! I have also used a low-cost spay/neuter/vaccination clinic when I used to live in Arizona; my dogs' spay and neuter surgeries amounted to less than $100 dollar each! If I recall well, vaccinations were only $8.00 each! Can't beat that!


brittanytodd profile image

brittanytodd 4 years ago from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

THIS IS AN EXCELLENT HUB! This is just what I was thinking of when I asked the question. Sorry it took me a few days to find. You really broke it down. Great work! Voted up, shared, useful, etc.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Excellent information here. I started out buying lots of toys and expensive things, but have become much more aware of costs. Getting the dog from a shelter helped reduce costs, since the neutering and microchip was part of the adoption fee. I buy a middle of the line dog food that is affordable yet healthy and make my own toys. I also went to the city clinic for the rabies shot, and will keep looking for ways to save money on petcare.


Rusticliving profile image

Rusticliving 4 years ago from California

alexadry, this is a great hub! I have a cat AND a dog and although my monthly expenses aren't too high, the initial costs and the checkups can be costly. I do account for an extra expense each month when I take Polka-Dot Butt to Petco..She gets to choose her favorite rawhide bone... yes, she always takes the biggest and the most expensive one. She knows exactly where they keep them.... 30.00 for a 2 foot bone! Try taking that away from a Dalmation/pit mix! hahaha Great job, and voted up!

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