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How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Puppy and Raise a Dog?

Updated on February 3, 2012

Dog Food, Vet Bills, and Unexpected Costs for Your Dog

Congratulations! You have decided to get a dog. Along with the hours of endless fun, entertainment, and unconditional love and affection that your new canine companion will bring, it is important to be aware of and to plan for the financial responsibility that accompanies this new family member. There will be the initial outlay to bring your dog or puppy home, and that will vary depending on where you get your dog from, the dog breed, and any immediate medical treatments that will be required. Then there is the daily cost of feeding, sheltering, raising and possibly clothing your dog. Finally, there are annual and unexpected costs.

Tiny Teacup Yorkies come with a hefty pricetag.
Tiny Teacup Yorkies come with a hefty pricetag. | Source

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Puppy?

The cost of getting a dog or a puppy depends very much on where you choose to get your dog from. How to find a dog? The most common options are from a dog breeder, a dog shelter,(or humane society, dog pound, or SPCA), an All Breed Dog Rescue Organization, a Breed Specific Dog Rescue Organization, from a newspaper or online classified Pet advertisement, from a family member or friend, or from a Pet Store. The cost of a dog or puppy is also dependent on whether it is a pure-bred dog, a mixed-breed dog of known parentage, or a mixed-breed dog of unknown parentage . For the most part, puppies are more expensive than adult dogs unless the full-grown dog has been trained for a special purpose. The popularity of different dog breeds waxes and wanes, and the supply of breeds which are in short supply results in their price increasing. With so many small teacup or lapdogs appearing in the laps and handbags of many Hollywood starlets, tiny dogs now come with large price tags. A quick review shows Teacup Yorkie puppies for sale from a breeder at prices ranging from $1200CAD to $2500CAD each (as of December, 2010). In contrast, the ever popular labrador retriever puppies range from $600CAD to $1500CAD. If you have chosen to get a puppy from a breeder, once you have decided on a breed, please spend some time to research reputable breeders online or by calling your national kennel club.

Where Did You Get YOUR Dog From?

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Dog Adoption Fees at Animal Shelters and Humane Societies

Animal shelters, humane societies, dog pounds, SPCAs....these are generally non-profit organizations dedicated to the rescue and adoption of previously abandoned or rescued dogs. They are most often run by municipalities and funded by local taxes and donations. Their employees are assisted by volunteers and veterinarians and animal aid workers who donate their time. To help offset some of the costs involved in rescuing, rehabilitating, providing medical attention and spaying/neutering if necessary, animal shelters charge a nominal adoption fee, which can range from $200 to $300 in cities in Southern Ontario . If you are are considering adopting a dog from an animal shelter, ask whether the adoption fee includes spaying/neutering, as this is an expensive procedure which you will have to pay for at a later date if your new puppy or dog has not already been sterilized. Animal shelters will usually microchip the animal and vaccinate them while providing a brief medical examination as well.

Don't give a puppy as a gift without prior consideration and planning.
Don't give a puppy as a gift without prior consideration and planning. | Source

Dog Adoption Fees at Dog Rescue Organizations

Many Dog Rescue Organizations charge a Dog Adoption Fee or Dog Adoption Charge in the $200 to $350 range, similar to the animal shelters. These rescue organizations are most often non-profit, privately run facilities funded by donations from private individuals, often the people who first founded the dog rescue. There are all-breed rescue organizations, as well as breed specific Rescues. These organizations provide important support to animal shelters and humane societies who are full, and must either euthanize or find another temporary home for the abandoned dogs that have been brought in or picked up. As a result, many Dog Rescue Organizations are constantly on the lookout for qualified foster families to temporarily host a dog until a suitable forever family can be found.

Buying a Dog From a Pet Store

It used to be quite popular to buy a puppy or dog from your local pet store. With the increase of awareness in regards to unscrupulous and cruel puppy mills that operate illegally and sell to many unsuspecting pet store owners, the public has become much more cautious about buying a dog from a pet store. If you do choose to go this route, be aware that it is unlikely that you will be able to get "papers" (proof of parentage from a pure-bred line)for a purebred puppy, though you may well pay the same price as if you were to go to a recognized breeder. You won't know the background of the dog or puppy, such as who raised it, what it's medical history is, or the health of it's mother. Exercise caution if you choose to buy a puppy from a pet store. Remember that unlike animal shelters or rescue organizations, this pet store is a business and making a profit is its main goal.

Buying a Puppy Online

Please exercise extreme caution if you are considering buying a puppy online. For every honest, reputable family or individual who is looking for a new home for their canine companion or her puppies, there are at least two or three individuals whose prime motivation is to sell dogs and puppies to make money.  While there are many reputable and recognized dog breeders who have wonderful websites, please do your homework prior to making a financial commitment to bring home a puppy or dog.

It should cost less to feed a small dog than a big one!
It should cost less to feed a small dog than a big one! | Source

Dog Food

When Leo, our yellow labrador, joined our family as a 10 week old puppy two years ago, I was shocked at the cost of dog food. The veterinarian had recommended Royal Canin's Large Breed Puppy food, which could only be purchased at one pet store in town, but I was assured that it was far, far better dog food for our puppy than anything I could buy at Costco or Walmart.  One large bag (35 pound bag) cost $89.00, and that first bag lasted three I decided it wasn't a bad investment. I wanted Leo's bones to have the best nourishment possible.  Well, Leo grew...he grew and he grew and he grew...and the second bag lasted two months. The third bag was gone in three weeks!  Adding over $100 per month to my family food bill was a challenge. When Leo was about six months old, I took a good look at my budget and decided that we would continue with the Royal Canin until he was one year old, then re-assess the situation.  For the past year we have tried a variety of dog foods for Leo, from Royal Canin's Labrador Retriever 30 and Royal Canin's Maxi Adult 25,  to Halo's Adult Dog Wholesome Chicken ($59.00 for 32 pound bag), and Pedigree Vitality + Dry Dog Food for Dogs, $29.00 for 40 pound bag).   While the Pedigree was notably cheaper than the others, we noticed that Leo's coat seemed patchy and dull, and he had several ear infections and itchy paws while on the Pedigree.  We are now trying Rotations, which is more expensive than the Pedigree but has done wonders for his coat and breath. On average, we are spending about $75 each month on dog food.

Laundry baskets have been a favourite sleeping space for several of our dogs.
Laundry baskets have been a favourite sleeping space for several of our dogs. | Source

Sheltering Your Dog

Your dog or puppy will need a place to sleep. Dogs can sleep on blankets, on a store-bought or homemade dog bed, in a crate, or on the end of your bed. If you are looking at buying a dog's bed, they can range in price from $25.00 to over $100, depending on size and style. Dog crates range in price from $50 to over $200. In addition, your dog will need various supplies including food and water bowls, leash, collar, tug toy, throw toy, and perhaps some grooming items such as nail clippers or dog shampoo. You should be able to get a puppy starter kit containing most of these items in the $50 to $75 range.

Save money on dog grooming by washing him at home.
Save money on dog grooming by washing him at home. | Source
Some dogs require clothes for warmth in winter, others have human companions who just like to dress them up!
Some dogs require clothes for warmth in winter, others have human companions who just like to dress them up! | Source

Other Expenses

Obedience classes are money well spent as the things you will learn with your dog can save his life and help you avoid costly mishaps. Check your local area for sessions and prices. In our area, a Puppy class which ran for 1 1/2 hours once a week for 4 weeks cost $199.00, and came with a very useful manual which we still refer to as needed.

A boarding kennel may be a good place to board your dog when you are away from home. Our boarding kennel charges $26.00 per night during the weekend, plus an additional $5.00 per walk. If we go away for a long weekend the cost can easily reach $100 including taxes.

Spa services... for dogs are a growing business. Baths, ear-cleaning, nail trimming, coat conditioning, styling, and blow-drying, trimming or de-matting, colouring (!), and teeth brushing are just some of the pampering available for your pooch. The prices for these vary greatly depending on your location, the service required, and your dog, but I can tell you that it costs $13.00 to have our labrador retriever's nails trimmed . We only paid that once, as we bought a nail clipper for $20.00 and trained him to lay still (needed lots of treats) while we did it ourselves.

Clothing for Dogs is another industry that has taken off in the last few years.  You can easily spend as much as $100 per outfit for your puppy, and custom clothing is a popular option as well.

The vet bill may not be as challenging as the patient is.....
The vet bill may not be as challenging as the patient is..... | Source

The Cost of Taking Your Dog to the Vet.

If you have a new puppy, the vet bills in the first year will be steep and then level off as your dog grows. Initial vaccinations for distemper, hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis, Parvovorius, Rabies, and Bortadella (kennel cough) will cost about $300 in the first year. Heartworm medication costs about $150 per year, and spaying or neutering your dog can cost anywhere from $300 to $600 depending on the size of your dog and the rates where you live. Other costs you may incur include dental cleaning or teeth extraction ($300 to $900), having ultrasounds or xrays when he has swallowed something he shouldn't ($100 to $200), or having porcupine quills removed from your dog's mouth! ($400). There are more serious health issues which can require surgery or treatment that may well end up costing thousands of dollars.


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    • Avamum profile imageAUTHOR

      Sarita Harbour 

      5 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Dogfond - I totally agree!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Raising a dog comes with great responsibility. We have three dogs and we really can say that owning a dog is expensive especially when you have puppies. But it's all worth it.

    • Avamum profile imageAUTHOR

      Sarita Harbour 

      7 years ago from Yellowknife, Canada

      Hi Tammy L - I've never had a cat, but it seems that there are costs involved with all of our non-human friends. Thanks for the comment!

    • Tammy L profile image

      Tammy L 

      7 years ago from Jacksonville, Texas

      Adopting a cat is rather expensive too. In addition to the usual vet bills, food, treats, toys, etc., there's the added expense of more first aid products (if you ever met my cat you'd understand that one). My "obedience class" (if there is such a thing for a cat) is a $1.50 spray bottle filled with water. I've never had my cat groomed and don't get his claws clipped anymore although the cost would be worth it just to watch the fireworks. My cat is so uncooperative when it comes to clipping his claws, the vet suggests we have him sedated while they do it. I'd rather not sedate him if I don't have to.


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