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

Updated on December 18, 2012
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?

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