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The Cost of One Dog vs Two

Updated on December 22, 2011

Dogs are social animals, and are often happiest when they have another canine to keep them company. However, they are also expensive animals. When considering adding a second dog to your family, knowing the additional costs involved is essential to making an informed decision.

To accurately budget a new family member, however, you must first know what your current dog is costing you, what type of dog you wish to own and whether or not you want a puppy.

How Much Does One Dog Cost Per Year?

The primary expenses associated with dogs are food and veterinary care, along with small additional purchases throughout the year. Calculate these individual costs and then combine them for an average annual estimate.


You may or may not keep track of dog food purchases. If you do, you should have a good idea of how much your dog is eating. If not, however, here is a rough guide to the caloric needs of an active dog at various weights.

Weight (lbs)
Daily Calories (kCal)

Assuming a good bag of dog food, at 30 lbs, contains approximately 50,000 Calories, and costs around $50.00:

Divide 50,000 by your dog's daily caloric needs. This number is the amount of days the bag of food will last. Dividing 50 by this number will give you your cost of dog food per day. Multiply this by 365 to get the cost of dog food per year.

To summarize:

$/yr = ( 50 / ( 50,000 / (daily calories needed) ) ) * 365

Veterinary Bills

Assuming the dog is a healthy adult and already spayed and neutered, you will need to visit the vet once or twice a year to keep up on vaccinations and annual exams. Such an exam will likely cost around $200 for shots, medications, and various fees.

Assuming two vet visits per year, as well as heart-worm and flea preventatives, expect at least $400 per year in vet bills. It is wise to plan for $1000 a year, instead, as emergencies can and do happen at the most inopportune times.

Smaller Expenses

Finally, budget in another $200 or so for treats, toys, and other small items. Dogs have a tendency to be spoiled by their owners, after all!


So, all in all, a dog can cost anywhere from $700 per year to $2000, barring major medical disasters. Size is a big factor in expense, obviously, as very large breeds will not only eat more but tend to be more prone to health problems.

Remember that dogs, like humans, will develop health problems as they age. Elderly dogs may cost several thousand a year in basic care. Many, many senior dogs end up with a sad fate, dying in a shelter because their owners could no longer take care of them. Plan ahead and save up to avoid this!

The Cost of an Additional Dog

It would be overly simplistic to say that a new dog will double your current costs. Obviously, if you own a Great Dane and want a Chihuahua, such a rule would be absurd. However, for two adult dogs of the same general weight, you can expect a rough doubling of expenses. If your new dog is of a different weight, you must calculate its cost above and add it to what you are already paying.


Puppies add new expenses to the list. They need several rounds of vaccinations, deworming, new collars as they grow, a crate, and countless other things. Most spend about $1000 for the first year of a puppy's life, regardless of size, although with bad luck the bills can quickly spike high into the thousands.

Every dog is different, and the numbers provided in this guide can only ever be a rough estimate of the true costs of owning dogs. New owners must do their research and know exactly how much they can afford to spend on another dog. If the numbers add up, it's best to wait. An uncountable number of dogs have been abandoned because their owners could no longer afford them. Always think before you take the plunge!


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    • profile image

      grayareas 5 years ago

      This is a very conservative estimate. My vet never lets anyone out the door without spending $104. Teeth cleaning was nearly $700. He has a heart condition now and his meds are $125 monthly. Pet insurance is a joke. It is not even available after the pet is 8 years old (last time I checked). My dog is worth it, but at 16 years old, the costs of his care are a luxury item. It is sad that, especially for seniors who would benefit from a companion animal, pet care is exhorbitant. Even sadder is that most people don't think past the cute puppy stage and take on an animal that they have no idea how to take care of, much less the resources. There definitely needs to be some consideration of the costing of vet services, and the creation of viable pet insurance plans. When my Chihuahua dies, I will not get another dog for these reasons.

    • Gofygure profile image

      Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA

      Yes, I recently paid $500 to get my cat's teeth care is incredibly expensive! I used these figures with a healthy adult dog in mind, but prices do go up as they age. I should add something about that, as it is often why senior dogs are abandoned, poor things.

    • profile image

      grayareas 5 years ago

      Is there something we can do about this? I realize that petinarians spend a lot on their educations, but it seems they all went to the same seminar on the same day and agreed how much everything will cost. Certainly there should be some way to make pet care more affordable. What do you think?

    • Gofygure profile image

      Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA

      The problem with vet clinics is that they are VERY expensive to establish and maintain. In much the same way human medicine is costly, keeping up to date equipment and methods gets reflected in our bills. Thankfully, we humans are usually shielded by health insurance...with animals the industry is still really in its infant stages. I don't think vets are motivated by greed, I think its just impossible for them to function at much lower prices.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Sometimes it is greed and sometimes it is just a desire to meet the costs. At my last clinic I had four full time employees, plus part-timers, and it was hard just to cover the bills each week. The pet insurance has been around for many years but most owners choose not to get it and are shocked when that big bill hits and they are not able to handle it. It is a sad situation for the veterinarians too because the owners just choose to kill their pet instead of treating something or, like grayareas, just decide to not get another dog.

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