Costs of Owning a Dog – Dog Ownership Cost [2021]

Dog Ownership costs can take people by surprise. The little costs add up over time and then next thing you know your begging for money on a street corner to keep your dog’s bowtie collar pretty and your dog fed!

Dogs Want to Be Taken Home

Well maybe that’s an exaggeration. Seriously though before getting a dog you should know the costs. There are significant costs buying your first dog and there will be monthly costs trying to keep them fed and healthy as well! We have compiled a list of costs for owning your to help you budget and decide what’s best for you! A summary of these costs are listed blow:

Purchase from a Breeder$400-$4000
Adopt a Dog From a Shelter$300-$370
Get a Dog From a Private Owner$440-$965
Routine Veterinary Care$212
Surgical Vet Visits$426
Kennel Boarding$229

Dog Purchase Price

Four puppies Siberian Husky. Litter dogs in the hands of the breeder. Newborn puppies with eyes closed

The initial costs of buying dogs can vary greatly depending on what you are looking for. If you are looking for the highest pedigree Spanish Mastiff you are going to pay a lot more than someone looking for a small mixed breed dog for instance from a shelter.

Regardless of where you are buying your dog from make sure you understand the costs associated with each! Read below to find out!

Buying From a Breeder

American English Coonhound Dogs

Buying a pure bred dog from Breeders can be one of the most expensive routes.

When buying from a dog breeder you are expecting a healthy dog that will live a long life.

When buying a pure breed dog you might be looking for a good hunting dog, a good cattle dog, or just a great dog for the family!

Whatever the reason, all pure breed dogs have specific traits they were bred for. Dog Breeds typically have genetic mutations among the breed that causes various issues depending on the breed.

What should my Breeder be Doing?

  • Deworming – Make sure your breeder is deworming all of their puppies.
  • Vaccinating – Make sure your you breeder is
  • Testing for Genetic Defects
  • Raising your Dog Humanely

Dog breeds can vary greatly in cost. We won’t go into details on each breed here but prices can vary greatly. Some common breeds can go for $500 or more. Be wary of these breeders however, you want to make sure you are not buying from a puppy mill or irresponsible breeder.

If you are looking for a world class hunting or herding dog for instance you can pay upwards of $4000! There are many different types of dog breeds to choose from so research the one for you!

Cost to Buy a Pure Breed

$400 – $4000 One Time Cost

Adopting a Rescue Dog

Dogs at Pound

Around 3.3 million dogs enter shelters every year according to ASCPA. Here is another article that’s a very interesting read about pet sheltering and homeless statistics. There is an endless supply of dogs to choose from at pounds, shelters, and other dog rescues.

“Rescuing a dog could mean saving a life of a great dog.”

About half of all dogs that go into shelters or pounds get euthanized.

That being said, rescuing dogs is nor for everyone. Dogs that find themselves at rescues usually came from harsh environments with abuse or just generally unhealthy. Rescue dogs may need training and veterinary care to address health issues.

So if you get a rescue be prepared to spend some money on training and vet care to address any issues.

How much does it cost to get a rescue dog?

To start you will need to pay registration fees. You can expect to pay the following registration fees:

Dog AgeFee
Puppies (2 mos - 1 yr)$170
Adult Dogs (1 - 5 yr)$150
Senior Dogs (6+ Yrs)$100

After adopting your dog you typically will have some vet expenses. You will need to at a minimum have your dog examined by a vet after bringing them home. Dogs are around many other dogs in shelters that can contract illnesses, diseases, and parasites. A vet examination can help find these issues early and get them addressed.

  • Initial Vet Visit – $200

Some expenses that should be covered by your rescue are spay/neutering. Also the rescue should be doing basic vaccinations, deworming, and any other health treatments.

Cost to Rescue a Dog

$300 – $370 One Time Cost

Buying Puppies from Other Owners

When buying puppies from other owners there are some expenses that you will need to pay for yourself. Typically people selling puppies had a pet that had a litter and they are looking to get rid of the puppies.

Puppy Litter

When buying a puppy from a private owner the typical health checks done by the rescues or breeders are not done wo you will be on the hook to make sure all puppies have their shots, are dewormed, and are spayed/neutered. Here are expenses you have from private owners:

  • Deworming – $15
  • Vaccinations – $75-$100. Read here what vaccinations are needed over a dogs lifetime.
  • Spay/Neuter – $200-$500
  • Initial Vet Exam – $150

After all of these expenses factor in the cost of the dig itself. For this situation we estimate a dog can be anywhere from free to $200.

Cost to Buy a Dog From a Private Owner

$440 – $965 One Time Cost

Lifetime Pet Costs

Dog with Piggy Bank

Now that you have your dog don’t forget they will need to visit the vet, be groomed, fed and played with. Yes just like you your dog is going to need the occasional surgery or dental exam.

The 2019-2020 APPA National Pet Owners Survey provided an average yearly expense owners have reported for dogs. A lot of the figures stated are based on this survey results.

Veterinarian Dog Ownership Costs

Dog and Cat getting vaccine

After the puppy stage you will need to keep your dog healthy with yearly vet visits and other random health related costs. Dogs can stub toes, step on sharp objects, get hit by cars or have cavities just like people. You may need to take them to the vet for vaccines or to deal with a burr in it’s toe! Plan on a yearly expense to address these items.


Your pet will need to stay up to date on schedule Vaccinations. Read here to find out all of the vaccinations your dog needs throughout it’s life.

Dog Routine Vet Costs

$212 Annually

Surgical Costs

Dog at the Vet

Sometimes pets do have the unfortunate experience of needing surgery for broken legs, digestive system issues and other related issues. The yearly costs we have here is averaged over the lifetime of a dog and can actually increase as the dog ages. These dog ownership costs are typically a one time expense but on average the following cost was reported by owners.

These costs include Dental Costs as well.

Dog Surgical Vet Visit Cost

$426 Annually

Grooming Costs

Your dog needs groomed! How else are they going to look good for their friends at the dog park?

Grooming consists of the following:

  • Fur Cuts
  • Trimming Nails
  • Checking ears
  • Brushing
  • Bathing

On average owners have reported spending under $100 per year for these items. This is a lot less than people spend on themselves! Dogs just look good naturally.

Dog Grooming and Aid Cost

$73 Annually

Dog Food Costs


Dog ownership food costs can vary depending on what type of food you buy. Prices range a lot per lb. of food. To give an idea of the monthly expense you will incur the following feeding chart gives an idea of how much food a day a dog needs:

Weight of DogAmount of Food Per Day
5 pounds1/2 cup to 5/8 cup
10 pounds3/4 cup to 1 cup
20 pounds1 1/4 cups to 1 3/4 cups
40 pounds2 1/4 cups to 3 cups
60 pounds3 cups to 4 cups
80 pounds3 2/3 cups to 5 cups
100 pounds4 1/4 cups to 6 cups

For the largest dog we will say they eat around 6 cups of food per day. There are about 4 cups per lb of dog food.

For a 31 lb. bag of Kibbles and Bits you will pay around $20. This bag has 31lb x 4cups of food or 124 cups of food. So you are paying $20 for 124 cups or $20/124 = $0.16 per cup.

Per day you are spending about $0.96 per day on food or $30 per month. This equates to around $360 a month for a large dog! smaller dogs of course eat less and can cost less than 1/4 the price or $90 a year.

There are many different types of foods. We compiled a list of the most high quality dog foods here.

On average according to the APPA national pet survey the consumers reported spending the following annually:

Annual Dog Food Cost

$259 Annually


Dog Food

Life is not as fun without treats! You can probably go without this expense but why?

Your dog loves getting treats and you can use treats to train. There are 2 great reasons alone to buy treats for your dog!

Dog Owners reported spending under $100 annually on treats.

Annual Dog Treat Cost

$76 Annually

Dog Toys

Puppy Toys For Dogs

Again, what dog doesn’t like toys? You don’t expect your dog to stare at the wall all day do you? From the puppy teething stage to adult dogs that play frisbee, dog toys are so much fun for dogs and owners alike.

Another thing to keep in mind is dog toys are relatively low cost. Most owners reported spending less than $100 annually on these as well. The following price was based on a national survey as well:

Cost to Buy a Dog From a Private Owner

$48 Annually

Boarding Your Dog

This is not paid by all dog owners. If you take your dog with you everywhere you don’t have to worry about paying this expense. However if you go on vacation or can’t take your dog for whatever reason you will need to Board it.

These costs are typcially per night like at a hotel. Owners on average reported the costs spent on boarding:

Cost of Dog Boarding Annually

$229 Annually

Dog Accessories

Cute Puppies

This is one of the fun parts of owning a dog. You will need a leash of taking them out to public places. Dogs also need collars to hold tags in case they get lost. Another expense could also be a dog vest if you want to keep your dog warm or just want an alternative to a collar.

There are many different accessories you can buy to make your dog adorable and customized! Some accessories you may need are the following:

This is not an exhaustive list but we think owners will end up buying at least 3 leashes and collars of each of these over an average 12 year dog life.

Cost of Dog Boarding Annually

$10 Annually


This category is here because the APPA national survey had this data. Providing dogs with vitamins can help your dog live longer and happier. If you give your dog vitamins regularly you can expect to spend the following:

Annual Dog Vitamin Cost

$48 Annually


Owning a dog is a great experience. After all they are living beings! Why not treat them like they are?

These costs can all vary greatly per owner and dog type. In general smaller dogs are less expensive food wise as well as vet wise.

Do you have any thoughts on our article? Leave a comment. We would love to hear what you think!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top