How Much Does It Cost to Take Care of a Dog?

According to 2012 estimates, 36.5% of households own a dog. This makes up over 43 million homes in the US. On average, 1.6 dogs are owned per household, adding up to nearly 70 million pet dogs in America.

Adopting or buying a dog for the first time is an exciting experience, but it doesn’t come without its share of responsibility. Even though you may be a sucker for that puppy in the window, counting the costs will help you to determine if you can afford the time and money involved in caring for a new pet.

Can You Afford to Own a Dog?

Based on rough estimates, it could cost anywhere from $700-$3000 a year to own a dog. Much of the initial cost comes with selecting a dog in the first place. If you decide to buy a purebred puppy from a breeder or pet store, you could pay up to $2000 for your new furry friend.

Yet due to the common problem of overpopulation in local animal shelters, animal advocates recommend scouting out shelters to adopt a new pup. While you can find purebred dogs in an animal shelter, there are also plenty of mixed-breed dogs to choose from. Basic animal shelter adoption costs range from $50-$200.

After adopting or buying a dog, you’ll need to get your pooch to a veterinarian stat. Your dog may need vaccinations, medications, and other health treatments to correct any illnesses that may have been contracted in a crowded shelter setting. This is one expense that many pet owners often overlook; your first vet visit could cost you up to $300.

Don’t Forget to Buy Dog Supplies

After you’ve done everything you need to adopt and care for your pup, your work isn’t done just yet. Before bringing a dog home for the first time, you’ll need to buy a complete selection of dog supplies and equipment, including dog food, a leash, a collar, a bed, and toys to play with.

Most new pet owners will do well by investing in a basic dog obedience class or training course, especially if you’ve adopted a new puppy. Group puppy obedience training in a community center or pet store could cost roughly $100 for 4 to 8 one hour sessions. Older dogs with more serious behavioral issues may need to be enrolled in a private one-on-one training class that could cost $100 an hour.

After you set aside the money you need to bring home your new companion, don’t forget to sock away extra cash for an emergency. If your pup gets sick or is hit by a car, it could cost you hundreds of dollars in emergency vet bills out-of-pocket.


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