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Cost of Owning a Dog in 2024

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 04/16/2024

Thinking of getting a dog? Canine companionship offers plenty of perks, but there are also many expenses. Before bringing home a new four-legged friend, potential pet parents should consider the cost of essentials such as food, health care, grooming, training, and more.

We looked at common expenses pet owners face when getting a dog. We’ll also explore a few ways to offset costs, such as by getting pet insurance to help with vet bills.


How Much Does It Cost To Own a Dog?

Different dogs have different needs, and pet owners want various lifestyles for their dogs. That makes it hard to nail down how much it costs to own a dog. There are, however, typical expenses. Every dog owner must invest in dog food, vet care, toys, a leash, and other necessary supplies. Then, there are the expenses you may not think about up-front, such as medical emergencies, boarding, training, dog walking, and microchipping.

We reviewed common pet expenses and their average costs. Here’s what the typical pet parent can expect to spend per year:

Year-One Costs*Annual Costs*Extra Costs*

$1,600

$850

$1,500

*Average costs are based on price ranges provided in the tables below.

Some breeds are more expensive than others, mostly because they require more vet care. Some of the more expensive breeds are the following:

  • Chow Chows
  • French bulldogs
  • Rottweilers
  • Saint Bernards
  • Samoyeds
  • Tibetan mastiffs

Lower-cost breeds include the following:

  • Beagles
  • Bichon frises
  • Chihuahuas
  • Dachshunds
  • Terriers

Necessary Dog Expenses and Costs

What each pet owner considers necessary may vary, but most pet parents agree that there are essentials, such as food and grooming, as well as reasonable needs, such as a bed, leash, and toys, that fall under this category. 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of common items most pet parents purchase in their first year of dog ownership and how much they cost. Costs vary based on brands, locations, the amount and type your dog needs, and the frequency of use.

ExpenseAverage Cost for One Year

Food and treats

$250–$600

Bed

$50–$200

Crate

$25–$125

Vaccinations

$100–$350

Routine vet visits

$100–$450

Toys

$25–$150

Leashes and collars

$15–$75

Preventive medications and supplements

$50–$400

On the lower end, expect to spend around $750 for a one-year supply of these items. The higher end comes to approximately $2,400. Many of the items on this list, such as crates, collars, and beds, are one-time purchases. Some items, such as dog toys and leashes, can last for years. You won’t need to spend this full amount every year once you have many of these items.


Optional Dog Expenses and Costs

Other expenses may not be necessary but will likely come up, depending on your preferences and lifestyle. If your dog isn’t potty trained when you bring it home, you’ll likely spend some money on dog training pads and odor removers. You’ll go through many waste bags if you live in a more urban area or have a homeowners association (HOA). Here are some common additional expenses that come up for pet owners.

ExpenseAverage Cost Per Year

Potty training pads

$20–$200

Waste bags

$80–$200

Shampoo and brushes

$20–$80

Dog walking

$20 per walk

Carrier

$20–$100

Stain and odor removers

$10–$30

Microchipping

$70–$100

Dental cleaning

$400–$550

Spaying and neutering

$35–$500


New Dog Expenses

In addition to the essentials, some costs involved in getting a new pet relate to your dog’s breed, your location, and how you acquire your dog. For instance, if you’re adopting a dog, adoption fees can cost up to a few hundred dollars. When buying from a breeder, plan to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for most breeds. If you rent your home, you may be required to pay a one-time pet deposit, which often ranges from $100 to $500.

 


Other Dog Costs To Keep in Mind

Other costs will also come up, depending on what you think your dog needs. Here are some of the most common expenses to consider.

Unexpected Health Costs

Your dog is bound to experience an accident or illness that needs medical attention, be it a vet exam, treatment, lab test, surgery, prescription medication, hospitalization, specialist care, or anything else your vet recommends. Pet health care can get expensive fast. Below are some of the most common dog conditions that require veterinary care and their costs.

ConditionPotential Treatment Cost*

Gastrointestinal issues

$29,000

Skin conditions

$4,100

Bone, ligament, or muscle pain

$11,500

Ear infections

$13,000

Eye conditions

$7,600

*These potential vet costs are based on the highest covered claim filed for each condition with Healthy Paws Insurance according to a report it released based on 2019 claims. Your cost could be lower or higher. 

Learn more about how pet insurance works and common pet insurance costs

Grooming

Every dog breed needs some sort of grooming. Depending on your dog’s hair and what it’s exposed to, grooming costs can vary greatly. Dogs with long hair or coats that require more maintenance must be tended to more frequently. For example, poodles may need to be shaved monthly to control hair growth, whereas short-haired dogs, such as pit bulls, can get away with less frequent grooming.

Regardless of coat, most dogs need a shampoo and nail clipping every few weeks or months to control odor and stay well-maintained. A typical grooming session that includes basic services such as washing, hair trimming, and nail clipping starts around $30, though some groomers may charge as much as $150.

Dog Sitting and Boarding

If you travel, you can’t leave your dog at home unattended, so you’ll need to find a good dog sitter or kennel that can board it while you’re gone. The national average for boarding is $40 per night per dog. A professional pet sitter averages around $30 per day and $60 per night. 

Training Costs

Most pet owners find some level of training valuable. Basic group training classes at your local pet store or training center will likely run around $250 per year. If you choose to hire a one-on-one professional trainer to come to your home and work with your dog, costs will be much higher.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance can offset the cost of some of your dog’s expenses, primarily vet care. Most pet insurance providers offer an accident-and-illness plan you can use to get reimbursed for accident or illness-related pet care, such as surgeries, medications, hospitalizations, and other treatments. Some providers also have plans for routine preventive care, such as annual checkups, grooming, dental cleanings, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and more. 

To receive pet insurance coverage, you must pay a monthly premium that’s calculated based on your location and your dog’s age, breed, and health. Depending on the policy you select, you can be reimbursed anywhere from 70% to 100% for qualifying vet bills. Most providers have you pay out of pocket at the vet after treatment, then file a claim online. Once approved, your reimbursement will either be sent via mail or direct deposit.

Several factors can affect your monthly premium. The older your dog or the more prone it is to certain illnesses and conditions, the higher your premium will be. Certain breeds and locations are also more expensive. Expect to pay between $30 and $50 per month for relatively healthy adult dogs. Puppies will cost slightly less, though senior dogs (10 or more years old) will likely cost more than $100 per month.

We recommend the pet insurance providers Lemonade, Spot, and Healthy Paws due to their industry reputation, coverage, customer reviews, and options for deductibles, annual limits, and reimbursement rates.

Learn more about what pet insurance covers.

More Pet Insurance Resources

Browse other helpful pet insurance articles below.


Our Conclusion

Dog ownership is far from inexpensive. Giving a dog a healthy, happy life requires investment, so make sure it’s in your budget before taking on the responsibility. Your dog may not need everything on this list, but you should be financially prepared for unexpected costs to arise. 

Remember that having a pet insurance plan can cut down on the cost of emergency vet care and some routine wellness care, such as grooming and annual checkups. To get the coverage you want at a price you can afford, check out our list of the cheapest pet insurance providers. 

You can’t put a price on a dog’s love, but you can put a price on everything your dog needs. Budget wisely to make dog ownership a great experience for you and your pup.


FAQ About Owning a Dog

What is the average monthly cost of owning a dog?

The average monthly cost of owning a dog varies based on dog size, breed, and needs, but small dogs typically cost an average of $45 per month, whereas medium-sized dogs cost around $55 and large dogs cost approximately $85.

What are the three biggest expenses of owning a dog?

Dog health care, food, and services such as grooming, boarding, and walking are the three biggest expenses of owning a dog. 

How expensive is it to own a dog?

The up-front costs to get a new dog average around $1,600. Annual costs typically cost in the $700–$1,000 range. That doesn’t include optional expenses, such as potty training supplies, house-cleaning supplies, microchipping, and other fees that aren’t required but are often spent.

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