While welcoming a dog into your home comes with companionship, endearing tail-wags, and unconditional love, it’s important to consider the financial investment involved before becoming a pet parent. Besides tending to your pooch to make sure she gets enough TLC and exercise, many expenses come with adding a dog to your family. Let’s take a look at exactly what it costs to bring home that doggy in the window or pup from the animal shelter:


According to the ASCPA, the cost of owning a dog per year is $1,001 for a small dog, $1,214 for a medium-sized dog, and $1,448 for a large pooch (this excludes one-time cost of spaying and neutering). The costs can depend on the type of dog, where you live, and the specific needs of your dog. Now let’s dig in:

What are the average costs of a dog?


How much food your pet needs depends on her age, activity level, and size, explains Sadie Cornelius, director of marketing at Canine Journal. “Puppies need less food at each meal, but often eat more meals per day,” says Cornelius. “As they grow into bigger, more mature dogs, they will need more food but less frequent meals.”  


According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the cost of dog food also depends on the type of diet you want to feed your canine. Whether it’s standard kibble from a supermarket chain, low-grain kibble, or a raw food diet, food is pricey. As a result, expect to spend anywhere from $120 to $900 a year.

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How much you’ll spend on grooming your dog depends largely on the breed and where you live. Being a pet parent to a long-haired breed such as a Bichon Frise or Chow Chow will mean more trips to the groomer.

If you live in climates that are warm all year round, you most likely will give your dog’s coat a trim more frequently. The cost per visit can vary, but according to The Nest, you’ll pay anywhere from $30 to $90. You might be able to save if you do some basic maintenance at home with a brush, clippers, and nail trimmer.


You might want to highly consider getting training for your dog, especially if it is a puppy or if there are children in your household, recommends Cornelius. “It’s essential for dogs with behavioral issues to help them live a better life as a member of your family,” she says. “Where you live and the level of personal the attention your dog requires can alter the price, but expect to pay around $50 to $100 per class.”


woman hugging dog

Dog Sitting

If you and your partner are busy at work during the week, you might need to to factor in dog sitting and dog walking fees. If you’re curious how much a pet sitter might cost, it’s contingent on where you’re living. Note that dog sitters in larger cities typically charge more than those who are in smaller, rural areas. The cost depends on whether the sitter will be coming to your home, or you’ll be bringing your pet to them. In addition, the prices might increase when pet sitting is in greater demand, such as during the holidays.

On average, it costs $20 to $40 for daily pet sitting, and can cost $75 to $85 for overnight care. If you plan on taking your dog to a daycare, it can start at $15 for a half day up to $50 for a full day. The yearly costs depends on your lifestyle needs.  

Flea and Tick Medication

Vets generally recommend flea and tick medication all year long. However, at the very least, you’ll want to consider flea and tick medication for your dog during the summer. You can opt to apply treatment by mouth, a topical treatment, or by way of a flea and tick collar.

You might also want to invest in a solid flea comb and flea and tick medication. If you plan on treating your dog with monthly flea and tick topical treatment plus a flea collar, that will cost you about $160 to $180 a year, depending on the brand of treatment. If you plan on using a flea collar plus oral treatment, it will cost roughly $140 to $160 a year. It’ll be less if you treat your dog for only part of the year.

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Pet Insurance

Per the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) annual State of the Industry report, the average annual premium per pet in 2017 was $536, which breaks down to $45 a month. The average claim per pet was $278.


Before you hop on a pet insurance plan, mull over whether it’s worth it. There are some major differences between health insurance for people and dogs. Unlike health insurance for humans, routine care such as checkups and teeth cleaning aren’t covered.


What’s more, you need to pay out of pocket, then submit a claim. There may also be limits on congenital and hereditary conditions. Depending on your situation, it might make sense to set aside money for your pet’s health care needs in an emergency fund. For dogs that are aging or have ongoing medical conditions, you’ll likely need more.

Other Expenses

Besides the basics, other costs of owning a dog include leashes, collars, and toys. While these typically don’t tend to be too expensive, when creating a budget for your dog, don’t forget to factor these items. How much you spend depends on your dog’s needs. Also, there are a number of ways you can save on expenses. You can sign up for a loyalty rewards card from a pet store, or scour promo codes for online retailers.


The lifetime costs of owning a dog per year varies largely on their size. For small dogs, which have an average life expectancy of 15 years, it costs on average $15,051. For medium-sized dogs, which live to about 13 years, it’s $15,782. And for large breeds, which typically live on average 10 years, it can cost $14,480 during the course of their lifetime.


Knowing the costs of owning a dog will help you make an informed decision for you and your family. Beyond splitting the responsibilities to care for a new pal in your home, you’ll want to factor in the costs and how much you can reasonably afford.