A fluffy dog poses with some bags of money.

The Cost of Owning a Dog

If you’ve never owned a dog before, surprise! They cost money to have as pets! From buying or adopting a dog to routine monthly purchases such as food and toys, owning a dog is a significant financial responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Your dog expenses can vary significantly depending on what breed of dog you have. There’s a big difference between owning a German Shepherd or Mastiff and owning a Yorkshire Terrier. The first two can grow to be about the size of a small child, whereas the third can fit in a purse on your shoulder.

The Costs of Buying vs. Adopting a Dog

The first expense you’ll have depends on whether you choose to buy your dog or adopt one from a shelter. You can buy a dog from a breeder or even a pet store, but expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars just to bring your new pup home. If you have a specific breed in mind and are willing to dish out the money, you might decide to take this route.

But be forewarned that some dogs can be extremely pricey. For example, the average cost of a french bulldog puppy is around $2,200, with top-quality Frenchies that have outstanding breed lines ranging from $5,500 to $10,000. Yes, you read that right. The recent popularity of these dogs has caused their prices to sky-rocket, with everyone wanting one. If you’re interested in French Bulldogs, learn more about them here.

The other route you can take is to adopt a dog from a shelter. With the number of dogs in shelters across the United States exceeding three million per year, consider adopting a dog before you decide to buy one from a breeder or pet store. Here are the reasons you should adopt a pet vs. buying one.

The cost of adopting a dog is considerably less than buying one. So much so that you can adopt a dog for as little as $50-100 sometimes. Puppies typically cost a bit more, but that’s just because the shelter will usually have them fixed or neutered before putting them up for adoption, in addition to giving them all of their necessary shots and vaccines so that they’re ready to go once you take them home!

Financially, adopting vs buying is no comparison as adopting is considerably cheaper in all cases. At the end of the day, it comes down to your preference. If you aren’t set on a specific breed for your next dog, then adopting should be the way to go. There are plenty of adorable dogs at your local shelter that would love to come home with you.

The nice thing about shelters is that they have a variety of dogs of different breeds and sizes. If your family isn’t necessarily ready for a puppy, you can adopt an older dog that’s likely already been house trained, keeping you from having to go through the pains of training a dog. In some cases, this is the route people decide to take.

Additional Dog Expenses

So you’ve decided that you’ll spare your family the financial burden of buying a dog and you choose to adopt instead. You bring your new pup home, and now what? Well, the most important thing you’ll need to buy right away is dog food. Your pup has to eat! Depending on the brand and the quantity of food that you buy, you might spend anywhere from $10-50 on a bag of dog food. Now, the size of your dog is important here, as a 15 lb bag can last a small dog a while, but if you’ve got a large dog or even a medium-sized dog for that matter, you might be making bi-weekly trips to the store for dog food. Those costs add up quickly over time.

Next up, you’re going to need a cage or crate where your dog will sleep at night and stay while you’re away from home. This can cost you anywhere from $50-150 depending on the size and quality of the cage. Remember, if you’ve got a puppy, it’ll grow — fast. So you’re better off planning for the future when it comes to buying a cage. You don’t want to buy a smaller one and then 4-6 months later wind up back at the store for another one because your dog outgrew it. A cage should be a one-time purchase if you think ahead.

When it comes to toys, you’ll have to get a feel for what kind of toys your dog likes and has the most fun with. This can take some trial and error until you figure out your dogs’ preferences. And even when you do, if they’re a chewer, you might be making additional trips to the store to replace the toys they’ve destroyed. But, if toys are the only thing they’re destroying, you’re in luck. Shoes, furniture, and much more can be in jeopardy when you bring a new dog into the house, unfamiliar with its surroundings. If you’re willing to spend a little more on your dog toys, look into some smart pet devices for your dog. Some of these cool toys can keep their attention for hours.

Similar to the yearly check-ups that we have to make sure we’re healthy, dogs also require frequent visits to the vet. Every year, or even every six months for that matter, you should be taking your dog to the vet to ensure they’re healthy and everything is okay. This is also when they’ll get any shots and vaccines that they require. Vet visits, of course, add up as well. Not to mention if your dog gets sick and you have to take them in to see what’s wrong. Medical bills quickly add up as your dog begins to age, so you might want to choose a pet insurance plan. You can determine what’s right for you and your dog.

How to Save Money on Your Dog Expenses

Now, all these costs may seem a little overwhelming at first, but there are a couple of things you can do to save money on your dog expenses. A few of these include making your own toys, scheduling preventative vet visits so as to keep your dog healthy, creating a pet budget to track your spending, avoiding expensive accessories like leashes and collars, grooming your dog at home rather than at a professional groomer, and keeping up-to-date with vaccines. It might not seem like much, but a couple of dollars here and there will have you saving a significant amount in the long run.