Owning a dog can seem like all fun, games, and heart-melting Instagram picture moments. However, there is so much more to being a dog parent than all the good times with your furry best friend.
If you are considering getting yourself a dog, it is crucial that you understand the true cost of owning a dog. This is exactly what we will get into in the sections below from the cost in terms of general financial investment to specific costs like healthcare and food.
That way, you know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you bring your new fur baby home with you. Let’s get right into it.
How Much Does A Dog Cost In A Lifetime?
The estimated lifetime cost of owning a dog is between $27,074 to $42,545. This varies a lot depending on different factors, of which the specific breed of dog is regarded to be the most important one.
The dog breed further determines other factors affecting the cost of owning a dog including health status, lifespan, food needs, and many other breed-specific costs.
Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay tens of thousands of dollars all at once. If you have a healthy dog and take good care of them, you may not even have to spend as much as the estimate. However, the first year’s costs are almost impossible to avoid regardless of the dog breed.
On average, dog owners spend about $1,600 to $2,000 within the first year of owning the dog. This is much higher than the approximately $1,000 to $1,500 estimate for subsequent years.
This is because the first year includes a lot of first time purchases you may not have to make later on. These include essentials like bowls, dog beds, and toys. With investment in the best quality products, these are purchases you may not have to make again for your dog.
Why Is Buying A Dog So Expensive?
To put it simply, buying a dog is costly because breeding them is expensive. This is why you will need a bigger budget when getting a dog from a breeder than when you go for one from a rescue shelter or dog adoption platform.
What makes breeding expensive are things like stud fees and the cost of taking care of the pregnant female. Stud fees are usually much higher for rare or prized dog breeds.
The cost of taking care of the pregnant female on the other hand is usually high with dog breeds known for having problematic pregnancies and deliveries. This is common with small and toy dog breeds.
In addition to these factors, dogs can be expensive simply because they are popular. Hype and high demand as a result of cultural trends are usually enough to drive up prices for even the most common of dog breeds.
However, it is important to remember that there are several unscrupulous characters out there chasing a quick buck. The last thing you want is to pay marked up prices for puppies you could have gotten for much less.
Generally speaking, you shouldn’t spend more than $1,000 for a mixed breed with most falling under the $500 price point. For purebred dogs, on the other hand, the prices vary depending on the breed. However, you can get decent purebreds for $500 to $800 from honest breeders.
How Much Does It Cost To Feed A Dog Per Day?
It costs about $0.50 to $2 per day to feed a dog.
This works out to be about $20 to $60 every month for one dog. The specific amount you end up paying per day or month on dog food will depend on two key factors.
Depends On How Much Dog Is Eating
The amount of money you pay for dog food is directly proportional to how much your dog is eating in a day. The more they eat, the more you pay.
The amount is further determined by numerous factors including the dog breed and size, their activity levels, age, and appetite trends.
This, of course, does not mean that you should cut back on food amounts to save yourself some money. Make sure to feed your dog the recommended daily amount no matter how much it costs you. Your dog’s well-being is invaluable.
Type Of Dog Food
The second very important determinant of the daily cost of feeding your dog is the type of dog food you choose to invest in.
It goes without saying that not all dog foods are created equally. The type and quality of ingredients used play a huge role in determining how expensive the food is.
Again, you should never skimp out on the quality of dog food just to save money. It is truly better to spend that extra amount and have a healthy dog than to have to pay extra vet bills due to poor nutritional status.
Fortunately, there are several dog food brands that strike a healthy balance between affordability and quality. We recommend Pet Plate which is food that your dog will enjoy and benefit from without breaking your account.
How Expensive Is A Vet Visit?
How expensive a vet visit is depends on what services you are taking your dog to get. Routine vet visits range between $45 to $55 in most veterinary clinics. The specific amount depends on things like the dog breed, the age of the dog, your location, and the specific clinic.
If you are taking your dog to the vet for common services like vaccinations, deworming, flea treatment, or other regular, simple interventions, it should not cost you more than $100.
For more serious interventions like medical treatment with hospitalization or surgery, the costs get really high especially if you do not have pet insurance. These can cost anywhere from $500 to as much as $3,000 or more depending on the circumstances and service.
With costs getting this high in very serious incidents, it is best to have pet insurance.
What Is The Average Cost Of Pet Insurance Per Month?
The average cost of pet insurance is $30 to $50 per month. However, it can be as low as $10 and high as $100 per month depending on cover and terms offered by the company.
Factors like the dog breed and dog’s age are the biggest determinants of how much you have to pay. Some pet insurance companies have specific premiums for specific dog breeds or for dog breeds grouped in similar categories. However, others just have general packages for all breeds.
If and when it comes to age, most pet insurance companies have specific age-related premiums. You may find that your premium payments go up by a certain percentage as the dog grows older.
The other major determinant of how much you have to pay in pet insurance premiums is the actual services covered.
Most companies divide the covers into 2 types, accidents and illnesses.
Accident covers are more general and include services for management of incidences like serious wounding, fractures, and poisoning among other emergencies.
Illness covers on the other hand cover things like age and breed-related illnesses as well as routine services like vaccinations, deworming, neutering and many others.
The actual services covered vary greatly from one pet insurance cover to another. If your budget allows it, go for the company that covers the most interventions from regular routine visits to interesting services like herbal vet treatments.
Are Dogs A Lot Of Work?
Yes, dogs are a whole lot of work.
On average, your dog will require at least 1 hour of your day every single day as long as they are in your care. This is for things like feeding, playing for exercise, grooming, and taking them to the vet.
In addition to the time investment, you will also have to invest a lot of your physical and emotional energy. Most dogs are very social and love nothing more than spending time with their owners.
This is their way of developing socially and bonding with you. If you do not invest as much energy as they are, your dog will notice and may start to get distant which is very uncharacteristic of most breeds.
The physical energy also means actually working on playing with the dog. Remember that actual exercise is a huge part of growth and a promotion of health and wellness for a dog. If this is something you cannot manage, invest in things like interactive toys, ball launchers, or even dog walkers.
How Does Owning A Dog Improve Your Social Life?
Owning a dog can truly change your life and improve your social life by changing your perspective on life in general.
How do dogs do this? Here are a few of their life-changing perks.
Improved Positivity And Esteem
There is something incredibly rewarding about raising a healthy and happy dog that greatly impacts self-esteem. This positive and non-self-centered approach helps put the important things in life in perspective.
When you have an actual living creature fully dependent on you, the associated responsibility makes it difficult for you to dwell on meaningless stresses of life.
This can actually change your social life by making you a more comfortable, self-confident, and accommodating individual.
Offer Social Support
Dogs also improve your social life by actually serving as your social support system. For this, you have to find dog breeds that thrive as solo companions. These include dogs like Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers.
Some of these dog breeds are so smart and intuitive that they end up truly being your best friend and simply making life more livable.
Networking With Other Dog-Lovers
Being a dog owner opens you up to a whole world of dog enthusiasts just dying to hear all your funny pooch stories or to like all the photos you obsessively take and post about the dog. You will be surprised just how many friends you can make online through your dog.
You can also make friends in real, offline life from places like dog parks or even from the vet waiting room.
Gives You A Reason To Go Out
Dogs also improve your social life by giving you an actual reason to go out whether it is taking them out for a walk around the neighborhood or to the vet clinic. This comes in very handy for people with serious social anxiety.