There’s no cutting corners when it comes to proper dog care. Your pooch needs high-quality food and regular vet visits, along with flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, training, toys, and more. Below, we’ll discuss average expenses, broken down by one-time, monthly, and annual costs:

One-Time Costs

Adoption: $0-$500


The cost of adoption can vary greatly depending on a shelter or rescue group’s fees. Some organizations charge more for puppies and specific breeds.

Initial vet visit and vaccines: $105-$350


In some cases, the first veterinary visit is included in the adoption fee. This initial visit typically includes a thorough examination and immunizations. Most shelters have their dogs spayed or neutered prior to adoption, saving new pet parents up to $200.

Microchipping: $45


A microchip is a permanent ID for your dog and can be inserted by a veterinarian. Some shelters and rescue groups include microchipping in the adoption fee.

Collar and leash: $30


Opt for a high-quality set that properly fits your pup. In some cases, shelters and rescue groups provide these essential items.

Food and water bowls: $5-$50


Stainless steel is an excellent choice, as it’s lightweight, durable, and easy to clean; however, your pup will be just as happy with a set of budget-friendly bowls.

Dog Bed: $10-$225


Standard dog beds are fine for most dogs, though many pup parents choose to spoil their canines with orthopedic or heated options.

Carrier and/or crate: $50-$200


Choose a carrier or crate that is large enough for your dog to fit comfortably. If you adopt a puppy, you may need to purchase a larger carrier and/or crate later on.

Training: $110


A quick Google search will connect you with reputable dog trainers in your area. Be sure to read reviews, and call around to compare services and prices.

Average one-time costs: $355-$1510

Monthly Costs

Food: $40-$60


Treats: $5-$10


Nutrient-rich dog treats can benefit your pup’s health, and they’re also a great reward. Dogs can be finicky, so it may take some trial and error to find a treat your canine loves.

Flea and tick prevention: $10-$25


Your dog will need monthly flea and tick prevention treatments. You can often save money by purchasing multi-packs of these medications. Most manufacturers sell these treatments in packs of six. There are topical and oral medications, sprays, shampoos, and powders to choose from. Check with a veterinarian to see which type of treatment is right for your pup.

Heartworm prevention: $5-$10

Dogs can easily contract heartworms from infected mosquitos, but preventative measures greatly reduce the risk of this serious and sometimes fatal disease. Luckily, heartworm prevention is inexpensive, and most packs include six treatments.

Oral care: $10-$20


Investing time in your dog’s oral care could save you big bucks later on. Most pet experts recommend a minimum of 2-3 at-home brushes per week. Dental sticks can help remove tarter and plaque, as well as freshen breath.

Toys: $5-$30


You don’t have to break the bank to keep your pooch stocked on toys. Tennis balls are a great inexpensive option. If you’d like to spoil your pup, consider signing up for a subscription box dedicated to dogs, such as BarkBox. Mailed monthly, these boxes are filled with fun surprises and offer a great way introduce you and your canine to different brands and products, including toys.

Pet Insurance: $10-$100

Some pet owners choose to purchase health insurance for their four-legged family members. Prices vary greatly depending on coverage, the pet’s age, and his or her general health. While the monthly premium may seem pricey, keeping pets insured offers pup parents a safety net; this optional insurance comes in handy for emergency vet visits, surgeries, etc.

Waste bags: $5-$20


The days of using plastic grocery bags to scoop poop are long gone. With so many budget and earth-friendly options on the market, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a waste bag that works for you.

Average monthly costs: $90-$275

Miscellaneous monthly expenses

Depending on the needs of you and your dog, you may need to consider one or more of the following additional expenses:

  • Professional nail trimming: $10-$25 per appointment
  • Professional grooming: $30-$90 per appointment
  • Dog walking: $10-$20 per 30 minute walk
  • Dog daycare: $12-$38 per day
  • Boarding: $25-$50 per day
  • Puppy pads: $15-$35 per box

Annual Costs

Vet visits: $235-$300

It’s important to schedule annual checkups for your dog. The veterinarian will conduct a thorough exam, check for any problems, and give your pup any necessary vaccinations. After the first year, a booster is typically administered every 3 years. Most pet experts recommend professional teeth cleaning once or twice per year, which can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000 depending on the need for anesthesia. Some dogs also need additional veterinary care for breed-specific medical conditions.

Dog license: $5-$15

Most states require pet owners to license their animals. Fees tend to be much lower for pets who are spayed or neutered. Many states offer a discount for senior citizens and individuals who are disabled. Lifetime licenses are also available for purchase in most states.

Average annual costs: $240-$315

Can You Afford a Canine? 5 Money-Saving Tips for Dog Owners on a Budget

If the price of dog ownership seems exorbitant, we have good news! While skimping on nutritious food, good vet care, and the other above-mentioned costs isn’t an option, with plenty of planning and a cost-conscious mindset, you can give your pup everything he or she needs without breaking the bank. Simply follow these money-saving tips:

1. Avoid Overfeeding


Overfeeding has been linked to many health complications in pets. Nutrient-rich food and treats will help keep your pup healthy, active, and happy, as long as they’re offered in moderation. Ask your dog’s veterinarian how much and how often to feed your canine, and follow those recommendations.

2. Take Advantage of Special Offers


The pet food and supply market is highly competitive, and there are always money-saving coupons and discounts available. Many pet suppliers offer reward programs for frequent shoppers, and coupons can be found in newspapers, magazines, and online.

3. Consider Reduced-Cost Vet Care


Lots of animal shelters and veterinary schools offer low-cost services, including vaccinations, dental care, and even spaying and neutering. Always read reviews before taking your pet to a new veterinarian or clinic to ensure your pooch will receive great care.

4. Find a Pup Sitter


Boarding and dog daycare fees can add up quickly. Instead of spending a bundle on these services, consider asking a friend or family member to watch your pup while you’re at work or out of town. While compensation is sure to be appreciated, a sitter will likely charge much less than costly alternatives.

5. Skip the Unnecessary Stuff


Sure, it’s hard to resist a flashy collar, fancy toys, and extravagant spa services, but your dog would much rather spend time with you than be pampered by a professional and showered with unnecessary gifts.

Canines are Well Worth the Investment

A dog just might be the best investment you ever make. Not only do canines offer an endless supply of unconditional love and companionship; they often make their owners happier, healthier humans, and you simply can’t put a price on that.