How much does it COST to own a DOG?

I’m so glad you asked!!! After over 33 years of owning dogs, I have to say that an ounce of prevention goes the farthest way. There are things you can do to SAVE you money that many people never think of. And here are the biggest mistakes people make that cost them money when they own a dog:

  1. Not purchasing Pet Insurance. This one hit me right between the eyes and gave me a black eye a time or two. We never “expect” our dog to chew through a stick that had an old rusty piece of barbwire in it. $3,000, please! OUCH! Or…oops…the neighbors decided to put chemicals on their lawn and spray toxic things. Your dog accidentally eats/drinks something that takes you to the veterinarian, which results in a hefty bill! And these days, there are so many procedures we can do to make our dogs live longer—so why not do it if you have the chance??? Insurance will SAVE you money. Check out Healthy Paws, AKC, and Nationwide.
  2. Feeding a dog food that they think is “cheaper” or “the best” without doing their research. This one is the hardest for me to convince people of. If you put junk in, you get junk out. Like Americans with junk food and their inactivity and lack of proper nutrition, our dogs can suffer chronic, annoying (even painful!) debilitating conditions simply because we are not giving them a species-appropriate diet. My favorite research I ever did was to take the premium food I feed, which costs $70 for 44lbs (free of all the legumes, soy, and non-species appropriate dog food ingredients), and compare it to other premium foods. When you break it down to price per POUND (or per meal), I found out that the “cheapest” (grocery dog food—bits and bits of it…LOL) actually cost MORE to feed than my super-premium food because you have to feed MORE! I took about ten supposed (and well-known) separate high- quality premium foods and compared ingredients lists and price and found out that I don’t deal with ear infections, allergies, hot spots, etc., because I invested in good food.  Plus, your dog will live longer and thrive—in the end, isn’t that what we really want??? Compare your dog food here.
  3. They over-spend on accessories. Well, HECK—I do—LOL—have fun with that! But set a budget. You can get good quality supplies at Big Lots or Walmart and spend under $100 for bowls, leash, bed, etc. But if you go with Orvis—well …it’s going to be pricey. But again, if it’s’s in your budget…have a BLAST!!! We all LOVE to spoil our dogs! I GET IT! 
  4. They over-exercise their dogs too much when they are young and end up spending tons of money on torn ACLs, broken limbs, or arthritis from over-exercise before the growth plate is formed (24 mos). That will cost you and cost you and cost you for the life of the dog. I can’t stress this enough. See my blog on “Over-exercising” your dog.
  5. They spay or neuter their dog too early and cause a HOST of conditions that will chronically affect their dog for their entire life. See ARTICLE. If you take away your dog’s hormones before the growth plates are even done growing, they will have joint and bone issues for life. You’ll end up with surgeries, drugs, and therapy. And your dog will suffer for it. Please hear me on this. You’ll be so glad you researched the article above.
  6. They fail to research breeders and health clearances to get a healthy start from the get-go from decades of careful breeding and weeding out of defects within a particular kennel’s bloodline. Breeders spend our entire lives devoted to improving our breed. If you know nothing about your dog’s genetics, much less at least five generations back, how do you know if they will even make it to the age of 5? With Labradors, in general, we know that hip dysplasia, cataracts, cancer, diabetes, and heart conditions (amongst many others) run in the breed. Therefore we do stringent health clearances on all of our breeding stock to ensure we’ve done all we “can” do to prevent certain conditions and illnesses which, in the long-run, will most likely save you money in surgeries later. Not to mention lengthening your dog’s life too! (what we’d ALL love to do!)

So what will you need for your new dog??

Two stainless steel bowls of the proper size for your dog. ($1-5 at the Dollar Store) I love the non-tip, non-skid bowls!

Breeder recommended dog food ($40-$70 every 40 days)

Freshwater (preferably bottled for the first ten days then transition slowly to your water)

Dog Bed ($19 at TJ Maxx or Walmart). We LOOOVE this bed—and our dogs do too!

Brush (Shedding brush if your breed sheds a lot) We love this “off-brand” Furminator-type brush.

Collar/Leash (We recommend a slip collar that does not bind or retain offensive odors) But you can find one at the Dollar Store or Dollar General for $5-$15)

Appropriate chew toys and various dog-safe toys of multiple textures, sizes, and noises. Just keep this in your budget and look for DOG SAFE toys, so you don’t end up with a swallowed piece and a bowel obstruction or worse.

Pet Insurance (between $25-$70/ month depending on the plan) If you DON’T do this, be sure to save for the unforeseen trip to the vet.

So I did not include vet expenses…I tried to show you how to AVOID them, which I think is better!!!

On a Budget- $100 (not including insurance)

Luxury Pet Supplies (up to $500)


Leave A Comment