Dog Care
The Cost of Becoming a Loving Dog Owner: How Much Money Do You Need?

The Cost of Becoming a Loving Dog Owner: How Much Money Do You Need?

You might be wondering what the cost of owning a dog is. The answer to what do dogs cost may surprise you! There are many different factors that go into the overall costs, such as breed and size, but this article will give you an estimate of what it could cost to own a dog.

what do dogs cost?

Dog ownership is like owning a boat – it’s a never-ending expense. As soon as you bring the dog home, there are immediate needs to be fulfilled.

What do dogs cost?

The first thing we’ll talk about is what do dogs cost? A common misconception is that all breeds are inexpensive; however, some can be quite expensive with prices ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. On average though, the price for a purebred puppy ranges between $500 -$2,500. When it comes to adopting or rescuing pets instead of buying them new from a breeder or store there’s no fixed price.

Rescue dogs – especially large dogs – are often in need of medical attention, spaying or neutering. That in itself isn’t a bad thing – just something you need to consider.

That takes us to Vet Bills.

A vet visit, shots for your pet and possibly being spayed or neutered might be in the works. a new collar may not be in the plan when you’re first starting out. You need to set aside $500-700 just for these costs alone.

what do dogs cost

They have to eat

First, you have to have the right kind of dog food. Food choices are age-graded so that what you feed a puppy differs from what you give an adult dog. There are even foods for both puppies and older dogs with extra nutrients to match their unique needs.

There are plenty of different types as well that have their own rates associated with them such as premium kibble at $30 – $50 a bag or canned food which can be anywhere from $30 – $80 for what is considered to be an average size dog.

We have talked before about how it is important to feed your pup quality dog food – and what ingredients to avoid. If the dog food has things like garlic listed, that is a problem as garlic is toxic to dogs.

You also want to watch out for a lot of fillers. What is a filler? By definition, any filler is an ingredient that adds bulk to a diet without adding any nutritional value. The only ingredients in pet food that fit that requirement are fibers.

Corn and rice are often used as a filler in dog food. Foods with high levels of either of rice or corn (in other words, it’s the first ingredient listed) can also cause chronic conditions in your dog like gas, bloating, and diarrhea

So, do your homework and find out what food you actually want to feed your dog. The good news? When you use a portion of good, quality food, your dog eats less.

Basic equipment

Of course, you have to get food and water bowls the right size for the dog. Puppy bowls are closer to the floor and sturdy to avoid tipping over. Then you need a place for the dog to sleep. That can range from flannel blankets piled up in a box to a fully decked out doggie bed that costs more than your bed.

An outdoor dog needs a place to sleep that’s sheltered from the weather. Simply placing a dog inside a fenced kennel isn’t enough. That’s little better than prison. An outdoor dog needs a solid doghouse.

You can get a cedar dog house suitable for a small dog for around $200 or for a large dog, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for a cedar house that handles weathering well. In extreme climates, your dog needs more than un-insulated walls.

You can add an air conditioner or heating unit to the outdoor doghouse for the cost of the unit plus installation. You can also get an indoor doghouse, which gives medium to small dogs a sense of privacy. A charming rattan indoor doghouse is available for under $200 in smaller sizes.

what do dogs cost

Let’s talk supplies!

Of course, you have to get food and water bowls the right size for the dog. Puppy bowls are closer to the floor and sturdy to avoid tipping over. Then you need a place for the dog to sleep. That can range from flannel blankets piled up in a box to a fully decked out doggie bed that costs more than your bed.

Is your pup going to be an outside dog?

An outdoor dog needs a place to sleep that’s sheltered from the weather. Simply placing a dog inside a fenced kennel isn’t enough. That’s little better than prison.

An outdoor dog needs a solid doghouse.You can get a cedar dog house suitable for a small dog for around $200 or for a large dog, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 for a cedar house that handles weathering well. In extreme climates, your dog needs more than un-insulated walls.

You can add an air conditioner or heating unit to the outdoor doghouse for the cost of the unit plus installation. You can also get an indoor doghouse, which gives medium to small dogs a sense of privacy. A charming rattan indoor doghouse is available for under $200 in smaller sizes.

Next, how much do dogs cost when it comes to medical expenses? This will also depend on the breed of your pet as well as their age and health at the time you take them home. Your veterinarian will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of what your dog’s medical needs for the first year might cost.

what do dogs cost

And don’t forget the toys!

As time goes on, you’ll add to the bounty your dog owns – moving from necessities to frivolous items. Your major on-going expenses will be upkeep with veterinarian shots, food, and grooming.

There should be a few chews to keep teeth clean, and some interactive toys for those dog days when you can’t play. And then there’s that whole mess of leashes and collars in all shapes, sizes, colors…let’s just say we’re not done yet.

The dog toy section is only slightly smaller than what you find in department stores for toddlers. Dog toys range from inexpensive chew items and bones to toy frogs, squirrels or cats that give your dog the sense of mastery over another species.

Seriously, you can totally go down the rabbit hole here – but stick with a few tried and true ideas like our DIY T-shirt tug toy and homemade treats to save a few bucks.

Are you going to do any training?

Most dogs need puppy classes for socialization or even basic obedience. These classes run for 4-8 sessions and can be anywhere from $40 on up to $1,000+. My program to train Tazuna was $2,300 – but it was a 2 week residency program where the dog actually stayed with them for the training.

So, depending on what kind of program you choose to go with, your mileage may vary. You can also look up Youtube training videos – there are a lot of GREAT videos on there to teach basic skills.

You have to follow the rules

When looking at what do dogs cost, you need to obey the general rules. Most local municipalities need you to be licensed and that requires proof of rabies vaccinations, etc.

Most cities also have leash laws that require your dog to be on a leash, under your control when walking in public areas. You need a basic leash that attaches to a dog collar. Dog collars come with matching leashes in neon colors, fine leather, rhinestones, or other simulated jewels (or real depending on your budget).

what do dogs cost

You can go crazy with extras…

The fashionable dog wears designer collars and leashes, which can match your designer clothing so you make a coordinated pair. A practical option for collar and leash is the reflective collar. If you take the dog out after dark for walking or running, the reflective collar is a valuable safety option for both of you.

In cold and wet climates, doggie sweaters or raincoats are practical items. Small dogs really need the extra warmth of the sweater. The trend to dress up dogs in everything from swimsuits to party dresses to Halloween costumes to haute couture quickly runs up the tab for a new wardrobe that you love, but don’t expect every dog to like the idea.

You’ll also find an endless supply of dog training books and videos, dog grooming courses, personal training for dogs and dog exercises. Remember to save some money. You’ll need it for the annual photos of your dog sitting on Santa’s lap!

OK, I might be going a little over the top there but some people go just crazy and aren’t really concerned about what do dogs cost.

Now the good news

If you have a regulated service dog – you can deduct the care, food, and general expenses are a tax deduction. So the cost of buying your pup, feeding it, and its medical bills are deductible under the portion of the medical expenses of your itemized tax return.

In conclusion, what do dogs cost is about how much money you really want to spend, how you plan to treat them, and what time you want to put into it.

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