Dog Budget Calculator

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Adopting a dog is the start of a lifelong love story between you and your furry friend. But how much will they cost you?

Before adopting, it's best to figure out how your dog will fit into your budget.

That way, you can ensure they'll have everything they need to live a long and healthy life.

With this calculator, you'll see:

  1. How much your dog will cost upfront
  2. How much your dog will cost annually

Dog Budget Calculator

How much will my dog cost?

Here, we break down the essential upfront and recurring costs that you can anticipate.

Upfront costs[1]

  • Adoption fee: $50 - $500 for a rescue, up to $4,000 from a breeder
  • Vaccinations: $75 - $100
  • Preventative care (flea/tick treatments, etc.): $40 - $200
  • Spayed/neutered procedures: $35 - $400
  • Microchip: $45
  • Basic necessities (bed, collar, water bowl, leash, etc.): $200 - $400
  • Pet deposit for rental: $200 - $500

Average upfront costs for a dog: $645 - $2,145

Annual recurring costs1

  • Apartment pet "rent" (some landlords charge a small monthly fee in place of a one-time deposit): $25 - $100 per month[2]
  • Food: $200 - $4,800
  • Dog boarding when you travel (kennel, dog hotel, sitter): $35 per night

Average annual costs for a dog: $675 - $6,175

What are the 3 biggest expenses of owning a dog? The adoption fee, spay/neuter procedure and preventative care (flea/ticks) are the three biggest upfront expenses of owning a dog. For recurring expenses, the biggest expenses are food, pet "rent", and medical care (teeth cleaning, vet bills, etc.).

Additional Pet Expenses to Budget for

Most of these additional costs can be reduced by performing them at home (except for medical checkups). Think about the following expenses and add them to your budget when necessary.

  • Dog training: Dog training can help socialize your dog and reduce behavior issues. However, experienced dog owners might train the dog themselves to bond with their furry friend.

  • Grooming: You might groom your dog yourself or take it to a professional groomer. Long-hair breeds require more maintenance than short-hair breeds. Whichever you choose, be sure to practice daily brushing and regular nail-clipping.

  • Yearly check-ups: Just like humans, dogs benefit from a yearly medical check-up. It's a good idea to commit to regular check-ups because it's cheaper to prevent an illness than to treat one.

  • Teeth cleaning: For dogs, teeth cleaning can be a big deal. Many heart and kidney issues are a result of dental disease. Stick to a dental routine and stock up on helpful products like toothpaste and dental chews.

Don't use fluoride toothpaste for dogs: According to the ASPCA, fluoride toothpaste may irritate your dog's stomach. Opt for a dog-specific toothpaste instead of using one for humans.

Is Pet Insurance worth it?

If you think you might struggle to pay for emergency vet services, it may be worth it to purchase pet insurance while your dog is healthy.

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, monthly pet insurance for dogs costs an average of $47.[3]

Still not sure about insurance? Remember: you do have options. Insurance providers usually offer:

  • Accident only: Covers lacerations, motor vehicle accident, poisoning, ligament tears, or ingestion of a foreign object.

    Average monthly premium: $18.17

  • Accident and Illness insurance: Covers accidents plus illnesses like cancer, digestive issues, infections, and more.

    Average monthly premium: $49.51

If you're not sold on pet insurance, another way to prepare for unexpected costs is with an emergency fund. Find out how much you'd need to save up, where to keep it, and what it's good for in our guide here.

Most and Least Expensive Dog Breeds

Some puppies are far more affordable than others. Here's a list of the most and least expensive dog breeds and how much they cost to adopt:

Least Expensive Dog Breeds to Adopt

Dog BreedAverage adoption price
American Foxhound$400
Rat Terrier$400
Miniature Pinscher$500
English Cocker Spaniel$600
Golden Retriever$600
Miniature Schnauzer$800

Most Expensive Dog Breeds to Adopt

Dog BreedAverage adoption price
Irish Wolfhound$2,000
Pharaoh Hound$2,000
Chow Chow$2,500
Tibetan Mastiff$8,000
English Bulldog$9,000

Bottom Line

Whether you're a first-time dog owner or have lots of experience, it pays to be prepared. You'll want to factor in both upfront and recurring monthly costs to your budget.

Remember, it's smart to find the balance between cost-saving practices (like at-home training or grooming) and expenses that are pricey but worthwhile (like regular medical checkups).

The important thing is that your dog stays as healthy and happy as possible to live a long life with your family. Happy adopting!


Holly Zorbas is a assistant editor at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Holly Zorbas at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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