The Cost of Owning a Dog

The Cost of Owning a Dog in Canada 2020

The Cost of Owning a Dog: Initial Expenses

The cost of getting a dog in 2020

When you first get a dog, there are a lot of one-time expenses. It can seem daunting at first, until you realize it’s all about settling your new pup into their new life! The all up total for these one-time costs is typically between $1,350-$3,250, depending on whether you stick to the basics or splurge on more expensive essentials.

Adoption fees typically range between $250 and $500, but can balloon into the thousands if you choose to buy a puppy from a breeder instead. Regardless of where your pup comes from, if they aren’t yet spayed or neutered, that surgery can cost anywhere from $350 to $800. However, if you adopt your dog, the adoption fee often covers a spay or neuter. Vaccinations are especially important for puppies, and typically cost around $300-$500. And don’t forget a pet license and microchip, they can cost up to $60 and $90 respectively.

Next up is all the gear you’ll need to keep your new dog comfortable at home: collar/harness ($14-$70), leash ($10-$50), poop bags ($2-$10), food and water bowls ($2-$50), crate ($60-$300), and a bed ($6-$170). Toys and treats are an important part of any pup’s life, and can cost anywhere from $10-$200 for toys and $1-$15 for treats.

The average cost of keeping your home and your dog smelling great can vary as well, with dog shampoo and brushes ranging from $5-$25, stain and odor removers $15-$40, and potty pads $5-$50. You’ll likely want to pick up some teeth care items like dental chews, which can cost anywhere from $2 to $15. Lastly, make sure you’re prepared for any other medical expenses your new dog may need right away, which can cost around $150-$250 for any non emergency bill.

Like all things, expenses can range depending on your dog’s breed and size but also your own preferences and lifestyle as a pet parent. Before getting a dog, take a look at the price ranges for each expense and determine your budget and priorities.

The Cost of Owning a Dog: Annual Expenses

The annual cost of owning a dog

After covering the initial one-time expenses to settle your pup into your home, there are also annual costs to keep in mind, which add up to an average of $840-$2,385 per year. Food costs can range widely—anywhere from $450 to $1,200 per year—depending on the brand and how much your dog eats. Some dog parents opt for fresh dog food instead of dry or canned, often through a home delivery service, which can cost closer to $4,800 per year.

Routine vet visits are a must and cost $115 on average per year. Flea and tick prevention (average $140-$300) and heartworm prevention (average $40-$115) are also important annual costs to keep in mind. Keeping your pup’s teeth healthy through regular care and dental chews costs about $45-$180 annually.

We can’t forget treats, toys, and poop bags—most pups and their parents would consider these essentials! Treats, which can be a big help in training your dog, cost the typical pet parent anywhere from $50-$180 annually. Yearly costs for toys can vary based on quality and quantity, usually landing between $10-$200. Poop bags cost about $25-$60 a year for most dog owners.

The Cost of Owning a Dog: Additional Expenses

Additional potential expenses of owning a dog

While these expenses may not come up for every pet parent, it’s important to keep surprise costs in mind, which can average between $890-$5,735 total. Hopefully you’ll never need to make a trip to the emergency vet, but if you do the typical cost averages between $200-$2,000. Teeth cleaning is another expense not every pet parent opts for, but if you decide to schedule a cleaning be prepared to pay anywhere from $175-$660.

Depending on your lifestyle and schedule, you may decide to book pet care for your pup. Dog boarding averages $40 per night and dog walking averages $20 per walk. Dog training is another common additional expense and costs an average of $115 per session.

If you have a breed with a coat that requires regular maintenance, like a poodle or Havanese, this is one cost you’ll want to keep in mind: grooming. A typical dog grooming appointment costs between $100-$200.

Lastly, if you rent your home, you might need to put down an additional pet deposit before bringing your pup home. This expense usually depends on the province you live in, but can add up to a month’s rent deposit.

Boomers vs. Millennials: Pandemic Pet Spending

Millennials vs Baby Boomers in pet spend

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we spend money, including on our pets. However, it seems that there’s a bit of a generational divide between how dog parents have been spending on their dogs recently: 26% of millennials say they’ve spent more on their dog during the pandemic, compared to just 12% of boomers. The majority of boomers (82%) say they’ve spent the same amount as they usually do on their dogs. That said, 56% of dog owners from every generation say they don’t have a designated budget for their dog at all.

Learn More

Tips for dog adoption

How to Adopt the Right Dog for You

Bringing a new dog home is life changing and a commitment for more than a decade. If you’re thinking about adding a new dog to your family, read our tips on how to chose the right dog for you and your lifestyle.

Canada's Most Popular Dog Breeds

Is your dog’s breed ranked as one of Canada’s favorites? From beloved mixed breeds to popular purebreds, we looked at Rover’s database of more than a million pet parents to discover some of the most popular dog breeds in Canada. See which breeds ranked highest in 2020.

*Rover.com survey of 500 Canada based pet owners via Attest in July 2020.

Sources: Petsmart, Walmart, Rawco, Petsmart, Canada Petcare, Petplan, Trupanion, Toronto Humane Society, Toronto city council, Vancouver Humane Society, Vancouver city council, 1800 Pet Meds.

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