The Cost of Owning a Dog

The Cost of Owning a Dog in 2020

The Cost of Owning a Dog: Initial Expenses


The cost of getting a dog in 2020

When you first get a dog, there can be a lot of initial 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 $610-$2350, depending on whether you stick to the basics or splurge on more expensive essentials.

Adoption fees typically range between $50 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 $35 to $400. However, if you adopt your dog, the adoption fee often covers a spay or neuter. Vaccinations are especially important for puppies, typically costing around $75-$100, and be sure to add in flea and tick prevention, which can range in cost from $40-$200. And don’t forget a pet license and microchip, usually about $10 and $45 respectively.

Next up is all the gear you’ll need to keep your new dog comfortable at home: collar/harness ($5-$50), leash ($10-$40), poop bags ($5-$10), food and water bowls ($10-$50), crate ($30-$150), and a bed ($5-$200). Toys and treats are an important part of any pup’s life, and can cost anywhere from $10-$200 for toys and $5-$15 for treats. Money saving tip: Make your own dog toys with items from around your house.

The average cost of keeping your home and your dog smelling great can vary as well, with dog shampoo and brushes ranging from $5-$20, stain and odor removers $5-$20, and puppy training pads $10-$50. You’ll likely want to pick up some teeth care items like dental chews, which can cost anywhere from $5 to $15. Lastly, make sure you’re prepared for any other medical expenses your new dog may need right away, which can average between $250-$275 for new pet parents.

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. Some dog owners love their collapsible bowl set for $13.99, while others opt for Yeti’s higher-end option.


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 $650-$2,115 per year. Food costs can range widely—anywhere from $200 to $1,000 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 $210 on average per year. Flea and tick prevention (average $40-$200) and heart worm prevention (average $25-$120) are also important annual costs to keep in mind. Keeping your pup’s teeth healthy through regular care and dental chews costs about $60-$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 $70-$145 annually. Yearly costs for toys can vary based on quality and quantity, usually landing between $10-$200. Poop bags cost about $35-$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 $1,645-$4,315 total. Hopefully you’ll never need to make a trip to the emergency vet, but if you do the typical cost averages between $800-$1500. 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 $100-$300.

Some pet parents sign their pup up for pet insurance to offset unexpected medical expenses. Trupanion, a pet medical insurance company, studied over 500,000 pets enrolled on their platform and found that the average monthly cost to pet parents is $51.** Factors including your dog’s age and breed determine the cost, along with your location. The average cost in New York City, for example, is $104, while in San Diego it’s $87 and Albuquerque it’s $34.**

Depending on your lifestyle and schedule, you may decide to book pet care for your pup. Dog boarding averages $35 per night and dog walking averages $20 per walk but varies based on where you live and the dates you select. Dog training is another common additional expense and costs an average of $90 per session. Many people do at-home training themselves to save money and bond with their dog.

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 $40-$70, and depending on your dog’s breed, you’ll need multiple per year. If you’d prefer to not spend money on grooming visits, consider a dog breed with a low-maintenance coat, like a Pit Bull. And who knows! You might want to get matching outfits

Lastly, if you rent your home, you’ll likely need to put down an additional pet deposit before bringing your pup home. This expense usually adds up to about $200-$500 for the average renter.

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: 33% of millennials say they’ve spent more on their dog during the pandemic, compared to just 10% of boomers. The majority of boomers (78%) say they’ve spent the same amount as they usually do on their dogs. That said, 58% of dog owners from every generation say they don’t have a designated budget for their dog at all.

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Tips for dog adoption

Tips for Dog Adoption During the Pandemic

Bringing a new dog home can be both exciting and nerve-racking, but exhilarating nonetheless. Those first few weeks of integrating a pup with your household are focused on learning about each other, setting boundaries and finding a rhythm. Since March, pet adoptions have boomed in response to spending more time at home due to COVID-19. Read our tips for how to adopt and what to do next.

America's Most Popular Dog Breeds

America's Most Popular Dog Breeds

Is your dog’s breed ranked as one of America’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 the US. See which breeds ranked highest in 2020.

Dog shopping at the Rover Store

Shop Breed Products

Head the Rover Store for some of the best pet parent garb and show off how much you love your dog. This collection of items celebrates some of the most popular dog breeds from mixed breeds to pitties. The store now includes pillows, mugs, tote bags, desk decor and more.

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* survey of 1,000 US based pet owners via Attest in July 2020.

**Based on a study of over 500,000 pets enrolled on Trupanion. The average represents costs for a mixed breed dog, enrolled as a puppy, at a $250 per condition lifetime deductible.

Sources: Mud Bay, Petco, Gallant, Seattle Humane, The Humane Society of Western Montana, APPA, AKC, Petfinder, Homeguide

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