Sparkles and Sunshine: How Much It Costs To Own A Dog

How Much It Costs To Own A Dog

Monday, August 13, 2018

Happy Monday!

Having any pet is a big responsibility. In addition to that, it can be very expensive. Having a dog isn't cheap, but it's one of those things that you need to know before you really invest in one. Never get a dog until you know you can provide, because it's not just your life anymore, it's theirs too. I know, I sound like a total mom but that's what you become. A dog parent! Below is a breakdown of the different costs associated with having a dog. Keep in mind that these costs can vary depending on where you are, what type of dog you have, etc.



  1. Vet Visits
    1. Usually, a regular visit to the vet costs anywhere between $35 to $45. That is the cost for the vet to just see the dog before adding anything extra. That can include medicine, shots, or anything else that could have come from your visit.
    2. In addition to any random vet visits you may have, every animal (dog or cat) has an annual check up. This includes yearly shots plus regular tests like checking for heart worms. In order for you to get any kind of flea prevention (which we'll go into next), they have to be tested for heart worms yearly.
  2. Flea/Tick Prevention
    1.  Each month your dog has to take flea prevention medicine. Now, there are multiple types out there, but the best in my opinion are: Sentinel (flea, heart worm, round worm, hookworm, whip worm, and tapeworm prevention), Trifexis (all of the previous minus tapeworm), Bravecto (flea and tick prevention). We used to just have Diesel on Trifexis, but now he is on Sentinel + Bravecto for that added tick prevention. The Sentinel pill is once a month and the Bravecto pill is every three months. Usually the total cost for both is over $100 but the cost is really determined by how many pills you buy. Most vets only carry a certain amount of dosages and online you can get more. You can almost always get a rebate if you buy a certain amount online too! Plus, the price of the pills are determined by weight, which can make it more expensive for some dogs than others. 
    2. NOTE: Not all dogs can be on the same flea prevention. Some dogs actually get upset stomach's from certain brands. It could be trial and error but you'll find out what works best for you, plus your vet should have a good recommendation!
  3.  Spay/Neuter
    1. If you adopt a rescue dog, usually they'll include the cost of the spay or neuter with it (if not already done), or they'll give you a certificate for when you can do it later on. If you buy a dog from a breeder though that is not included. Some counties offer spay/neuter programs that can really bring down the cost of that. Usually the cost for this procedure is determined by the size of the dog and to spay a girl dog is more expensive than to neuter a dog (more complex of a procedure). The cost for these can vary from $100-$400.
  4. Food
    1. This cost really varies on what your dog likes. However, JUST BECAUSE THE FOOD IS SUPER EXPENSIVE DOES NOT MEAN IT'S THE BEST FOOD. I can't stress that enough! You will see some dog food out there that costs like $60-$80 a bag. Sometimes it's worth it (if you know what to look for) but most of the time it's just overpriced. Similar to flea prevention, it could take a few tries to figure out what your dog likes/doesn't react to. Diesel has a somewhat sensitive stomach, so it took us a few tries to figure out what he likes. Plus, some dogs can actually get bored of their food and will stop eating it because they're tired of it. We had that happen once too and one of my mom's dogs does that a lot. Currently Diesel loves Nature's Recipe's Grain Free Chicken, Sweet Potato and Pumpkin recipe. I actually did a blog post about it here
  5. Toys
    1. This cost is also determined by how destructive your dog is haha! Some dogs actually enjoy their toys and will make them last. For those types of dogs, you can get a decent plus toy for $10 or less. Some dogs hate toys and they just give you this look like well, what do you want me to do with it? And then there's dogs like Diesel who don't let toys last longer than one minute haha! A lot of big dogs are destroyers. Most of Diesel's favorite toys start at $10. Also, most big dogs need bigger toys so that they won't choke on them and the size of the toy also is factored into the cost. Definitely know now that any toy that says "indestructible" is a lie. You can still try it and know that it probably will last longer than a regular plush toy, but they'll still get their teeth through it at some point.  
  6. Treats
    1. This kind of goes back to the dog food but it's slightly different. With treats, you do pay for quality most of the time. I will say though that most good dog treats are not cheaper than $7 a bag and that usually isn't the biggest bag. However, I like to keep those types of treats for training/extra good dog purposes and for regular things, I have a giant box of large milk bones that I get from Sam's Club. We always give Diesel a milk bone before we leave the house for work everyday just so that being home all day isn't seen as a really bad things since he gets a cookie. 
  7. Beds
    1. I will say this now: if you have a smaller dog, this will be cheaper. So many things about smaller dogs are cheaper because they don't require as much fabric for collars, or bedding, etc. Even when you go to buy a crate, a smaller one is cheaper. However, for this you also pay for quality. Diesel has a $30 dog bed from TJ Maxx that he LOVES, a $40 dog bed from Sam's Club that he loves, and a $100 orthopedic (a.k.a. better than my bed) dog bed that he sleeps on daily too. 
    2. Dog crates can be really expensive. However, depending on how big your dog gets, you may only buy one crate in your life, or you may have to buy two or three. Either way, it's an investment that you should get at the beginning because crate training is key when you first get a dog. If you ever have to board a dog, travel with a dog where a crate is required, leave them in a crate while you go somewhere, it's important to have that skill mastered from the beginning. If you're looking at bigger dogs, most dog crates start at like $50 to $60 and can go all the way up to $200. Again, this could be a one-time investment though!
  8. Grooming
    1. Depending on what type of dog you get, you may have to pay for grooming. Dogs with shorter hair like Diesel or a boxer, can get away with a cheap curry comb that gives their fur a good brush and spreads around the good oils in their fur. If you start getting into Labrador Retrievers, you will need to invest in either a furminator brush or something that gets into the undercoat of the dog. Those types of dogs really shed (year round but even more in the summer) and this is something that needs to be done to keep them cool and to help keep the vacuuming down in the house from two times a day to one haha! If you have a longer coat dog like a Wheaten Terrier (Diesel's best friend Neville) or even a poodle, you will have to keep up with the grooming since their fur gets so long. I know Neville's owner usually gets Neville groomed every few months or else his fur gets in the way of his sight, and since we live in Florida he can get too hot. 
  9. Puppy Costs
    1. Now, if you decide to get a puppy, not only do you have all of the above, but puppies require multiple rounds of shots at the beginning before they can be around other dogs, be taken our in public (where they can be exposed to things almost like babies), etc. Every vet does it different, but the series of shots lasts between 6-16 weeks of age. This can also vary on how old they are when you get them since some shots might have already been done. Always ask when you get them what they already have/what is still needed! 
  10. Accessories
    1. Every dog needs a collar/harness and a leash. The price of the collar depends on the brand, size, and what it's made out of. Similar to the leash. The bigger the dog the more expensive the collar (but the price usually only goes up by a few dollars as you increase size on a collar). If you have a dog that doesn't go after the leash when you walk them, then you can usually get a pretty cheap leash for under $10. If you have a dog like Diesel, who likes to play with the leash as he walks and is a toy destroyer, you might need something a little tougher. If you don't, he could chew through it and who knows what could happen next. We invested in a paracord kong leash from Petsmart for like $30-$35 when he was a puppy and it was the best investment we ever made. We've had it ever since!
  11. Training
    1. There are many options out there for training. You can invest in personal dog training (more expensive) or you can do dog training at places like Petsmart or Petco. Each round of training at Petsmart was about $100. If you enjoyed one class and wanted to continue with more, they usually have a discount for your next class. I prefer dog training that is done in groups like Petsmart because it teaches the dog how to learn with distractions and it socializes them at the same time which is extremely important. 
  12. Lots of love!
    1. Luckily this is free and will be your favorite investment. Dogs are so loving and caring and only want to shower you with tons of kisses! If you give them a ton of love, you'll get a ton of love back!

I hope this post was insightful and that it helped you prepare for you future best friend! If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them! Thanks for reading. :)

Photography: Alondra Vega Photography

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