What it Costs to Own a Dog
To be a responsible dog owner, it is important to evaluate the cost of dog ownership in relation to your own personal income. When you take a dog into your life, you agree to take on certain costs that are often vital to the animal’s wellbeing. Sadly, many dogs are given away to rescue centres, or are even put down because their owners can no longer afford to care for them. It is therefore vital you consider the true cost of dog ownership before you bring a new four-legged friend into your home.
There are significant initial costs to consider when you first purchase a dog, especially if this will be the first time you have owned a dog. Dogs will generally cost you more in the first year of ownership than at any other time.
- Vet fees. Puppies will need vaccinations against distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis, amongst others. An initial course of the essential vaccinations will cost approximately £100, with annual booster jabs costing £50. You should also take into account the cost of your dog when it gets older, as elderly pets can often need special food or medication. You may also need to pay for emergency care if your pet is injured.
- Microchipping. It is set to become law in the UK that all new puppies must be microchipped. This costs around £15-30.
- Spaying or neutering. Unless you are planning on breeding with your dog, spaying/neutering is an essential consideration. This operation costs between £50 – 180.
- Equipment expenses. From the moment when you first bring your new dog home, it is important to have all the necessary equipment your dog needs. This will include a bed, a crate, a collar and lead, toys, food and water bowls, and an ID tag. Expect to pay anywhere between £100 – 200 here.
- Grooming equipment. The equipment you need for grooming will vary largely depending on the type of dog you have. Some dogs may only need some shampoo, a comb and a brush, while other breeds will need you to purchase a significant amount of specialist equipment. Initial set up cost here could range between £20 – 200+.
- Puppy training. If you are not an experienced dog owner, you may need to pay for training. Classes cost about £5 -10 per hour, although a series of sessions with a pro trainer can cost in the region of £300.
- Food. The cost of food will vary greatly depending on the size of your dog and the diet you feed it. Specialist diets and large dogs will cost considerably more. Food for a medium sized dog consisting of a mixture of tinned food, kibble and biscuits will cost in the region of £20 per month. You may also need to consider food supplements or special dietary needs, which will again cost more.
- Flea and worming treatments. Treating your dog for fleas will cost approximately £5 a month. Worming costs will be approximately £10 every three months.
- Professional grooming. Some dogs may need only occasional trips to a professional groomer; others may need them as regularly as once a month, or even more. Professional grooming salon sessions generally cost between £20 – 40, but the price can be a lot more depending on the dog’s size and coat type.
- Insurance. This is an additional monthly cost to consider at around £10 – 20 per month.
There are other costs that dog owners should consider. The cost of purchasing a dog in the first place is a significant expense, with prices ranging anywhere from £80-100 for a rescue dog to £1000+ for pedigree puppies. The cost of boarding kennels is also a significant expense. You should consider adding £50 – 300 on to your holiday budget to cover the cost of caring for your animal while you are away.