How expensive is it to have a pet?

Hi everyone —

I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a pet. Here’s the thing, with the exception of short stint of three fish, I’ve never actually had a pet before.

I saw a beautiful poodle up for adoption the other day. He’s three, super sweet and smart, and seems like a great first pet. With that said, I am wary of the maintenance and costs that come along with pet ownership.

For my dog moms/dads out there, how much do you budget for your pets? What’s been the biggest surprise expense? What do you know now about caring for your furry friend that you wish you would have known before you got him/her?


I guess it depends. we have a doodle. They are kind of high maintenance because of their hair. For grooming people spend 75-120 $ every 6 weeks, I learned to do it and it is not that hard, maybe not perfect but much cheaper, plus I do not like my doodle to be shaved and that is what I see it happens to many doodles. we have health insurance 25.00$ monthly, she is 15 months and we have her since she was 8 weeks old, other than regular vaccinations she was never at vets office. Food also depend you can buy cheaper or more expensive. email to dog food companies and they will send you coupons, I got so many buy 1 get 1, free bag of food. For us the most expensive thing is boarding. That is 35-50 $ per day. we do not have any family member that could watch her. It`s worth every penny.



Having a dog can be expensive, but it is worth every penny! A dog will give you unconditional love, and endless kisses and cuddles. It looks as if you have a dog in mind to adopt, so I recommend that you research on breed temperament, health issues, food/diet, reputable veterinarians, doggie day care/pet sitter, etc. I have not gotten pet insurance, so my mom and I contribute $50 each toward a doggie savings account for emergencies. Vaccines and routine health exams can be $300+ per year. I typically home cook for my senior chihuahua with pancreatitis, but ingredients/frozen vegetables can be scarce right now. Instead, I have ordered fresh/frozen from Just Food for Dogs, which cost $100, but with his size, the food will last for months. I try to keep him as healthy as possible, because when he has a pancreatitis flare up, the vet bill can add up ($162+ for one overnight hospital observation). Grooming is $17 (nail trim and anal gland expression) to $30 (full bath + above-mentioned) each month. I have also adopted my dog from a local animal shelter almost 3 years ago. He is the king of the castle!


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Having a dog can be expensive or inexpensive depending on many things. The type of pet, the breed, how well you take care of it, and the personal expenses.

A dog that does not need grooming is much less expensive than one that needs haircuts. It also depends if you can or want to bath it at home, trim nails yourself or not. If not you will have to have it bathed and nails trimmed for almost any dog at least monthly or more. But if you can do that and the dog does not need haircuts then that help.

The diet is important and you can get cheap food or good quality food. I gave my German Shepherd the best food, Royal Canin and he never needed his teeth cleaned and lived to be 13 and was very healthy. Good food is expensive but is better for the dog and saves money in the long run, vet bills, health, dental cleaning, and longer life. His food cost me about $60 for 2 months. You also have treats and toys to consider, better treats, more expensive.

After the initial puppy to 1 year vet bills, if its healthy there is not a lot of yearly expense but you do need monthly flea and tick treatment, they can be cheap or expensive, I used one that was $20 a month and never had any bugs on him ever.

The personal cost is they are like children. If you travel you may not be able to take them so now you need a friend or a kennel which is often stressful for them. Mine got so stressed when I was away, I had to take him with me or not go because the last time he was at the kennel he was so stressed I had to get medication for him when I got back. Also, where do you live, if you don’t own your home, some places do not allow pets so if you have to move that is a concern. Some hotels don’t allow pets when traveling. They do require time, attention and love and a change in your life. If you travel a lot then it may be more difficult unless you have family or friends.

The love, laughter, fun and companionship they give is amazing. I miss mine everyday but I have not gotten another because of the travel restrictions involved. Again, it depends on the breed you choose. A 110lb German Shepherd is a lot different from a 15lb little one.

Do you have a yard for it to run and play, go potty, etc. I never thought about the responsibility of a dog when I was married and we got him. But life and a divorce made me. I had to find an apartment and like I said, all don’t allow pets, I couldn’t travel for longer than 3/4 a day unless he went with me. The unexpected life events changed a lot.

Don’t go cheap on treats and food, its an investment in them and worth it, even at $60 a bag for a month that is less than $2 a day for a great healthy diet, you can’t beat that, we can’t eat that good on $2 a day.

I will get another pet but only after I stop traveling and will not have to worry about that. Just some things to consider, the love they give is priceless, but it is a serious responsibility that does have advantages and restrictions.

Hope this helps a little.20141221_215939


I started tracking income and expenses on a spreadsheet in 2015 so I just looked up our expenses from 2016 (the first year we had our last rescue Boxer). This Boxer was 8 years old when we took her in and 12 when we lost her this past Jan; She was known as a surrender meaning the people who owned her could not keep her anymore, so there were no adoption fees, they gave her to us.

We don’t travel much but often took her with us when we did. I purchased fairly standard but good grade dry dog food. I learned some time ago not to start dogs on wet or canned dog food because it can really drive up the expense. Typically the wet dog food is more something we humans think is necessary and unless your vet specifically tells you to transition to a canned food, it’s just not a requirement otherwise.

We also didn’t spend a lot of money on glorious dog beds; thrift shop puffy comforters were adored and a lot easier to stick in the washer and dryer. We didn’t indulge much beyond a few good toys, a few dry boxed treats for rewards, and showered her with love. We have owned several Boxers, almost all rescues, over years. We are particularly fond of the older rescues because they are usually hard to adopt out due to the fact that older dogs are either already experiencing health problems or likely soon will be.

The best suggestion I can share is to really research the breed you are interested in getting for health issues and temperament. We love Boxers, but they are highly over-bred by backyard breeders and puppy farms who do not consider the consequences of doing such. It perpetuates the health issues (to use Boxers as an example) like cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, mouth ulcers, and other known breed problems. Many dogs have allergies that require constant monitoring and medications.

I would say most of the major expenses we’ve had have been vet and medical bills. Flea and tick meds, allergy meds, annual shots and vaccines, and meds and testing needed when they become ill. We have had dogs with issues that require taking them to a specialist for serious illnesses…$$$$$. There are no specialist fees included in my figures below because our last Boxer did not need a specialist. She had mild allergies, mouth ulcers that required rounds of antibiotics, and cardiomyopathy which meant she was a high risk for any surgery that required anesthesia.

I don’t breakdown the differences between food, boarding (rarely) or vet/meds, just an annual expense. No dog groomer fees ever, unless you’d rather have someone else bathe them or clip their nails. We just lost our last Boxer in Jan this year, so especially 2109 and 2020 was heavy on vet and med bills. We are avid dog lovers, taking a break, then another one will find us! I’ve mentioned the downside, but the benefits of owning pets outweigh the financial costs for us

2016 $2141.00

2017 $1721.00

2018 $1477.00

2019 $2826.00

2020 $580 (January only)

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Some good information from pet owners! We used to have cats as pets and it got to be too much. We became so restricted by having them…work and travel were the 2 main circumstances. It was nearly impossible to care for them properly. I would listen to my friends and co-workers talk about taking their pet to the vet for wellness and illnesses, they can get really expensive with the diagnosis and treatments.

After inheriting a 75 lb German Shepard from my in-laws (they could no longer care for it because of their illness) our life style changed dramatically. We found ourselves stuck with a farm animal that had acres and acres to run to where we lived on about a quarter acre. It was unfair to the dog and came down to an obligation of caring for a dog we did not want to take care of. Ours was the wrong home for this animal. Finally it was taken by a family member who had a similar lifestyle to what the dog was used to.

We realized health can change and so can a pet’s, be prepared with a contingency plan, put aside $, maybe an insurance policy. Consider a budget for pet care added onto an existing budget, plus all the pet up keep can be easy or staggering. It depends on your life style and breed of the animal. Another thing to think about is what happens if your pet injures someone or another animal. There are loads of animal lovers out there who say, my dog would never bite.

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I have two dogs and I wouldn’t trade the cost for the world. I had a rottie who had many health problems his whole life and mulitple surgeries. The one thing i would suggest is shop for pet insurance, you will never know how much of a god send it can be…it helps pay for wellness visits and it those unexpected items that may come up during your dogs life.



0984DF22-18A4-4277-820D-470904961F34I’d say it’s all relative. You can expect upfront costs to be a lot to get all the supplies you need. I created an Amazon list and doc for new dog essentials with links.

New dog list:…8ANYES?ref_=wl_share

Google doc:…xr8G-805mP2MzrJw2LNM

Our dog Brooks is a Havanese, doesnt shed, hypoallergenic, small enough to take traveling with us everywhere. He’s traveled the world - Italy, Mexico, London!

Definitely get pet insurance. You just never know and an emergency can cost you thousands if you dont have it. We use Pumpkin which includes yearly flea & tick and 3 vaccines/yr.

Brooks eats only organic dog food-Castor & Pollux organic grain free kibble and Honest Kitchen dehydrated for his wet food. We also give him Mary Ruth’s organic probiotics daily.

I also groom him myself - bath, haircut, nails trimming, teeth brushing- because they shaved him his first cut and I was not pleased. Agree with other person not hard to do once you get the hang of it. Saves lots of money! Grooming wipes, dental wipes, and poop bags are on monthly reorder as well.

I used to buy him toys all the time but now I just use old socks and squeaker refills to make his old toys like new again.

I’d say biggest consideration is your time up front. Brooks graduated from Puppy Kindergarten, Small Dog Obedience, and later in life got AKC Canine Good Citizen certified. A well trained dog is such a joy and I see so many people not put in the effort or get the dog for reasons that don’t take into consideration the dogs’ needs.

He doesnt require a ton of exercise but if you get a dog that does that’s a huge factor. Walks, playing fetch and socializing are so important.

Brooks is a member of our family. Before Covid pandemic he came into the office with me 2-3x/week. He’s a happy, loving, amazing dog because we took the time to train him and bond with him. It’s what all dogs deserve!

As others have said, dogs are the most expensive of pets, in money and time, they can also be the most rewarding in love and attention. Is the poodle a standard or a mini? Big dogs require A LOT more than little dogs for food, space, training, medical care, and boarding. Also, you say it is 3, so I assume it is in a shelter, but you don’t say why. Was it an owner surrender or just stray? Why? Find out. If it was because of a move or job change, no prob. But often owners will surrender a young dog, between 1 and 3, because they have not put time into training it as a puppy, and it has developed behavior that is uncontrollable. As a brand new dog owner, DO NOT GET A DOG LIKE THIS. Only experienced dog owners with many years of caring for a variety of dogs can train adult dogs out of bad behaviors, and even then, they can spend hundreds of hours and dollars rehabilitating a dog like that. Be honest with the shelter volunteers/sellers about never having a dog before, so they steer you to dogs that are sociable and already partly trained. Also, do you work full time, have a yard, live with other people? Keep in mind that dogs are super social. They need to be around other people and dogs to feel well. Years ago I adopted a beautiful, gentle, sweet shepherd cross that had been brought back twice by two different people! Turns out that both adopters worked full time and left her alone for 10 or more hours a day. She had figured out how to clear a 6-foot fence to go wandering about for companionship. She never once did that at our home where kids and adults were coming and going and I was a stay-at-home mom. By the time I went back to work, we had adopted another smaller dog, so neither one was ever home alone. Do you travel a lot or work long hours? Don’t get a dog. Dogs left alone for long periods of time develop all sorts of problems. And kenneling is outrageously expensive. So, all that said, my relationships with my dogs over my life have been some of the most joyful, loving, and fun! Plan about $500-$1000/year for a dog until it becomes a senior (10-11 for a big breed, 14-15 for a small breed), then double that for the remaining years of its life. Senior dogs need more care and medical maintenance as they age. I personally do not think pet insurance is worth the money. While a dog is young and middle aged, there are very little extra costs that insurance covers. In an emergency situation, if you have a savings of $2000, you can pay. This is rare. dogs get expensive when owners cannot bear to let go, and then surgeries and cancer treatments can run into the thousands of dollars, and that is typically what pet insurance covers, but in my experience, these treatments only extend a dog’s life a year or two more towards the end. If you are unlucky and your dog is young and develops cancer, then you have a tough decision. But again, that is fairly rare. Go for it if all these considerations are good for you, and you have the time and the extra ?. You won’t regret it. And if any of these is a no, maybe consider a foster situation where the dog can be easily returned, or a cat instead. Good luck!

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Hi, I have been a pet owner of different types of pets over the years and I totally agree that owning a pet is the best thing, but you do have to figure the cost of the ownership into your budget and not hope to wing it and get by. On the average for a year, you need to include all the needs of your specific pet, which include besides food, vet care (you do need to vaccinate) medical insurance, bedding, dishes for the pet to eat their food in, toys, harness, leash, toys, etc… You should at minimum spend between $1340–$1800 yearly, maybe more if you pamper your darling. Just don’t overextend yourself financially plan it out.

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I don’t have a dog since I live in a small apartment, but I do have four rats that are like dogs in that they can learn tricks, are very loving, and recognize me. I’ve grown up with dogs, and they’re a huge responsibility. I’d take it, though, but my one bit of advice for any pet is get pet insurance or sign up for CareCredit. CareCredit has helped me pay my vet bills on a timeline that works for both me and the vet, and sometimes has no interest for a year. Just don’t be late for a payment.

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I’m a dog trainer. My first two dogs cost more because I didn’t know what I was doing. After an incident with my 3rd dog who nipped at 4 people I was going to have her put down because the breed (Australian Shepherds) is not supposed to have any kind of aggression. Talked to a trainer and 11+ years later I train people who have dogs. The best advice I can give you is to feed your dog HIGH quality food. It’s expensive for a bag (depending on where you live), but it’s much cheaper in the long run. We now have 8 dogs (not all by choice). We’ve saved a few from being put down due to poor ownership. Also, find a dog trainer that isn’t solely positive reinforcement. It’s very politically correct to be their friend, but that almost never gives you a well behaved dog. Dogs like children need structure.

When you do things yourself (grooming can be very pricey) our business spent less than $4,000 on food, supplies, medical expenses. That’s less than $500/year/dog. Mine are not only pets, they compete at obedience trials, they go on trips to the mountains and lakes.

You’ll spend plenty first starting out, but once you get the idea of how to maintain a healthy dog, it’s not nearly as expensive as a lot of people spend on their dogs.

@maryann posted:

Hi everyone —

I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a pet. Here’s the thing, with the exception of short stint of three fish, I’ve never actually had a pet before.

I saw a beautiful poodle up for adoption the other day. He’s three, super sweet and smart, and seems like a great first pet. With that said, I am wary of the maintenance and costs that come along with pet ownership.

For my dog moms/dads out there, how much do you budget for your pets? What’s been the biggest surprise expense? What do you know now about caring for your furry friend that you wish you would have known before you got him/her?

Lots of good questions. The first thing I would do is to make sure this is what you want to do. Dogs are different from cats. They need more love and attention most of the time plus they need to be walked. It matters what type of breed you select. Poodles are cute but I would look into their temperament before you get one. You also need to know if they are good with kids. Bigger dogs tend to be more expensive because they have bigger food and they eat more. 16lb bag prices can range from $13 to almost $30 depending on the brand. I would get as big as I could carry so I wouldn’t have to go back so much and throw in a 1/4 of a can of wet dog food for flavor or scent. Heck I don’t know what it tastes like? You can use regular bowls for doggie bowls or buy some for$10-$50. The biggest expense is medical. It’s one thing to get shots for a puppy and annual shots but surgery can be expensive if your dog is still young and you’re not ready to let him/her go. I remember hearing one at $3,000. I don’t remember what it was for. Then there is pet insurance which I didn’t get. Didn’t really need it. Although I should have gotten pet life insurance the family dog did try to kill himself once. He jumped off the porch and was hanging by his leash. I heard him barking funny, (Guess he changed his mind) so I picked him up and got him untangled and said, “Dude this family is not that bad c’mon.”

I highly suggest you get pet insurance. There are a lot of them out there so just check them out. It is well worth it.

My dog is 15 years old and was always healthy til the last year and then she started having some various health problems. She also had to have a toe amputated due to the nail growing abnormally. At the moment, I owe my vet about $3,000 for the amputation, teeth cleaning and some various other things like xrays, blood tests, etc.

It depends on the size of your dog how much medicines and grooming might cost. You’ll need heartwork and flea and tick treaments for sure which is a once a month pill/application. For treats and toys, I spend probably around $50/month. Dog food is dependent on the type you get. I have mine on a prescription dog food but she won’t eat dry without having a little canned on top of it. has good prices on food and they ship for free really fast.

The most important thing is you love your pet and are willing to take care of it. You’ll need to have someone to care for it when you go on vacation or if you have a long day at work, it will need to be let out and fed. Basicall, it’s a llittle like having a kid.

Is it worth it? You bet!!! But again, get pet insurance. You’ll be glad even if you don’t use it the first few years.

I have a grand dog. She is an American Bully, AKC registered. My daughter has pet insurance. I would recommend starting a pet emergency fund, and adding at least $50 a month, or more, even with pet insurance.

‘How expensive is it to have a pet’ is an arbitrary term. Pet costs can be:

Cost to purchase a pet - $50.00 from a shelter, $2000.00 from a breeder.

Veterinary expenses - Outside of serious medical issues, just yearly checkups and vaccinations. Maybe $250.00 yearly.

Food - cheap food = cheap ingredients, while pricier food is generally healthier.

Costs to your mental/emotional health - PRICELESS. That said, 'Money can’t buy happiness, but in the case of a pet, yes, it most certainly can!

It also depends on where you live, what type and breed you get and your level of responsibility.

Irresponsible pet parents have been guilty of having and aggressive pet and it attacks another animal, a child, spouse or them and it can cost a life or forever traumatize and scar someone for life.

Be a RESPONSIBLE PET PARENT and the love and smiles you share will be priceless.

I had a German Shepherd named Bootz, Boo for short. He lived to be almost 13 years old, impressive for his breed. He was my best friend and honestly saved my life. He was 110lbs and protective as could be, but to me and anyone in my home, he was a big teddy bear. I want another one so bad but my current and near future does not allow it to happen but hopefully I will at some point.

If you REALLY want a pet partner, get one that fits you and your world. That way they will be involved and not left out. If you like the water, get one that loves the water. If you like and have lots of time to play, get one that likes that, get one you can do things with, not leave at home while your doing things.

Just a thought, sorry for the long post.

This is how he slept with me every night, and if I didn’t go to bed on time, he would come get me.

2013-03-25 23.32.21

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