How Much Does Your Dog Cost a Month?

Updated on August 23, 2012
J.M. asks from Doylestown, PA
16 answers

J. wondering how much the average person spends on a dog.

Do you have pet health insurance?
Is health insurance for them worth it?
if so what company do you use and prices? I talked to petsmart and they are 40 per month which includes neutering and then there are no cppays for visits.
Price of food a month?
any other incidentals?

J. trying to figure out how much our future puppy is going to cost us. we're looking for a golden retriever if size matters for your answers

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answers from Houston on

Kind of like asking "how much does a kid cost?". Not bashing, J. saying.
So many factors, Science Diet dog food or Walmart brand. Monthly heartworm pills, flea prevention, getting hit by a car, cancer, running away...
J. enjoy.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Topeka on

Nothing since I can't get myself over the outrageous cost of having an animal

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Food is around $40/month. Flea/tick prevention and heartworm prevention (pretty basic health care stuff) run about $200/annually, so $17/month on average? Then annual shots and physical run around $200? So, that is about $900 per year for a healthy dog. We have a German Shepherd, so similar in size to what you are talking about.

Throw in toys (the frisbees that she and we like are about $4.50 each and wear out every few months), chew sticks or bones, Christmas treats, etc. I'd guess another $50-75 a year.

Then, when we vacation and can't her, we pay around $20 a day for care for her, either at a kennel or a dog sitter to come take care of her at our home. Every time we go anywhere overnight. That adds to the costs of your vacations and long weekends.

Those are J. "basics". Our dog suffered some sort of issue a few years ago that resulted in some seizures, and we almost lost her. She is now on daily meds for seizures and thyroid issues. And that runs about $30 a month plus regular blood work (every 4-5 months or so) to check her levels.

All in all, I would say that having a dog is NOT cheap. Worth it if you can cover the expenses, but not cheap at all. You definitely need a line item in your budget for the dog.

The initial outlay for supplies (not including puppy shots), were $30 for a small crate, then $60 for the XL one after she grew; $30 or so for bowls (on a stand), $20 for a decent collar and leash, and a variety of dog beds over the years.... the liners for crates run around $35 and UP... the bigger they are the more they cost. Bed in front of the fireplace, $45 online.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Between food, medication and vet visits we average $100 per month. That does not include spaying and yearly shots. We bathe her ourselves and trim her nails so we don't pay for any grooming. We do have to pay to kennel her (an in-home doggy daycare ran by our vet and her husband :) a couple times a year when we go on vacation and can't take her.
We don't have pet insurance, but with the medical issues Daisy has it would have been a good idea!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Can't remember the size, I want to say two forty pound bags a month per dog at 20 to 30 a bag depending on whether I could get it on sale. Crate 100+ and you will need one with a divider cause they grow. Treats and toys.

Really it was around 60 a month and the yearly shots and such were another 250.

I didn't get pet insurance because it is almost always a waste of money. Like yours, 40 a month so 480 a year. Neutering was 180 back in the day, maybe 300 now. Shots around 150 so you already lost money.

Oh forgot the groomer, that is another 50 a month.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

We did not buy puppy insurance, but I absolutely would next time. Our dog has a weak constitution and sensitive skin and allergies, so between his special food and allergy pills, I'd say that alone is probably around $80-100. Other than that, we don't have a lot of bills for him, except if he has to go to the vet, then we're talking at least $200 every time. Sometimes he has to go for hot spots or rashes, but we try not to go unless absolutely necessary. Plus, you have the heartworm and flea stuff which can be expensive. I didn't factor those into my monthly costs. Besides his regular check-ups I'd say he's gone to the vet 2 other times this year.

Grooming costs are also a factor. He goes to doggy day care sometimes, certainly not every day, not even every week or month! But, we do use it as boarding, so if you travel a lot, you'll have to consider that. We also have his grooming done there and grooming can range from $60-150 depending upon the services. We try and bathe him every 2-3 months and he gets completely shaved 2x/year. We will also pay for the groomers to brush him out a few times during the winter, which is about $25.

All in all, dogs are least our high maintenance pooch is! But we love him! Oh, he's an Old English Sheep Dog by the way!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It really depends... I have 2 right now and FIRMLY believe in feeding ONLY high end food. Incidentally, you don't want to feed a breed that large "puppy food" - go with a high end, grain free adult formula. We currently feed Nature's Domain, which was recently bought by Costco - we pay $30 for a 35lb bag. We were feeding Wellness CORE, which was $60 for 26lbs. I have a 25lb senior beagle and an 85lb doberman puppy. With the Costco grain free food, I spend $60ish per month on food, I usually buy a bag of 20 bones at Costco for $16, the beagle has diabetes insipidus(very rare and NOT related to sugar/insulting) and takes a med that costs about $10 per month.... throw in heartworm prevention($50 for 6 month supply?). So $100ish on a normal month.

We don't have insurance, too many limits and exclusions. I don't find it yo be worth it.

Be prepared financially for the unexpected with savings or a low interest credit card... in February, we had s HORRID month, 1 dog passed suddenly, $300 for cremation and urn. 4 weeks later, our doberman died after major complications from a minor surgery that led to plasma transfusions to try to save her - $5000 later, we had her sweet soul in an urn :(

Over the years, we've had dogs need one med or another...

Additionally, consider getting your baby from a golden retriever rescue :)


answers from Lakeland on

I think some of the cost depends on the size and age of the dog.

We bought a puppy from a breeder and that was 450. Then I signed up for the PetSmart/Banfield wellness puppy program and I think that was a couple hundred. But it saves M. in the long run since I don’t pay extra for heart worm pills, flea prevention and spaying or well visits with vaccines.

Now the costly part is collars, leashes, toys, crate, food and treats. Oh plus training if it is needed. I have a small dog (see my profile picture) she will not get more than 15 lbs. (I will be surprised if she reaches 10 lbs.). She doesn't eat very much and I buy her Blue Buffalo holistic food and treats (about 30 a month or so). I also replace toys if they rip apart and I have to clean up after her so I buy little poopie bags (my HOA will give fines).

I do not have insurance for her. I can see getting it for older dogs but right now she is very healthy. She also doesn’t need a lot of grooming other than an occasional bath and nail clipping and I do that at home. I have been consistent with training so I didn’t hire anyone and she has never chewed anything other than her toys and bones. She does like to lie on my shoes when I am out but she doesn’t destroy them (I guess for my scent). I don’t put her in a crate since she is well behaved I J. gate off the bedrooms so she is in the living/kitchen room.

If you are considering a dog please research each breed to see what they are like before you adopt or buy one. I picked our Boston Terrier because they are great companions, easy to train, small and low grooming maintenance. Plus they are so darn cute and friendly.

I almost forgot we have made one emergency trip to the vet in the middle of the night. She ate a mushroom or bug and was vomiting. It cost about 200 for an IV of fluids and some medicine to help her stop vomiting along with the emergency visit. We also had x-rays of her tail because she kept crying whenever something touched it, turned out nothing was broken but her vertebrae are fused in her lower back and tail. I think she hit her behind on the coffee table when she was jumping up onto the sofa. That was about 200.



answers from Washington DC on

My vet told M. to take the money and put it into a separate account and not get insurance. Very rarely do you need it and if you do you have the money in an account and if you don't need it, you have some savings. I went to the local Animal shelter and got a discounted rate on nuetering and paid $180. I pay $50 a year for heartworm preventitive, I don't flea and tick, because my pest control company does it. I have a small dog and get a large bag of food for $24 that lasts 3 months and about $15 a month on wet food. Check with your local vet to find out what they charge for vaccines, and annual exams. Also see if there is an SPCA near you. They usually do stuff at a reduced rate. Like a newborn, you go to the vet a lot the first few months, but than after that it's once a year, unless there is an incident. Besides check up and vaccines, we've been to the vet twice for other issues. Once was an infection in his paw and the other was a UTI. Both infections cost us around $200 for the visits and meds.


answers from San Angelo on

lots of money but we raise poodles and got four of them and they need pretty hair cuts and fancy food cause if they dont get liver they go and tear there hair out and then they dont looks so good.

so we spend 589.23 every month on our poodles so thats how much you need to save at least


answers from Washington DC on

Dog Food - Eukanuba - $36 per month.
Flea/Tick - we buy in bulk - I think it's like $100 for the year...

our dog doesn't need toys...he loves sticks!!!



answers from Houston on

If my dog wasn't a 160lb, it would probably be cheaper, and for some reason he gets ear infections ALL the time. Now he has an eye infection. comes from sleeping in the chicken coop - he is a livestock guardian (great pyrenees).
Anyway the stupid advantage multi costs, drum roll, $60 a month, because for his weight he has to have 2 bottles. I do it bi monthly, can't afford monthly. I spend $40 a month on food, he eats purina one.
He is neutered - cost about a 100.
Vets bills this year have probably run about a $1000, ridiculous, antibiotics, and shots etc.


answers from Boise on

We currently have 7 dogs and spend a hundred on food a month. Two months ago one got hit and that cost us $400, beyond that I really don;t know.



answers from New York on

Having a dog is very expensive. Plus, you can not leave the dog in a crate by itself for more than 6 or 8 hours. A friendly cat is a way better option. I don't know anyone who has a dog and doesn't think it's a pain in the you know what.


answers from Pittsburgh on

When I lived in Atlanta, vet costs were much higher and paying the insurance covered the annual visits/shots alone, so it was worth it. But I also learned with the insurance that they didn't cover pre-existing, and any hip problems that my lab had was contributed to pre-existing according to them, they also had excuses for not covering my Beagle when he was hit by a car.

I agree with others about putting some funds aside each month to cover things. With my first two dogs (lab/rottie + Beagle), they were leash walked an hour/day and never needed their nails trimmed. The next two dogs (border collie/newfoundland + Beagle) were walked two hours/day and needed their nails clipped every two weeks. We tried doing them on our own, but ended up paying the vet techs $8/time to do them.

I took a bathing/grooming class at Animal Friends shelter which opened my eyes to so many things, making changes that resulted in my dogs LOVING bath time and fighting over it, instead of running scared.

The vet will probably have good recommendations. Avoid retractable leashes. Most vets recommend Frontline and Heartguard all year round, even though mosquitoes/fleas aren't around all year, they only need temps of 50+ to come out and find animals. We've been happy with Costco food. We used to do all organic, but then there were recall issues and the vet said they used Costco or Purina one for their dogs.

When they are healthy, the cost is minimal. When they are sick, the cost is out of this world. One dog had a brain tumor, but it took them 2wks to figure out after a grand mahl seizure, costing $7,000 (I was single at the time and had the money); another swallowed my underwear and that cost around $2,000. Then when they die . . . mine have all been cremated ($150 in a plain box that we bury in a special spot under a tree in our yard).

Good luck!



answers from New York on

First of all get the insurance when you get the puppy. If you wait until they are
older, it costs more. It is not the monthly expenses, it is the vet trips for
various problems. My poor little guy was scratching something fierce.
Well we take him and it turns out he had two fleas and an allergic reaction.
Now we do flea and tick prevention and have never had a problem and we
have had dogs for 40 years. Vet says it was because the winter was warm,
lots of rain and heat this year. Well between the two visits $550. When
my English Springer Spaniel got sick, it was $3,000 and then she had to be
put down. Pet insurance was not really available years ago. If we do ever
get another dog, will definitely get insurance.

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