15 Hidden Costs Of Owning A Dog

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Even if you have the coldest heart, the unconditional affection from a dog can warm you up even in winter.

The idea of owning a dog usually got hooked in our minds when we were kids as young minds seldom understand the many implications of getting a pet. And by the time we become mature enough to realize the responsibilities of a dog owner, it is already to late… the thought of having one is associated with positive feelings whether or not you are ready to take on the challenges of becoming a dog owner.

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One of those challenges is the costs of dog ownership.

When buying a pet, other than the obvious expense of purchasing and feeding it, there are many other hidden costs involved that could possibly make you regret your decision which was originally made with love and tenderness.

Most people grossly underestimate the budget they need to work out.

1) Price of purebred

jack russell with cat

The buying experience that you will go through when buying a dog is somewhat like buying a house.

First you set a budget on the low end. Upon viewing the lower quality houses available at the low end of your budget, you decide to go for the upper end of your budget range. This will lead you to a whole different class of real estate to choose from.

The you realize that you can get even more value for your buck if you smash pass your budget and move to the next level of houses at a higher price. They have a better chance of appreciation anyway.

Most new pet owners feel that they can get a dog at about $200 since they see a lot of it listed in teh classifieds and online advertisements.

That is true. But cheap prices are usually a reference to a poorly bred or mixed bred puppy. This means that they could already have, or could have in future, frequent health problems that you (including your wallet) have to attend to.

By forking out upfront for a purebred, you could be saving a lot of money in future trips to the vet.

For example, teacup puppies are designer dogs that are specially bred to be miniature in size. This goes against the grain of their natural sizes. Leading to a variety of health issues. They tend not to rate highly on longevity too.

If you are not willing to pay up to $1,000 for a healthy puppy, adopting one from the local shelter could be a wise choice which you will thank me for in future.

2) Food – $400/year

You might think that you don’t have to feed your dog with dog food. You can just leave a share for it whenever you are having a meal.


Take note that some food we consume can be toxic poison to dogs. This means that if you are not careful or simply uninformed, you could be killing your dog by feeding it with your own food.

And what is human nutrition is not necessarily dog nutrition.

The size of your dog will greatly determine the money you will spend on food. You can’t really compare the amount of food a Great Dane consumes against a Chihuahua.

But on average, a regular bag of dry dog food will last about 7 days give or take.

3) Treats – $50/year

dog looking at treats

You must have seen countless videos of owners giving their dogs treats on YouTube.

Treat are not luxury items. They are required for teaching obedience and discipline.

You can’t reward your Jack Russell with a meal every time she does a trick. You will go broke sooner than you think. And your pet will grow obese which will double and triple up your bills for medical care.

You need treats.

4) Vitamins – $40/year

You can sadistically choose to deprive your Pomeranian of the vitamins it needs, or you can decide to give it the best.

Vitamins help dogs have healthy fur, skin, teeth, etc. Some people find these are negligible, while others think that they are essential as a preventive measure to more serious conditions.

We eat a variety of food that helps us absorb a variety of nutrients and vitamins for the body. But if the only source of nutrients for your dog is processed dog food, you should think about giving it vitamins to ensure it has what it needs to remain healthy.

Who likes a sick dog?

5) Vaccines – $100/year

We are prone to contracting diseases like flu and cold. Dogs have their own list of diseases and conditions that they are prone to.

As this is not a medical discussion, I will not list down the common diseases.

You furry friend will not be able to tell you when is sick. Depending on the type of illness, taking him to the vet can cost as much as $200 a visit.

Why not take preventive measures to keep your dog happy and healthy?

6) Medical bills – $300/year

puppy at the vet

As mentioned previously, visits to the pet doctor can be very costly indeed. But once you get into a situation where your Pug needs medical treatment, trust me, you are going to pay the price no matter how expensive the vet bill is.

Even even though you want to minimize visits to the vet as much as possible, it is inevitable that you will make a trip or 2 to the clinic annually.

7) Neuter – $150

Some people feel that it is cruel to neuter (spay) their dogs.

I can understand the point of view of those who argue against sterilization. And I have a pretty strong case in favor of it too.

This is something that you have to decide for your pet.

8) Toys – $100

You can’t possibly keep your Husky company all the time. This is why you need toys as a mean of distraction so as to keep them occupied when you are not free or simply not at home.

Having a variety of toys for your dog(s) to play with also keeps them away from tearing up the furniture to a certain extent.

It more financially savvy to spend a little money for toys line bone chews than to spend hundreds to replace your Egyptian sateen bedsheets.

You may even want to replace them annually to keep the hygiene standards in your house high.

9) Training -$300


If you are too busy to train your Golden Retriever yourself or too lazy to look up YouTube videos to guide you, you might eventually opt to hire someone to help train it on the basics commands and potty training.

The good thing is that this is usually a one-off costs as long as you continue to reinforce the training with simple practice sessions.

10) Treatment of parasite conditions – $200/year

As your dog will not be able to take care of itself, it will often be attacked by parasites that can be life-threatening if left unattended to.

Some common ones include:

  • fleas
  • ticks
  • heartworms
  • other worms

And just like with the case of vaccines, the smart thing to do is to actively manage these conditions rather than waiting until it’s too late.

11) Shampoo – $15/year


You don’t want a smelly Pit bull running about the house. And don’t even think about using your own bathing lotion to bathe your dog.

You need shampoo meant for dogs.

12) Grooming – depends

Depending on what kind of an owner you are and the type of dog you have, expenses for grooming services varies greatly.

Some owners never ever bring their pets to a groomer throughout it’s life. While others, especially those with Poodles or Shih Tzus, can take their pets down to the groomer as frequent as once a month.

If grooming is a cost that you want to save on, get a breed that has a short coat.

13) Pet hotels – $200/year

pets boarding

There might be times where you have to go on trips leaving nobody to take care of your cute Maltese. Your dad lives across the state, and your friends give the convenient excuses of allergies.

Boarding for pets is actually a cost that don’t even cross the mind of new dog owners.

But it is usually a service that they require starting from the very first year of dog ownership. From discovering the ease and advantages of leaving their dogs with a pet hotel, owners then have little qualms to do it again.

If you travel a lot, you are going to spend a good amount on this. And… if you are a frequent traveler, why take up the commitment of taking care of a dog anyway…

14) More one-time fee items

There are a lot of things that you ideally would spend just once on… until you need to replace them due to damage or hygiene reasons.

  • outdoor fence – $1,000
  • indoor fence – $150
  • Crate – $50
  • bed – $30
  • Bowls – $25
  • leash – $15
  • collar – $20
  • car restraint – $20

15) Furniture replacement – depends

Cats and dogs can be very destructive animals. You could go to work one day and come home to a shocking sight.

Dogs especially, can chew up everything… even electrical cables.

So unless you have a high tolerance level to furniture and fitting that are not ideal, get ready to spend a lot of money replacing your personal property if you don’t train your dog well.

A dog’s lifespan

Even though it is generally accepted that a single dog-year is roughly equivalent to 7 human-years, dogs can live to a pretty ripe age.

The average dog can probably live 10 to 13 years on average.


This means that when you calculate the hidden costs associated with owning and taking care of a dog, you need to multiply the annual costs by the number of lifespan years.

So don’t be surprised to find an estimated cost of $20,000, or even more, that you will eventually spend on your dog throughout it’s life.

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