How much does a dog really cost?
Hello again dog lovers!
If you’re reading this you must be researching the nitty-gritty of owning your first dog, and wondering that all-important question; how much does a dog really cost? There are all kinds of one-off and on-going costs to consider that accompany pet-parenthood and you’ll want to be prepared. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of all the costs you may encounter in the first year of adopting a dog, whether you’re looking at a rescue dog or a puppy from a breeder. I’ve included estimations for small, medium and large breeds at the end of the blog.
Buying a Puppy or Dog
Adopting a puppy from a breeder £400 – £3000 Puppies are expensive, particularly if you are sourcing a pedigree from an accredited and responsible breeder (recommended). Expect many pups who have champion parents or who have carried out testing for hereditary diseases to be well over the £1000 mark. If this strikes you as expensive there are cheaper alternatives such as adoption, however if the price of the dog stops you in your tracks, it could be a clear indication to wait and save up for a bit longer.
Adopting a rescue dog £250 – £350 Adopting a rescue dog is much cheaper, and the real bonus is you will be providing a homeless animal with a loving family. There are 1000s of dogs desperately looking for homes each year in the UK and just as many dedicated rescues you can contact. Be warned – the money you save by adopting a rescue dog may well be required elsewhere. These dogs often need specialist training to overcome abuse or bad habits from kennels or ongoing medical conditions. They may have had no training in their past life – in this situation many people like to give their dog the best start in their new family with a tailored training programme.
Gumtree and Facebook adverts £0 Finding a casual breeder or homeless dog on the internet may seem like a quick-fix for adopting a dog but heed this warning – many of these animals are either being rehomed due to undisclosed behavioural issues that only become terrifyingly clear once you’ve brought them home. This could be anything from barking all night to aggression towards children. Often these dogs are part of a puppy farming scam which becomes clear when the dog develops symptoms of serious, hereditary diseases. Read our blog on how to choose the right dog for you here to avoid being scammed.
Training classes (6 – 8 weeks puppy group £100 – £150) If you have adopted a puppy, a foundation training class is highly recommended. You puppy will learn some basic commands as well as gain some much-needed opportunities to socialise. You and your dog will learn the basics of communicating with each other and begin to build your relationship together. It’s all about teamwork! There are lots of intermediate and advanced classes too if you catch the dog-training bug (it’s highly addictive!)
One to one dog behaviour £100 – £300 One to one classes may seem a bit “specialist” but many dog owners find their dog presents unexpected or worrying behaviours around the age of 12 – 18 months (AKA the teenager phase!) In these circumstances the best thing to do is act immediately and find a trainer who is a good fit.
Residential Dog Training £700 – £3000 Residential training is a one of the fastest growing dog training trends in the UK. If you want your dog to be trained while you go on holiday, this is for you. It’s important to note that you will be trained too – all owners need to continue a dog’s training and routine at home each day to see amazing results. This does increase the cost of a dog, but will be worth it’s weight in gold in the long run.
Health, Medication and Wellbeing
Spay/neuter £100 – £200 Most vets will recommend your dog is spayed or neutered by the time they are 10 months old (or 18 months old for XL breeds). If you’re not breeding from your dog, this is the kindest thing to do. It can reduce the likelihood of aggressive behaviours and will eliminate many cancers that are very common in older dogs. Many day care and home boarding facilities cannot take on pets that have not been neutered or spayed, so if you want to take advantage of pet care, this is another good reason to get them “done”.
Vaccinations £50 – £60 per year (you can save money with some monthly puppy packages offered by local vets).
Worming/flea treatments £40 – £60 per year Don’t forget your dog will need to be treated for worms, ticks and fleas all year round, this is particularly important in summer. Ticks in particular present highly dangerous life-threatening risks to humans and do not discriminate about who they latch onto and infect.
Insurance £25 – £50 per month (the cost for each dog could be higher or lower depending on all kinds of factors such as your dog’s breed, age, size or absent medical history in the case of rescue dogs).
Microchip £15-£20 Microchips are a legal requirement, but don’t worry your vet or breeder will either make sure this is done before you bring your pet home, or they’ll remind you at your next check-up. If you move house you’ll need to update your pup’s chip information incase they go missing.
Grooming £30 – £60 (every 6-8 weeks) Generally speaking not all dogs require professional grooming, however many long haired, non-shedding breeds will need to be trimmed every 3-8 weeks. Westies, Poodle mixes, Shih Tzus, Yorkies, Afghans and other long or fluffy coated breeds need daily brushing as well as regular clipping. Poodle types often require a groom every 3-6 weeks to avoid matting which can be highly uncomfortable for the dog. Other breeds such as Border terriers require hand stripping several times a year. If you’re not sure, ask your local groomer what would be the best fit for your pet’s breeding
Day care and boarding
Doggy day care (3x per week) £300-£350 per month Day care is ideal for busy pet-parents and enables huge numbers of families who previously wouldn’t have had time for a dog to strike a balance.
Home dog boarding 2 x family holidays per year approx £700 If you’re going on holiday, you can now board your dog in loving, home environments and afford them a little holiday of their own while you catch some rays.
- Collar and lead £20-£50
- Harness £10 – £40
- Bed and blanket £25 – £100
- Food and water bowls £25
- ID tag £5-£10 (these are still a legal requirement and the fastest way to ensure a missing dog is returned when found).
- Coat £20 – £50
- Brush £8
- Toothbrush & dog-safe toothpaste £10
- Seatbelt-harness £15-£20
- Dog-friendly shampoo £7.99
- Chew toys x 3 £25
- Tennis balls (professional grade) £15
- Towels £20
Good quality food x 12 months Investing in your dog’s health and their future means you will need to provide them with a nutritious, balanced diet. Try not to be seduced by very colourful or extraordinary cheap dog food and treats. They are often made from a high % of crude ash and fillers that do not promote good physical health in our pets.
- Raw £150-£300
- Kibble £80-£300
- Wet food £100 – £350
- Treats £100
- Chews £40
While it’s good to remember that these costs are just an approximation, life is unpredictable and dogs can present unexpected costs at any point in their lives. This is where your insurance cover can come in handy, but it’s worthwhile maintaining a dog-emergency online savings account. You never know when it will be a life-saver for your budget.
Small dog: £5000 – £7000
Medium dog: £6000 – £8000
Large/XL dog: £8000 – £10000
I hope this blog has helped you on your pet-parent journey. If you’d like to know more about dog training, becoming a dog professional or growing your own pet business, you can read more free blog posts here!
About the Author
CEO & Head Trainer Jarvis Clothier
Jarvis has been training companion dogs professionally for over 10 years. To date Jarvis runs Jarvis Dog Boarding and Training, an exclusive dog hotel based in Hampshire specialising in residential training. Blog posts are published on 1st of every month at midday.