They are often referred to as man’s best friend. As a dog owner, I can assure you this statement is quite true. Each day when I come home from work, I look forward to seeing the wagging tail and the kisses that come upon my arrival. Owning a dog is great, some would even say fantastic; however, despite the kisses and tail wags, one’s wallet can take a hit. The size of the dog does play in to a lot of these factors. My dog weighs 35 lbs and is considered by most to be a medium sized dog. The numbers that follow for annual costs of owning a dog are based on a medium sized dog. Smaller dogs tend to be cheaper, while larger dogs tend to be more expensive, so please bear that in mind. A budget is the easiest way to track your expenses when it comes to your pet.
Dog Food & Treats
The most common and never-ending expense of owning a dog comes down to the dog food one has to purchase. The price of that food can vary depending on the brand and type. For instance, I feed my dog Purina Dog Chow, which is by no way the most expensive, but also isn’t the cheapest. I usually am able to purchase a 36 lb bag for $25. I estimate I go through 4 of these bags a year for my dog so $100 in annual cost for food. When it comes to treats, I like to reward my puppy with a rawhide, various snacks, peanut butter and Dentastix (or similar). I estimate that my yearly cost spent on treats comes out to $75.
Total Annual Cost: $175
It is moral and also the law to give your dog the necessary vaccinations that they require in a given year. I’ll first begin with medication. My dog requires heart worm and flea protection just like any other dog. For this, I use an all in one preventative treatment called Sentinel. A year’s prescription of this treatment costs $100 for my dog. Dog’s are also required by law to get a list of shots to maintain good health for the dog and other’s around it. These can include the rabies vaccine among others. The shots typically run me $150 a year when it is all said and done.
Total Annual Cost: $250
Every person’s situation is different. If you like to travel and you have a dog then be prepared to spend around $25/night for boarding. I tend to use friends and family to watch my pooch and usually pay them back with beer, a meal or an IOU. Daycare is also another popular cost among dog owners. Many view their dogs as an extension of their family and thus like for them to be well-cared for and interact with other dogs. Daycare for dogs can run anywhere from $12-$25 a day on upwards.
Total Annual Cost: $250
Annual Cost of Owning a Dog: Final Results
If you total up my three previous sections, the total annual costs of owning a dog for me comes out to $675. Again, this can vary depending on the lifestyle of the dog, what type of food you buy, and a number of other factors. This example is only meant to give potential dog owners an idea of what to expect. At the end of the day, my dog is priceless and whatever I can give her to make her happy and see her tail wag is worth it’s weight in gold.
Budget Smart, Invest Wise
James Hendrickson is an internet entrepreneur, blogging junky, hunter and personal finance geek. When he’s not lurking in coffee shops in Portland, Oregon, you’ll find him in the Pacific Northwest’s great outdoors. James has a masters degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Bachelors degree on Sociology from Earlham College. He loves individual stocks, bonds and precious metals.