The Cost of Owning a Dog

Millions of people the world over own a dog, and so you may be thinking that it surely can't cost that much to become a dog owner. However, it is worth being aware of the potential costs involved before deciding to make the investment. Knowing what to budget for is all part of being a responsible dog owner. The cost of owning a dog can be broken down into two basic categories:

Initial Purchase Cost

This will vary greatly depending upon whether you want a pedigree, crossbreed or mixed breed dog (mongrel). The latter will most likely be the cheaper option by far, and the pedigree the most expensive as it will be bought from a reputable breeder hopefully. Another option of course is to go for a rescue dog from a shelter, but make sure the dog's history is well documented.

Ongoing Costs

The ongoing cost of owning a dog will fall into three catergories:

The size of the dog you choose will affect costs such as food and equipment. Obviously larger dogs will be more expensive to keep as they simply require more food, and any beds, toys, collars and such will need to be larger and thus more costly too. If you choose a pedigree dog it is worth noting that some breeds come with certain congenitive health problems associated with inbreeding to meet breed standards, and these can incur some hefty vetinary fees. In this resepect a crossbreed or mongrel can often be the cheaper option regarding healthcare because they are generally healthier dogs thanks to the larger gene pool that created them. In either case, it is a good idea to ensure any injections are up to date, to budget for the usual medications to prevent heartworms, fleas, ticks and other parasites, for annual dental cleaning, and to take out pet insurance policy for unforseen problems. If taking on a puppy then further down the line their will be costs for spaying or neutering to consider too, and possibly obedience classes. The breed of the dog and whether it will be kept as a pet or a show dog will dictate grooming costs, if any. Shorthaired dogs may require minimal grooming, whereas those with longer, denser coats may require considerable maintenance. And finally, should you take a holiday there will be kennel costs to consider too.

Below are the typical initial and then ongoing yearly costs for our dog Alfie, a Bichon Frise.

Type of ExpenseCost
Collar & lead£30
Pet insurance£215.00
Yearly injections£40

It sounds like a lot of money but it's not really considering what he has given to our family over the years in loyalty and companionship. Note we stopped paying the health insurance a year ago because the premiums were rising ridiculously; also, we did hear that some pet insurance companies stop insuring dogs over certain ages so it seemed pointless! We figured we're better off saving the money for any rainy days that may come.