The Cost of Owning a Dog

Senior Labrador Copyright to

Once upon a time, my lumbering senior Labrador was a tiny, naked belly having, bundle.

One thing my boy has never been, however, is cheap.

If Jet was a person, he’d be the kind that ordered the 8lb, fresh Maine lobster on the first date.


Jet Puppy Copyright to


While thinking about this today, I thought it would be worth sharing a little information about the cost of owning a dog.

Over the years, I have had many acquaintances who have scoffed when I explain to them how much a dog can really cost.

Let me preface by saying that I tend not to give out unsolicited advice. When posed a question, however, I will generally answer it.

So, when someone suggests that they are thinking about getting a dog and I respond “That’s fabulous! Just be sure you are ready for a lifelong commitment!” and they sneer and say “How much can a dog really cost?” I make sure that they know.


For the first half of your dog’s life, you are looking at the following average expenses per year.


  • $479.76 Food (Assuming you feed 30# of average dry food monthly and don’t have an allergy prone dog)
  • $250 Yearly vet checkup’s and necessary shots (Varying depending on where you live this expense will vary)
  • $336 Pet insurance (Believe me, you’ll want it)
  • $140 Flea and tick preventative
  • $95 Heartworm preventative
  • $225 One health-related visit per year (Assuming you are not facing an emergency hour vet or surgery)
  • $200 Boarding (Assuming you take one week per year of out of town trips)

For a younger, healthy dog, your annual expense is looking at around $1,725.76.


This list does not include supplies like collars, leashes, grooming needs, beds, bowls, toys, and treats. This list also does not cover any special needs, serious illnesses or injuries, or medications your pet might need for existing conditions.


Senior Labrador Copyright to


So…what about as your dog ages? Obviously, your expenses will go up and will differ based on your individual dog. For the sake of giving you a basic idea, however, I will use Jet’s information to give you an idea of the additional average yearly expenses for an older dog.


  • $479.76 Food (We will keep this information the same, assuming that your dog can still tolerate the same food)
  • $500 Bi-annual vet checkup’s and necessary shots (Depending on where you live this expense will vary)
  • $504 Pet insurance (You’ll want it even more now your dog is older, but your rates will increase as your dog ages)
  • $140 Flea and tick preventative (Assuming your pet can still tolerate it)
  • $95 Heartworm preventative
  • $1,300 Health, injury, and illness related annual visits annually (Your cost will vary depending upon your pet’s health)
  • $200 “Boarding” (By this time you will likely want to use in home pet sitting due to your pet’s age. You may also decide – like we have – to avoid any trips that involve leaving your pet home alone since leaving them will lead to aggravating health conditions)
  • $690 Health Supplements (Heart supplement, joint supplements, and fish oil)
  • $1855 Medications (We use Adequan, Tramadol, Vetmedin, Enalapril, 1 bottle of Endosorb annually, 1 bottle of antibiotics annually)


For an older dog with medication needs or even a younger dog with medication needs or illness, your annual expense is looking at around $5763.76 (with Jet’s special food needs, our expenses annually are $7,240.)


This list does not include supplies like collars, leashes, grooming needs beds, bowls, toys, and treats. This list does cover basic medication and a single annual visit for an ultrasound related to the development of heart disease.


Of course, your individual costs are going to differ and the range of products and care that you provide your dog will differ as well…but take a moment and really look at these numbers. It might not seem like a big investment when you consider a bag of food a month. The reality is, though, that being a pet parent is about much more than a bag of food a month. You are committing to caring for a living, breathing creature who is going to give you their all. They deserve the same type of commitment from you FOR LIFE.


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