The average cost of adding a dog to your family

How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?

by Oscar Paez

Be rewarded the Web's Premiere Rewards Site

It's not just a saying when people declare that dogs are "man's best friends." As a matter of fact, The Humane Society of United States estimates that 54.4 million households in the United States have a dog. These four-legged companions teach us about loyalty, fun, love, and compassion. They make us smile even when we are having the worst of days. It's no wonder thousands of people buy or adopt one every day!

However, getting a dog involves a certain level of sacrifice and responsibility. Just like a baby, they need attention and commitment. Not only will they eat, but also they will have to go to the veterinarian and get a bath once in a while. This means that you will have to spend both your time and a considerable amount of money for an average of 13 years, depending on the breed you choose. For this reason, it is really important that you take into consideration all of the following aspects before getting a dog.


Feeding your dog high-quality food is vital for keeping him healthy over time. Sarah Wilson, a reckoned expert on dogs, advises that feeding your dog the right type and amount of dog food makes them even more active. Also, doing this will actually help to save money because you won't have to take your companion to the vet due to stomach problems. So, yes, it is better to spend the extra money for good dog food rather than buy a bag that will not be the healthiest for him. Remember that cheap things can turn out to be expensive in the end!

Related: Are Generic Dog Foods Good for Your Dog?

Toys and Supplies

Giving your dog mental and physical stimulation is necessary and a great way to do this is with fun toys. Carolyn Georgariau, a dog behaviorist, says, "Treat your dog like a baby and he will turn your house into a home!" Yes, you could spend from $50 to $200 every year to buy new toys. You can reduce this amount by playing with your dog around the house or taking a walk with your pet twice a day. Spending time with your dog not only brings the two of you closer, but you also end up saving close to $100 on toys in the process. Also, you'll have to purchase basic things like a collar, an identification tag, and a dog bed to make him comfortable.

Special Needs

Dogs should visit the veterinarian at least two times per year. This will cost about $100 to $300, so you'll want to budget for these expenses. In addition, you'll have to pay for vaccines, vitamins, and special medicines to treat illnesses and prevent fleas. Remember that prevention is always better than cure. You should therefore vaccinate your dog against common diseases, and by so doing, you will avoid the trauma that always comes with sickness. Some breeds are more problematic than others. Therefore, do your research before choosing a breed.


Contrary to popular belief, these cute animals must pay a visit to the dog groomer to take care of hygiene needs every three months. Professional groomers are good because they can also trim your dog's fur if needed. The annual $100 that you spend on hygiene will be worth it! However, this does not mean that you cannot give your dog a bath once in a while. In fact, most people prefer to bathe their dogs and only consider a professional occasionally. This, according to Sarah Wilson, creates a personal connection between the dog and the owner.

Save on your pet's medications at 1-800-PetMeds.


No one can predict accidents or sickness that your dog may encounter. For this reason, you'll want a budget item for this type of expense. Also, if you plan a vacation, you'll have to pay for a kennel while you are out of town. This can cost you up to $200 for two weeks. One lower cost option is to take your dog with you.

Getting a dog can bring a great amount of joy into your life. It can turn your loneliness into a life of companionship, and as Carolyn Georgariau says, "It can turn your house into a home." Despite all the benefits of adding a dog to your family, you should still think about what it means to take care of this new friend, so you give him a long and joyful life. Considering all the factors discussed above, you may need to spend on average about $1000 per year. However, if you are the saving type, you can manage to own a dog with as low as $350 per year and enjoy a magical relationship.

Take the Next Step:

  • Don't forget to consider the cost of flea prevention and treatments. These inexpensive flea treatment solutions can help you save.
  • Don't let your pets take such a bite out of your budget! The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Frugal Pet Care can show you smart ways to love your pet while spending less.
  • Stop overpaying for your pet's medications. See how much 1-800-PetMeds can help you save.
  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

Stay Connected with TDS


It's tough raising kids today!

Dollar Stretcher for Parents is a weekly newsletter designed just for parents that will help save your family both time and money.

Little Luxuries

And get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book