If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Member Since
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 8:21am PST 
Hello, this is my first Dogster post and I apologize in advance as I'm not sure this is the correct board but I couldn't find a more general one.
I wanted to ask your opinions on the cost of keeping a dog. I was always taught by my Dad - a long term dog owner - that having a dog is pricey, so when my boyfriend turned around today and said he didn't know it was that expensive as 'everyone has dogs in Sweden', I wanted to be able to give him real knowledge.
Sadly, I have never owned a dog or even lived with one, due to lack of money and appropriate living space, so I will rely on your expertise! I would like the very basics, if it's not absolutely necessary for a happy, healthy dog please don't include. Alternatively, let me know the correct board to use and I'll shift it smile

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 8:27am PST 
Theyre a lot cheaper than kids

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 8:45am PST 
Ok, so dogs are cheaper than kids... but they aren't cheap.

I'll break it down as basically as possible.

Cost to acquire a dog:
Most shelters charge anywhere from $50-150 for a dog or puppy.
Rescues tend to be a bit more, maybe $150-300.
REPUTABLE breeder will cost even more, typically over $1000.
Do no support pet stores, puppy mills, or backyard breeders, regardless of price.

If getting a puppy:
Potentially 2nd or 3rd round of puppy shots and worming, which typically range from $100-200 per round.
Eventual spay/neuter, which depending on size and age of dog, is typically around $150 from a good vet.
Training. Don't care what anyone says, training of some sort for puppies should be MANDATORY, especially for novice owners, and can run anywhere from $90 (Petco-type classes) to hundreds depending on the trainer. For a basic puppy class you can ballpark $150 to be a good estimate for a decent trainer.

Older dogs who are already altered and have some basic training of course do not have these fees, and you really only need to do an initial round of vaccinations with them (maybe $100-150), and then rabies every 3 years or whatever is required by law in your area (discount clinics typically charge about $30 for rabies).

Ideally you should take your dog or puppy in for an annual examination, regardless of health, even if not getting vaccines. This will vary depending on your vet, can rage anywhere from $75-150.

Food. Depending on quality, size and age of dog, and where you live it will likely range you about $35-50 a month for an average-quality food. That's $420-600 a year.

Bowls, bedding, a crate, toys, things like that are not REQUIRED, but why wouldn't you want them? That should run you about $150-200 initial purchase.

That's about as "bare bones" as I can break it down for you.

Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 8:59am PST 
Good post Mulder.

I would always add on to any amount you think it might be. Mulder says $150 for altering but in my area we don't have low cost clinics so I paid full price at a vet clinic. So look into that before you get a dog.

Also grooming costs money as well, if you get a non-shedding dog you'll either need to buy good clippers and do it yourself or pay someone to do it. Even a shedding dog needs to be brushed & bathed, nails clipped, ears cleaned etc. So add those to budget.

Crazy cat lady- aspiring to be a- dog mom
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 9:12am PST 
Mulders post is good. I don't have a dog but have started looking for one and it's $$$ to have one in SF.

I'd definitely use his high end (or higher) if you live in a large city. Our local SPCA is $275 for spay/neuter. Routine dental care/cleanings seems to be another big ticket item.

If you work you may need a dog walker or doggie day care. And if you travel boarding or someone to come in and feed them. Don't know what that costs for dogs but once a day cat feeding (15-30 min visit) is $30-40.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 9:35am PST 
are you living in Sweden? friends in Sweden report it's more costly to keep dogs there than in the US..

Mischief is my- middle name
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 6:58pm PST 
A crate may not be required, but it is a very good idea. Make sure you're comfortable with your dog unsupervised. Ace isn't crated at all anymore, but she's come a long way on her house manners. But it was essential for a few months as she was a slow learner (or I was a bad teacher, more likely) laugh out loud Housetraining itself was fine, it was the chewing and countersurfing. But she's good now.

bitches love- pantaloons
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 7:14pm PST 
Don't forget those flea/tick and heartworm meds! I always cringe when I have to buy another 12 pack of Advantix.

Also, this is pretty common sense but the larger the dog the more expensive everything is. It's not just limited to food.

Edited by author Thu Nov 29, '12 7:19pm PST

Miyu CGC

Bow down to the- Princess Brat!
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 8:18pm PST 
Mulder covered most of it. I'd like to add that I currently pay for pet insurance, as I don't ever want to have to agonize over the cost of a surgery or procedure if something is ever needed for my girl. We currently pay about $150, I think, each quarter. It's a $200 deductible, but everything over is 100% covered. We use Petplan, which I think was a step up from VPI, our initial provider, as they do cover congenital stuff. Having a GSD adopted from an unknown breeding background... it's a lot of peace of mind.

Just putting it out there. Not everyone has this, but I really like having that. Also, to add to somebody who lives in the Bay Area... if you rent, expect to pay pet rent as well. Even if you're a homeowner, and have a certain breed of dog, be prepared to pay more for insurance as well.
Kodiak CGC

Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 10:29pm PST 
It's surprising how much the little things can add up, don't underestimate them.

Initial acquire, routine vetting, flea/tick prevention, grooming (tools or fees), food every month, treats, miscellaneous items like collars and toys, housing fees (depending on type of dog), boarding or a dogsitter if you vacation, etc.

STILL, though, honestly.. I don't consider dogs all that expensive. Adding up costs from last year NOT counting vetting the dog that was dumped on us who needed prompt care (though this is always a looming danger), and ignoring the fact that my home owner's insurance is painful due to our breeds, I'm looking at about $1k/year/dog.
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