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How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog in the UK? Price Guide 2024

Written by: Keri-Beth Clur

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

young woman owner with her cute Jack Russell Terrier at home

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog in the UK? Price Guide 2024

Taking on a new dog is a huge emotional, physical, and financial commitment that continues until the day they take their last breath. Whether you acquire a free dog or get one from a breeder, their expenses don’t stop there. After buying food, bowls, blankets, a crate, toys, and treats for your new pet, you’ll need to take them for their vaccinations and their physical and dental checkups. You may pay for their healthcare out of your pocket or pay a monthly pet insurance premium to ensure that they’re covered for an emergency.

We can’t say for sure exactly how much it’ll cost you to own a dog, but we’re here to help you prepare for as many unexpected expenses as possible. The prices listed here are estimates, as costs differ from dog to dog and where you live within the UK.

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Bringing Home a New Dog: One-Time Costs

You’re probably more aware of how expensive owning a dog can be if you’ve already had one before. For first-time owners, there’s a lot to uncover, but rest assured knowing that you don’t need to buy top-tier gear for your dog to be happy.

When bringing a dog home, you’ll need to have some of the basics, which should last a long time. These are called one-time costs and include a bed, collar, ID tag, leash, bowls, crate, etc.

beagle puppy licking woman's nose
Image By: Stock-Holm, Shutterstock

Free

It can be exciting when a friend or family member has had a litter of puppies unexpectedly and wants to give you one for free. Or perhaps you’ve rescued a dog, and there is no sign of them having an owner to go back home to. You’ll have saved money by welcoming in a new dog for free, but you’ll still have a lot of costs to cover.

A stray dog will need to be examined by a vet to ensure they’re healthy. A young puppy will need to get their vaccinations and will likely need to be spayed or neutered.

Adoption

  • £50–£350+

The average dog adoption fee in the UK is around £100, but the rates differ depending on the shelter, the age of the dog, the type of breed, and many other factors.

Adopting a dog typically isn’t free because the shelter needs to make back the money that the dog has cost while in its care. The dog you’ve adopted likely has been to the vet for vaccinations and has been spayed or neutered. The cost of vet care differs throughout the UK, with it being cheaper in some areas. The adoption donation often will be higher or lower depending on where you adopt your dog.

Breeder

  • £500–£4,000+

If you thought that adopting a dog was pricey, you’re going to be surprised to find out that the average price of a purebred puppy from a breeder in the UK is around £1,500, and you’re not likely to find any puppies under £500. Of course, certain purebred puppies can be a lot more expensive, depending on their bloodline, popularity, and availability.

As much as people would like to save money and go with the cheapest breeders they can find, it’s important to choose a reputable breeder in order to know your puppy’s history and their parents’ health backgrounds, to get guidance on how to best care for their breed, and to take home a well-socialized pup.

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Initial Setup and Supplies

  • £140–£300+

Before you bring your new pup home, you’ve got to puppy-proof your home or apartment for their own safety and the protection of your belongings. Of course, this also costs money, but puppies chew, and if you don’t puppy-proof their area, they may bite into an electrical wire or a poisonous plant or substance.

If you’re welcoming home your first-ever puppy and don’t have some of the basics that you’d have if you had a dog before, you’re going to end up paying more because you’ll have a lot more to buy.

Remember, you don’t have to buy top-tier toys, bowls, etc., and you can save a bit of money by buying more affordable options. But you also don’t want to buy the cheapest bed and have to buy a new one in a month because it’s fallen apart. Determine what should be of higher quality and what things can be bought cheaply.

irish setter puppies
Image By: Zuzule, Shutterstock

List of Dog Care Supplies and Costs

ID Tag and Collar: £15–£40
Spay/Neuter: £215–£430
X-ray Cost: £140–£450
Ultrasound Cost: £250–£500
Microchip: £20–£40
Teeth Cleaning: £182–£610
Bed: £35–£60
Nail Clipper (optional): £12–£19
Brush (optional): £11–£18
Crate: £60–£85+
Leash: £10–£18
Toys: £6–£15+
Carrier: £23–£60+
Food and Water Bowls: £5–£22

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How Much Does a Dog Cost per Month?

  • £70–£300+
Cocker Spaniel Puppies
Image by: Alkhaine, Pixabay

Health Care

  • £33–£200+

How much you spend on your dog solely depends on you. Although you can’t avoid most costs, you can choose to keep them low or splurge on your pet. You could pay for a basic health care plan or a comprehensive one, you could buy standard dog food or freeze-dried, or you could groom your dog yourself or take them to a groomer. You need to determine which options work best for you, your dog, and your lifestyle.

Food

  • £25–£90+

The cost of dog food often depends on whether your dog needs a specialized diet. If they have digestive or skin problems or any other health condition, their food is going to cost much more than standard dog food. If your dog is highly active or goes hunting with you, they’ll need a high-fat, high-protein diet to fuel them, which also costs more.

You also need to determine whether you want your pet to eat a raw diet, raw alternative diet, or standard dog food. As long as the food is of high quality and is nutritionally balanced and complete, you can decide on the type to feed them. However, freeze-dried and similar types of diets do cost more.

Grooming

  • £10–£45

If you know how to safely trim your dog’s nails and decide to wash your pup yourself, you may pay less than £10 per month as you’d just need to regularly buy new dog shampoo. You’d already have bought a brush and clippers as part of your one-time supplies and won’t need to buy new ones.

However, if you don’t feel confident trimming your dog’s nails or don’t have the time or facilities to wash them yourself, you’ll have to take them to a groomer. This is also necessary if you’re allergic to dog dander and don’t want to have an allergic attack. Groomers cost anywhere between £25 and £110 per month, depending on the size of your dog and where you live. But the average cost is £52.

dog grooming
Image by: Olena Yakobchuk, Shutterstock

Medications and Vet Visits

  • £148–£1,100

You’re not likely to have to take your dog in for a vet visit every month, but there might be months when it will be necessary. Their vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, teeth cleaning, checkups, etc., are factors you need to consider, as these expenses may fall on different months throughout the year.

Of course, emergencies are also a reality that can leave you with a hefty bill. If your dog isn’t on pet insurance, it’s important to put money aside each month in case of emergencies. If your dog has health problems, you’re going to have to pay for medication monthly, and if they need to see their vet every month, you’re going to pay around £50 to £70 for the consultation alone.

Pet Insurance

  • £8–£123

Medical care for a dog without pet insurance is expensive. If you don’t have the extra cash to pay for life-saving surgery or treatment, you should consider pet insurance. Of course, nothing is free, and you will have to pay a monthly or annual fee, but it’s more affordable than paying cash for your dog’s treatment, especially when an unexpected emergency occurs.

You can pay for an accident-only plan, which is affordable and covers your dog if they’re hurt in an accident. Or you can pay for a pricier plan that offers higher coverage and benefits.

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Environment Maintenance

  • £25–£45

Thankfully, dogs don’t require much when it comes to their environmental maintenance. Puppies may need pee pads until they’re fully house-trained, and you may need poop bags for when you take them out for a walk, but both items are affordable. You’ll also need a poop scoop, but you’ll cover that in your one-time expenses list and probably won’t need to buy another one.

Although not as necessary, you may also want to purchase a urine-repellent spray/smell-neutralizing spray to prevent your dog from urinating on your carpets.

Pee Pads: £19/month
Poop Bags: £6/month
Dog Cleaning Spray: £10/month
small dog sitting on grass with poop bag
Image by: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Entertainment

  • £28–£120 per month

Dogs don’t need much to be happy. If they’ve got a couple of toys, puzzles, and people to play with, they’ll be entertained for hours. You can also take them on play dates, to dog parks, for a run on the beach, on a casual walk, or on a hike.

Not everyone has the time to take their dog for a walk in the week due to long hours at work—or at least not every day. If there are some days in the week when you have to leave for work early and only get back late, you can consider paying a dog walker to walk your dog. The cheapest rate for a walk is around £12, and the highest is around £40. If you pay an average rate once a week per month, you’ll pay around £65 per month.

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Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Dog

  • £70–£300+

The monthly cost of owning a dog may seem high, but remember that not all the costs will apply to you. For example, you may not have to pay for any vet bills thanks to your pet insurance. You may groom and walk your dog yourself, and they may do well on unspecialized dog food.

For others, you may have to cover some vet bills and pet insurance. You may be allergic to dog dander and have to take them to a groomer every month, and they may have sensitivities and require specialized food and frequent visits to the vet. These monthly costs will be much higher than in the first situation.

Where you live in the UK is another factor that will influence your monthly costs.

Additional Costs to Factor In

Many higher pet insurance plans cover boarding, emergencies, third-party liabilities, and behavioral training. Although such benefits generally come with a high premium, you’ll have peace of mind and won’t have to pay large amounts when the need arises.

If you don’t have these benefits, you’ll need to pay for a pet sitter when you travel for work or leisure. You’ll need to save money each month for potential emergencies, which might not cover the treatment when your dog suddenly gets injured or sick.

If your dog needs behavioral training, you’ll need to cover those classes in full and cover any damage that your untrained dog may cause to people, other pets, or someone else’s belongings. Remember that these costs are in addition to your dog’s other monthly expenses.

australian shepherd dog in training
Image By: Melounix, Shutterstock

Owning a Dog on a Budget

After realizing how expensive owning a dog can be, you may feel despondent and feel as though you’ll never be able to own a dog. But there are ways to keep the costs low and still give your dog everything they need.

First, you can adopt a dog instead of purchasing one from a breeder. Not only will you be saving a life, but you’ll also be saving a lot of money. Second, don’t settle with the first price you’re given for pet insurance, vet consultations, grooming fees, etc., and phone around to compare prices to choose the lowest one.

Third, if you’re happy with your dog sleeping on your bed or couch, you can save money on beds. You also don’t need to buy them loads of toys because they’ll only end up playing with a few.

You’ll save plenty of money if you walk and groom your dog yourself, but you should try to avoid cheap dog food. Instead, purchase the best dog food you can afford, but make sure you feed your dog the right amount, as many people give their dogs far too much, which is unhealthy and costly.

You can also consider getting a small breed over a large one, as they tend to cost less.

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Conclusion

There are a few costs you won’t be able to skimp on when owning a dog. For starters, you’re probably going to either adopt a dog or purchase one from a breeder. That cost can be high, depending on what breed you get and where you get your dog from. You’ll need to get them microchipped and spayed or neutered soon after, as well as purchase all their one-time supplies. Your cost will be lower if you’ve already had a dog, but if you’re a first-time dog owner, you’re likely to pay upward of £140.

Monthly costs vary depending on where you live in the UK, your dog’s breed, and the type of services/supplies you choose. Although pet insurance premiums can be pricey, the coverage will save you from many unexpected and additional costs. Although you could save a lot of money on cheap dog food, premium food is more nutritious for your dog, so skimp on something less important and put that extra money towards good food.


Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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