Cost of puppy ownership

Can You Afford A Puppy?

Puppies are adorable, let’s all agree on that. Let’s also agree that they are expensive both in purchase price and in food and veterinary bills. Before you commit to that cute new puppy sit down and figure out if you can really afford it.

Look Before You Leap With Pets

Pets are so hard to say no to, especially puppies. Even the scent of a puppy puts that new car smell to shame. The moment you hold one, you just want to take it home. This of course is a huge problem. People get the puppy before they even stop to figure out if they can afford it. This is why their are so many dogs at the pound.

According to Pet Finder, the first year cost of a puppy is $395 to $2455 and that is for a rescue animal, not for one from a breeder. So, before you commit to that cute new pup, let’s take a minute to break down where your money will go.

Purchase Price

The first thing to look at is the purchase price. You can often find free puppies but the best source might just be the pound. Still, it will cost you. Expect to pay about $300 for an adoption fee. Keep in mind that this fee goes towards running the shelter and veterinary costs. It also also usually includes the spaying or neutering of your animal. It will have already been done or you may be given a voucher to use at a vet for the procedure.

If you want a dog from a breeder, expect to pay much more. Depending on the breed, you are looking at anywhere from $500 to $2000. It can get expensive fast which is why puppy financing has gotten so popular. Might seem strange to finance a dog but many people are doing it. It can make an expensive breed attainable to more people.

Veterinary Bills

Now, let’s look at veterinary bills. Your new puppy will need at least three pet visits in the first few months of life for shots and deworming. Figure $150 to $200 per visit at an average veterinary clinic. You can save money by looking for discount vet clinics but it will still add up quickly.

Next, you need flea and tick preventative as well as heart worm protection. That will cost about $150 to $200 a year.

At around six months, you need to start considering having your pet spayed or neutered. That is an additional $500 to $600 that you will need to come up with. You do not want to deal with the problems associated with an animal that is not fixed, so get this done. Animals that are spayed or neutered are happier and healthier.

When you have your dog fixed, you should also look into microchipping them at the same time. For around $100, you can get your pet back if they get lost or even stolen. Considering the financial and emotional investment we have in our dogs, it is money well spent.

Finally, you have the annual checkup at around $100 and the little things that just come up. Weird rashes, allergic reactions, vomiting. Dogs get sick just like people do and will need an occasional vet visit other than the annual one. Figure $200 a year for vet visits, including the annual.


Food can add up quick too, especially if you want to feed them right. A good food will be about $30 to $40 for a fifteen pound bag. Sure, you could go cheaper but this is not good for your dog. You need to get them a food that is balanced so that they fell healthy and stay healthy. Would you want to eat Cheetos all the time?  Well, maybe, but it still isn’t good for them. Get them a good food.

If you need recommendations for a good dog food, ask your vet for a few choices. Even better, join a pet forum and ask around. You will probably find dozens of people who have already done all of the research to find the best pet food.


This is another consideration that people do not make. Do you have the time for your animal. Time to take care of them, time to take them to the vet and most importantly, time to spend with them.

If you are just starting your career or your family you might not have this time. Find yourself short on time and you will have a neglected and unhealthy pet. That is not good for anyone.

Total Costs

The costs can really add up with pet ownership. As you can see, the cost of that new puppy in the first year can be anywhere from 2000 dollars to 4000 dollars, depending on the initial cost of the animal. That is quite an expenditure for the average family.

Before you pull the trigger on that cute pup, be sure to add up all of your costs and divide them into your annual budget. If it makes sense, by all means get one. If the expenses would burden an already tight budget, do the right thing and pass for now.

Wrapping Up

It is easy to get carried away with pets and leap before you look. Don’t let your impulses get the best of you. Think about all of the costs including both the financial ones and the time ones. Be honest with yourself and make sure that you have both the time and money to pull off owning a pet. If you are at all in doubt, it is best to hold off than to end up with an animal that you can not afford.

Posted by
James Car

James Car is a finance, loan and budget expert based in the United States. After attending Brookhaven college, he went on to become a successful entrepreneur. He now enjoys writing articles that help people save and make the most of their money.