What’s the real cost of owning a dog? Your annual breakdown

cost of owning a dog
cost of owning a dog

Owning a dog is an absolute joy. But keeping our pooches happy and healthy costs money. There’s the ongoing costs of food to consider, not to mention the yearly vet bills, potential grooming, toys and pet insurance.

In fact, the PDSA estimates the minimum cost of owning a dog over the course of their lifetime can be anywhere between £6,500 to £17,000. And for my American friends, the PDSA calculates the lifetime cost of owning a dog ranges from a whopping $27,074 to $42,545.

But it doesn’t necessarily stop there! The figures mentioned include the initial costs of buying your dog and those early essentials, as well as the standard rolling costs for food, toys, grooming, annual vaccinations, flea and worming treatments, as well as neutering or spaying.

But they don’t account for any unexpected accidents or health concerns your dog may develop, which could lead to expensive treatments, operations or ongoing medications. That’s why it’s always a good idea to buy pet insurance. This gives you peace of mind knowing you’re covered should your dog suffer an accident or develop a chronic illness.

So whether you’re about to get a puppy, a second dog, or just curious about how much your beloved pooch costs you every year, this cost breakdown is for you. This guide can help you decide if you can afford the costs associated with getting a dog. Or perhaps it’ll help you find ways to save money with your current dog.

I’ve included average costs and some examples based on my own experiences with Loki, which should only be used as a guide. Loki is a miniature schnauzer (a small dog). The bigger your dog, the higher the costs – particularly for your dog food bill!


Initial and one-off costs


Your initial costs include everything you buy when you bring your new puppy or dog home. This includes essential equipment like a bed, lead, collar, toys, food and drink bowls, training treats, poo bags, grooming brushes, dog shampoo, dog toothbrush and toothpaste.

This can cost anywhere from £100 – £200.



The big one-off cost to think about is getting your new pooch spayed or neutered. I feel the price we paid to spay Loki was a little on the expensive side at £190. But there are schemes available in the UK that help owners neuter their dogs for as little as £50. On the higher end this can go up to as much as £250 for large breeds.

So neutering can cost anywhere between £50 – £250.


Puppy vaccination

In the UK, puppies need two rounds of vaccinations to protect against various diseases such as parvovirus, parainfluenza and canine distemper. The first one is usually given at around 8 weeks of age, with the second given around 12 weeks of age.

The cost of the full course of vaccinations can be anywhere between £60 – £120.



Ongoing costs

Many vets offer a pet health plan that includes a full 12 months of worming tablets, flea treatments, an annual booster and a kennel cough vaccination. With my vets, I also get discounts on various treatments like dental procedures and prescriptions. I also get free health checks with the nurse for general advice, nail clipping, ear cleaning, weight checks and a few other bonuses. This is all included in a rolling monthly cost of £13.26 or just under £160 a year. It is cheaper for us than doing everything separately.

If you’re doing everything separately, you can expect to pay:


Flea treatment

Flea treatments can cost anywhere between £5 – £10 a month.



Worming tablets are given every 3 months and can cost anywhere between £10 – £15.


Booster vaccination

Booster vaccinations are given to your dog once a year to keep them protected against diseases. This can cost anywhere between £30 – £40 a year.



The average monthly cost for dog food can be anywhere between £10 – £25 a month. Loki’s food bill works out to around £10 a month.


Pet insurance

A pet insurance policy can cost between £5 – £40 a month. This depends on the type of policy you choose and whether your dog has any chronic health issues.

I’ve chosen a lifetime policy for Loki which means we’ll still be covered should she develop any ongoing health concerns during the course of the policy. It’s one of the more expensive insurance options you can go for. We pay a very reasonable £13 a month since Loki is in good health.



Long-coated dogs need to be taken to the groomers for a tidy up about every 6 weeks. Grooming can cost between £25 – £60 each time. Or if you’re like me, you save the pennies and groom them yourself at home.


Toys and treats

Training treats, chews and toys will likely be on the monthly shopping list. We love to spoil our dogs! This can cost around £10 a month.



Depending on your circumstances you may need to hire a dog walker or a dog sitter throughout the year. For a 30 minute to an hour long walk, you can expect to pay between £6 and £12. If you’re off on holiday this year, you can expect to pay between £20 and £30 a day for home boarding. A kennel facility costs between £15 and £25 a day.


To make those figures easier on the eye, here’s a handy table with the estimated yearly costs:

cost of owning a dog

How much do you spend on your furry friend every year? Has this guide helped you realise now is the right time to get a dog or puppy? Let us know in the comments below…


If you liked this post you may also like:

Bringing a puppy home? The complete list of everything you’ll need

Should I get another dog? Your pros and cons checklist

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