How much does a dog cost per year? 5 biggest expenses revealed

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A pet is a huge responsibility, and “How much does a dog cost per year?” should be one of the first questions you research before bringing a dog into your home. Read more

Some people get dogs and other pets without considering the cost of caring for and feeding the pet for the year. They think about the cost of feeding inexpensive dog food, but forget about vet bills and grooming. You can minimize some of these costs by feeding a good diet and purchasing pet insurance.

You need to consider the following costs of owning a dog:

Veterinary Expenses
Pet Insurance

Read below for more details.


While it might seem less expensive to feed cheap dog food, that could add to your vet bills. Instead, feed at least a medium-grade food unless you can afford a high-grade dog food. Your dog will be much healthier and, in the long term, will reduce vet bills.

The cost of food depends on the size of your dog and the brand of dog food you buy. Or, you can choose to feed a raw diet. Feeding a 50-pound dog ranges from $2 to $5 per day or $730 to $1,825 per year.

Veterinary Expenses

veterinary expenses of owning a dog
Dog examined by vets

Another necessity that varies widely per year is veterinary expenses, including maintenance medications, such as heartworm and flea medications. Most medications vary in price by the size of the dog. Certain breeds have more issues than others. Dogs are like little kids – they’re always getting into something, including scrapes with other pets or themselves. You should always have pet insurance plus a couple of thousand dollars set aside in the event of emergencies. Veterinary expenses could run from a few hundred to thousands of dollars annually. If your dog has a chronic illness, such as diabetes, the expenses could be much higher. At a minimum, your dog has yearly vaccinations, flea and tick medications, and heartworm medications that you must have on a monthly basis.


If you like to take your dog to the groomer, it might cost a couple of hundred dollars to thousands per year, depending on the size of your dog and the number of times you go to the groomer.

Even if you groom your dog yourself, you will most likely have $200 to $400 per year in brushes and shampoo if you have a regular grooming schedule.


Unless you have a breed that prefers to be a couch potato, you will need to keep your dog entertained. Otherwise, you could end up with chewed furniture, shoes, and even walls. Smaller dogs play with smaller toys, so the toy bill is less expensive than if you have a larger dog who is a power chewer that goes through toys in a matter of hours. The cost of toys could range from $100 to $1,000 or more per year, especially if you spoil your dog.

Pet Insurance

buying pet insurance
Dog owner buying pet insurance

You can save on vet bills for yearly care, emergencies or chronic illnesses when you purchase pet insurance. Pet insurance varies widely and is based on your location and your pet’s breed, sex and age. The average price for accident and illness insurance ranges from $40 to $60 per month or $480 to $720 per year. For accident only, the average price ranges from $15 to $25 per month or $180 to $300 per year.

If you are ready to get a dog, you can determine the yearly cost of owning a dog by knowing its size and breed. Be sure to research breed-specific issues to know if you are ready to invest in a pet that might have issues, especially as it ages.

What to do next?

Are you worried your dog may catch fleas or ticks? Check out our guides on flea and tick prevention and how to get rid of fleas. If you, or someone in your family is allergic to dogs, but would like to own one, check our guide to non shedding dogs. Looking for dog toys? Check the Toys section of our website.

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Agnes is the owner and Editor-in-Chief of PetCareLink, website dedicated to first time pet owners looking for help in looking after their animals. Agnes is a pet enthusiast and a devoted owner of Cookie the ragdoll cat. She combines her passion for improving pets and their owners' lives with her background in medicine and research to promote responsible pet ownership.

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