Budgeting for a Pet: How Much Does a Dog Cost?

Posted on 10/04/2013

Eight million dogs and cats enter shelters each year and according to statistics, more than half won't make it out alive. If you've ever thought about adopting a dog from an animal shelter or humane society now may be the time. Throughout the month of October shelters across the country will be offering discounts on adoption fees in honor of National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. But before you take the plunge and bring Fido home make sure you know how much that pet will cost.

Size Matters
According to petfinder.com, the bigger the dog the bigger the bite they'll take out of your budget. Food for a large dog will cost you about $200 more a year than food for a small dog. Medical bills, toys and treats will also cost more. The site estimates that a small dog will cost about $400 in annual expenses while a large dog will set you back about $700.

Spay and Neuter
If you want to be a responsible pet owner you'll have to pay for your new furry friend to be spayed or neutered. The shelter where you adopt your dog may have already performed this surgery or they may offer the procedure at a deep discount. But it's a good idea to set aside between $75 and $125 for this surgery.

Crates and Kennels
Most people opt to purchase a crate or kennel for their dog. It's a great way to ensure that your pooch doesn't get into trouble while you're away. The price for a crate can vary significantly. At Petsmart.com a small crate runs about $65 and a large crate can be about $140. Right now you can save 15% off a $60 or more online order with code OCTFALL. Plus shipping is free.

Not all dogs need regular haircuts so that's definitely a cost you'll want to consider. Grooming can cost anywhere from $200 to $400 a year according to petfinder.com. Some breeds don't require much more than a bath so for a low-maintenance breed check out Chihuahuas, Puggles or Corgis. On the other hand breeds like Yorkshire Terriers, Cocker Spaniels and Chow Chows will need more effort to stay healthy and clean. Check out this list from dogtime.com of breeds that require grooming.

When selecting a dog from the shelter it's possible to find one that already has some training under its belt, which could save you money. Puppies are cute, but they'll require more work when it comes to potty training and obedience. If you don't have time to take on that task paying someone to do it for you can cost hundreds of dollars which is another significant expense of dog ownership.

By Alison Storm

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