Can You Afford a Dog?

Dogs are one of the most expensive animals and depending on what breed you get, it’s going to cost you anywhere between $150 and $1000. That’s a lot of money but it’s worth it for a new best friend. However, the cost doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve paid for the dog itself, there are all sorts of extra hidden costs that pop up over the next few months.

If you can’t afford to pay these costs you won’t be able to care for your new dog properly. Owning a dog is a responsibility and it’s up to you to make sure you can afford to look after them, if you can’t then you should think twice about getting one in the first place.

Before you make any decisions, remember to factor in these hidden costs and see whether you think you can cover them or not.

Time Off Work

This is a cost that people rarely factor in and quite a lot of people don’t take the time off work at all. When you first bring your dog home it’s going to be very confusing and it’ll take them some time to get used to their new environment. Leaving them alone in the house during the first couple of weeks is especially distressful for them and you should try to avoid it where possible. That means at least one of you should take a few weeks off work to spend with your new puppy while he settles in. If you don’t have any paid holiday left you’ll have to shoulder the cost of taking that time off and factor it into your calculations.

Vet Bills

Even if your dog is perfectly healthy you’ll need to take them to the vet quite often when they’re young and it’s going to cost you. They’ll need all of their vaccinations for a start then they need regular checkups to make sure they don’t have any other problems. Ticks and fleas are a big risk in young dogs and if they catch them, you could end up with them all over your house. Pet-Lock products get rid of any pests and stop them from appearing again. Using them regularly makes sure that you don’t have any problems with fleas or ticks. You’ll also need to get them some worming tablets as well.


You could always try to reduce the cost of owning a dog by skipping out on these products but your dog is likely to get sick if you do. That means you’ll have to pay vet bills anyway and you won’t actually be saving any money. Vet bills can get pretty expensive and although you won’t need to take them as often when they get older, it’s still going to cost you a lot of money.


When your pet gets seriously ill you could find yourself suddenly having to pay out thousands of dollars in extreme cases. Even for fairly simple problems, the total cost could add up to a few hundred. But you can cut that cost a bit by getting some insurance. You’ll have to pay every month but it seriously reduces the cost if you do end up having to take them in. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to risk it and save the monthly cost or play it safe and go for insurance. If you do, that’s another monthly cost to think about.


As well as health insurance, you should also consider liability insurance for dogs. If your dog damages any property or injures another dog or a person, you’ll be liable for any costs that are involved. That means you fixing serious property damage or paying some expensive vet bills if they get into a tumble with another dog. If you take out liability insurance then you can get those costs covered for you.


Training your dog yourself is an option and a lot of people get by just fine with it. However, if you haven’t got the time to train the dog properly, or you’re struggling with it, you should consider taking them to classes. If you don’t train them and they’re constantly chewing things up, that’s costing you money as well so training classes are a good investment. They can cost you between $50 and $100 an hour and you’ll need a fair few sessions before your dog is behaving how you want them to.



This is an obvious one and you’ve probably thought of it but you might not realize how much it’s going to cost. The problem is, most of the better known brands tend to be cheaper but they’re really not good for your dog. They’re packed full of junk and you should steer clear of them. There are natural foods out there but they’re going to cost you a little bit more.

When you’re trying to find the right food, look at the ingredients list. You’re looking for anything that lists a meat product as its main ingredient and you want a list of just four or five things. Food costs can be as low as $20 month if you get the cheaper stuff but if you want your dog to be as healthy as possible, you’ll want to be spending around $60 a month on some healthy, affordable dog food.


People don’t often consider toys to be a vital expense for dogs but they are very important. When their teeth are coming through they need things to chew on. It helps their development and builds strong teeth. It’s also important that they have toys to entertain themselves.

Once you start leaving them at home on their own all day, they’ll get bored and restless and they need toys to occupy them until you get home. Toys don’t cost a huge amount but they’ll get through them quite quickly, especially when they’re young.

Once you add all of these costs together you’ll find that it’s going to cost you a lot more than you first thought to own a dog. The love and joy that they bring to your family are immeasurable, but be a responsible pet owner and make  sure you can afford them before you take them in.

2020 Kimberly Signature

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