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How much does a dog cost?

By:  Rosemary McEwen | 29th June 2021

Thinking of getting a dog? It’s important to weigh up how much a dog will cost every month on top of the money you spend on the purchase. The Dog Clinic has analysed the financial commitment in detail to help potential dog owners plan their canine budget.

How much does it cost to buy a dog?

The most expensive way to acquire a dog is to buy a pedigree puppy. Some of the more popular breeds can cost as much as £3,000.

Opting for a breed with a lower price tag, such as a Border collie or Jack Russell, could save you thousands of pounds. A crossbreed dog doesn’t necessarily cost less, especially if it’s a fashionable combination. 

Some pedigree dogs can cost more in health treatments over the course of their lives. Richard Cross from The Dog Clinic explains, “Mixed breeds are less likely to suffer from genetic conditions than pure breeds.

“Choosing a mixed breed might reduce the chance of hefty vet bills, but only on average – there’s no guarantee an individual dog won’t suffer from a medical condition.”

The Dog Clinic also strongly advise choosing from a reputable breeder and avoiding puppy mills. In the UK, opt for a Kennel Club Assured Breeder.

How much does a rescue dog cost?

A shelter will ask for an adoption fee, usually around £150. You will probably adopt a fully grown dog rather than a puppy. The adoption fee is a contribution to the healthcare your dog will have received at the shelter, which may include microchipping, vaccination and neutering. 

While adopting an older dog will save on puppy training (£100- £300), some rescue dogs need ongoing attention from a dog behaviourist.

There will be a few things to buy upfront to welcome your canine friend home, including a dog bed, leash, harness, feeding bowls, food and a crate if required. Allow at least £50 to cover these items.

What about pet insurance and medical costs?

For the majority of dog owners, pet insurance is essential. The sudden cost of treatment for any unexpected health issue is likely to be well beyond what most people can afford. The only alternative is to ringfence savings or use a credit card. You will need to put aside several thousand pounds as an emergency fund.

The monthly premium increases as your dog ages. Eventually, you could be paying around £50 per month for an adequate policy for an elderly dog. You may still need savings or a credit card to pay the excess, which might include a percentage of the overall fee.

Regular flea and tick treatments and worming will cost around £15 per month. You’ll also need to factor in annual vaccinations. Some vets have a pet care payment plan which covers all such regular necessities.

What are the costs for maintaining wellbeing?

Depending on your lifestyle, hiring a dog walker or sitter may be something you need to budget for as part of the cost of keeping a dog. In general, dogs shouldn’t be left alone for more than four or five hours, and they need regular walks.

Some breeds, particularly working dogs like pointers, require at least a couple of hours’ active exercise every day. That means you can save money on a gym membership. 

Dog walking can cost around £10 to £15 per walk. Unless you have a friend or neighbour who can look after your dog for free, doggy daycare can cost up to £25 per day, and up to £40 for an overnight stay.

Grooming services can give your pooch a refreshing makeover. But it is possible to do these tasks yourself, providing you and your dog have the patience.

How much does it cost to feed a dog?

This is the expense that you will be adding to your weekly budget. How much dog food costs will depend on the size of your dog and the type of food you buy. All About Dog Food calculates the best food based on your dog’s age and weight, and how much money you can afford per day. For example, a Labrador will be well fed on £1.50 – £2 per day, and a Border Terrier can get by on £0.50 per day.

Dogs thrive on a high-quality diet, but there are some ways to save on your dog food budget:

How can I afford the monthly costs?

The Dog Clinic suggest putting the monthly cost of feeding and care in a savings account for a few months. This will help you train yourself to afford it. That’s great advice for any major commitment.

Still have questions?

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