Considering dog ownership? Before taking the plunge, it’s important to understand if you’re ready for both the personal and financial responsibility of pet ownership. In honor of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month (October), we’re consolidating the obvious and (not so) obvious costs of owning a dog to help potential owners better understand what to expect and discover ways they can save. 

The Cost of Ownership

Did you know the annual cost of owning a dog is estimated between $1,500 to $9,900, putting the average monthly cost somewhere in the broad range of $125 and $824? Here’s a breakdown of what those costs look like:

Ways to Save Money

Dogs may come with a pack of associated costs, but there are a variety of ways to save money depending on the choices you make. Contributing factors for how much your dog will cost include their size and age, the region in which you live, your own lifestyle, and your dog’s individual needs.

Consider these areas to cut down on expenses:

Adopt a dog

Adopting from a reputable organization is the most affordable option. It’s important to be aware that adopting a dog without an extensive health history can come with unexpected medical issues and vet expenses. Take the time to thoroughly research your potential furry best friend’s organization and background. 

Customized pet insurance

Consider purchasing pet insurance to avoid costly and unexpected vet bills. Use Pawlicy Advisor to find the best pet insurance quotes and coverage for your pet’s lifetime costs.

Homemade treats

Dog food can add up quickly — especially if you have a larger dog. Save money and use better, safer ingredients by making your own dog treats. Many popular dog treats cost between $5 and $10 a bag, while organic, all-natural treats are even more expensive. Making homemade treats can cut your dog treat budget in half! 

Gently used accessories

Dogs require a few items — from leashes and collars to food bowls, sleeping pads and even clothing — but these don’t have to break your budget. Search for gently used accessories on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist — or ask friends and neighbors if they have unused items to lend.   

Regular grooming

Be proactive with your dog’s grooming habits, including regular baths and teeth brushing to avoid costly skin and teeth problems later on.

Health benefits of dog ownership

Sure, we just highlighted the possible costs that come with having a pooch, but ask any dog parent if it’s worth it, and you’re more than likely going to get a resounding yes. Why?

Dogs provide us with unconditional love and companionship. Moreover, reports show that dog ownership can reduce stress levels, increase heart health, and even boost cognitive function. Considering all of that, it’s little wonder dogs are a person’s best friend.

Understanding the associated costs of caring for a dog means you’re one step closer to responsible dog ownership. Make sure to factor in these costs to your current budget to determine if and when you’re ready to add Fido to your family.

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