A new puppy can be an exciting addition to your family — they’re cute, cuddly, and often become another member of the family. If you’re thinking about getting a puppy, you already know how much work they can be. Between housebreaking and obedience training, you probably know you’ll need to spend a lot of time working with your young dog.
Did you also know puppies are expensive as well? The first year of owning your puppy could come with a lot of unexpected costs. Read on to learn about the common costs of your first year of puppy ownership and how you can prepare yourself financially so you can afford your new family member.
Purchase Price or Adoption Expenses
Your first big decision in getting a puppy is to choose whether you want to purchase a puppy from a respected seller — like a registered breeder — or adopt one from a shelter. You’ll need to consider what type of dog you want and if you have any specific needs or considerations.
For example, you might want a specific breed that’s hypoallergenic because a family member has allergies. It might be easiest to find a puppy that meets those needs by working directly with a reputable breeder.
Buying a puppy is usually more expensive than adopting one from an animal shelter. Most reputable breeders raise puppies from registered parents and might even register your puppy with the breed association. A good breeder also spends a lot of time researching bloodlines and giving their dogs the best care, so their puppies are healthy and have the best qualities of their breed.
To avoid purchasing from a puppy mill, be sure to look for a quality breeder and do a lot of research before buying a puppy. A puppy from a good breeder could cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on the breed.
Getting a puppy from an animal shelter, on the other hand, is usually less expensive than purchasing from a breeder. Most animal shelter adoption fees include the puppy’s first round of vaccinations, microchipping, and neuter or spay surgery.
If you aren’t looking for a specific type of dog, adopting a puppy from a shelter could save you a lot of money over buying from a breeder. (Not to mention the satisfaction that comes from giving a rescue dog a happy life.) Adoption fees are usually only a few hundred dollars, plus you’ll save on initial veterinary care for your new puppy.
Consider looking for ways to stop spending money before you get your puppy. Cutting your spending ahead of time could make it easier to cover the initial cost of purchasing or adopting your dog.
Initial Veterinary Care
After getting your new puppy, you want to be sure to keep it healthy. Young puppies require veterinary care to ensure they grow up strong and healthy, including:
- Vaccination for common canine diseases
- Spay or neuter to help control the dog population
- Microchip and registration to help bring your puppy home if it gets lost
- Heartworm prevention medication
- City or county dog license
This initial care could cost you hundreds to over a thousand dollars, depending on your location and vet. You could save on these costs by adopting a puppy from a shelter that includes these initial treatments as part of the adoption fee.
Pet Supplies and Equipment
Your puppy is finally home, and now it’s time to buy or acquire all of the supplies needed to take care of it. Most of the initial supplies necessary for a new puppy are relatively inexpensive on their own, but the costs can add up quickly.
Common needs for your new puppy include:
- Kennel or crate
- Dog bed
- Name tags
- Food and water bowls
- Food storage containers
- Dog toys and treats
- Puppy housebreaking pads
- Cleanup bags for walks
- Grooming tools like nail trimmers and brushes
The average cost for most of these items runs between $5-$25 each, except for a crate which will probably cost more. To save money, ask friends and neighbors, or look on local trading/free sites for items that others are selling or giving away. If buying new, read reviews on the supplies you want so you know you’re getting good quality items.
Routine Care and Training
Depending on your puppy’s breed, you may have to invest in regular professional care, such as grooming, to keep them in good health. A long-haired breed, for example, will probably need to visit a groomer regularly to keep their coat in good condition and avoid hair mats.
It’s also important to remember that puppies are often energetic and require proper training to grow up into well-behaved dogs. Whether you choose to take your puppy to a trainer or enroll in an obedience class with them, you can expect to spend several hundred dollars on training.
Recurring Monthly Expenses
Some puppy costs are recurring, such as food and treats. To get the best idea of how much your puppy’s regular costs will be, add up each recurring expense for the month. You might have to cut spending in other areas of your budget to help make your puppy’s expenses more affordable.
Your biggest monthly expense will probably be dog food. You might be tempted to choose the least expensive brand at the store to save some money. A cheap food could potentially hurt the long-term health of your puppy, however. Do your research and talk to your vet to determine what your puppy needs most to live a long and happy life. You might find that your dog does best on higher quality food that will cost more. Over time, however, higher quality food can help keep your dog in good health and reduce unexpected medical bills.
One way to save on dog food or other regular expenses is to look for subscription discounts. Many pet supply retailers offer discounts if you sign up to receive regular shipments. For example, you might save a couple of dollars off of each bag of dog food by signing up to get it delivered each month. You can also sign up for rewards programs from pet stores. Some rewards programs, for example, give you a free bag of treats or food after a specific number of purchases.
No one wants to think about their beloved pet getting sick or hurt, but it can happen. An accident could lead to lots of expensive vet bills. A pet insurance policy could help you pay for any unexpected medical expenses if anything happens to your pup. You could also set up a special savings account as an emergency fund dedicated to unexpected pet bills.
Another cost you may overlook when planning for a new puppy is pet sitting or care when you’re gone. If you plan to go on vacation and your puppy can’t come along, you’ll likely need to board it at a kennel. This could cost upwards of $50 a day, depending on where you live and what options are available.
If you work long hours, you may want to take your dog to doggy daycare or pay to have someone come over and take it for a walk while you’re away. These services should help keep your puppy well-behaved and happy, but they could add quite a bit to your normal expenses.
If you’re renting, you’ll need to make sure you can have a puppy at your place. Not all apartment complexes or landlords allow pets. Those that do often charge an additional deposit or monthly rent to pay for extra cleaning when you move out of the rental.
Other expenses to remember include liability issues involving your puppy. For example, if your puppy accidentally bites someone visiting your home, you could be liable for the medical bills of the person who was injured. Renters insurance could help you pay for liability costs if someone is injured at your rental, including injuries involving your dog.
Budgeting for a New Puppy
Consider the cost of a puppy before you bring your new friend home. Add up all the expenses you expect to have in the first year of owning your puppy so you can budget for the new costs. If you’re unsure how much something will cost, you can usually contact service providers or research local prices online to get a better idea of the total cost of the first year of puppy ownership.