Know the True Cost of Owning a Dog – American Kennel Club



Dogs provide immeasurable benefits to the lives of their owners, including companionship, stress reduction, unconditional love, and more. It is impossible to put a price on everything your dog does for you. But you can put a price on what it costs you to own them. And it can be much higher than expected. In fact, many people underestimate the expense of responsible dog ownership. Especially before you bring a dog into your life, know what to expect. Recent data from the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and LendEDU, a financial education website, will help you prepare a realistic budget for your pet.

Global cost per year

According to APPA National Pet Owners Survey 2021-2022, pets are big business. In 2020, Americans spent $ 103.6 billion on their pets, and that number is expected to increase to six billion in 2021. That includes the cost of food, supplies, veterinary care, and services like babysitting. animals, grooming and training.

But what can you expect as an individual? When LendEDU interviewed 1,000 people and asked dog owners what they estimated to spend on their dogs each month, the average response was $ 157.39. If you add that up, that works out to $ 1,888.68 per year. This estimate is likely to be low, however, especially since a 2004 American Kennel Club (AKC) survey concluded that the average annual cost of dog care was $ 2,489.00. (Although these expenses included travel and dog events.)

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If your dog lives 10 years, a reasonable lifespan for many breeds, you are looking at close to $ 19,000 invested in your dog. And that doesn’t include the cost of purchasing your dog in the first place. Of course, this number will vary widely depending on factors such as your dog’s size and health. For example, a toy breed simply costs less to maintain on average than a giant breed. They eat less and all of their supplies are smaller. The AKC investigation found that giant breeds like the Great Dane cost $ 3,321 per year compared to $ 1,831 for small breeds like the Shih Tzu.

Breakdown of expenses

There are many responsibilities when owning a dog and therefore many types of expenses. Some are routine like food, treats, and annual vet exams. Others are sporadic like licenses, training courses and toys. Still, others are one-time expenses like fencing your yard or microchipping your dog. Regardless of the time period, here’s a breakdown of some of the different categories:

  • Food and treats: According to the LendEDU survey, people estimate that just over half of their spending on pets is spent on feeding their pets. According to the APPA survey, the approximate annual cost of food is $ 287 while treats cost $ 81. However, anyone who has walked the food aisle at the pet store knows that there is a huge price and quality range for food and treats, so the monthly spend can be much higher.
  • Toys and accessories: This category accounted for just over 10 percent of monthly spending by LendEDU survey participants. The APPA survey put the cost of toys at just $ 56 per year. Of course, the more destructive your dog is, the more toys you will have. The APPA also listed grooming aids and brushes at $ 47 per year. This cost will be much higher if your dog requires the services of a professional groomer. And don’t forget accessories like boots and jackets for the cold winter, or life jackets for water safety.
  • Services: The APPA maintains that Americans spent $ 8.1 billion on pet services in 2020. This would include groomers, dog walkers, animal sitters, dog trainers and animal behaviorists. However, the only category of service with monetary value in the survey was kennel boarding, which cost $ 228 per year. Obviously, the more services your dog needs, whether it’s professional help with behavioral issues or a daily session with a dog walker, the higher your spending in this category will be.
  • Health and veterinary care: In the LendEDU survey, respondents estimated that health-related costs accounted for almost a quarter of their pets’ expenses. According to the APPA survey, surgical vet visits cost dog owners $ 458 per year and routine veterinary exams cost $ 242. Then, of course, there are other health costs like drugs or vitamins and supplements. The APPA lists vitamins as an expense of $ 81 per year. A final consideration is pet insurance. According to the LendEDU survey, people spent an average of $ 76.76 per month on pet insurance. Although it sounds cumbersome, just over three-quarters of those polled said their insurance was useful for emergency expenses, and among those people, nearly 90 percent felt the monthly insurance fee was worth it. worth it.

Expect the unexpected

Knowing all of these planned expenses will allow you to accurately budget for dog ownership. But don’t forget about unforeseen expenses, either. Your dog may become ill, need emergency dental surgery, or develop food allergies and require a special diet. You don’t want to be caught without the means to take care of your furry best friend. In fact, nearly a quarter of pet owners surveyed by LendEDU are in debt due to their pet’s medical needs for an average of $ 1,566.96. Be prepared with emergency savings just in case.

And once you bring a dog into your life, you might want to include them in all aspects. Maybe you decide to travel with your dog and incur additional costs for their flight or your vacation home security deposit. Perhaps you will be getting into a dog sport like agility or rallying and need funds for training and competition registration fees. You never know where dog ownership will take you, so be prepared with a dog reserve fund. Your dog is your best friend and loving companion, and his care is your responsibility. The costs may be higher than you expect, but your dog will reimburse you for more than money can buy.


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