What is the true cost of owning a dog?


Everyone loves dogs. Playful, loyal and loving, they truly are man’s best friend, and what price can you put on that?

Well, you’ll find the answer below, as it turns out it costs quite a lot to own a dog over the course of its lifetime. Often when people think of getting a pet, the sheer excitement gets in the way of the practical side. If you are going to get one, you need to be clear on how much things cost and, more importantly, whether you’ve got the means to afford one.


So, back to those figures.

The total cost

We won’t kill you with suspense and force you to read to the end. Here are the sums.

The average pup will cost you a healthy £21,000 over the course of their lifetime, as per Money Advice Service. Now, that’s average. Say you’re supersizing and going for one of the bigger pedigree breeds, that figure can rise to £33,000.

It’s an interesting, and considerable, number to look at. Yes, you know that a dog will cost you a decent chunk of money, but it’s not until you see a figure like that that the reality can set in. Say your dog lives for the typical 13 years, that’s over £1,600 a year. It’s essential you know you can afford to spare that figure every 12 months and carefully assess your budget before taking the plunge.

Here’s what you need to be buying.

The big things

  • The dog itself: How much you’re paying here depends on the what and where of the dog. Get one from a registered breeder or rescue centre and you can expect to pay £50-£100. If you’re buying an in-demand breed, however, prices can go up to £1,000 and beyond.
  • Dog food: Probably around £25 a month, translating to £200-£400 a year depending on the size of your hungry pup.
  • Accessories: Bedding, toys, leads – that kind of thing. If you’re keeping things simple, add another £200-£400.
  • Insurance: Obviously this varies a lot from dog to dog. The average lifetime policy comes in around £470 a year.
  • Medical stuff: A reason to get insurance – vet bills can be colossal. Broken bones or chemotherapy will cost thousands, while continuous ailments can cost hundreds a year. When it comes to getting jabs, your initial set will cost £100 then £50 for boosters thereafter.
  • Neutering: Typically, between £60-£180.

The stuff you haven’t thought about

  • Teeth cleaning: Those gnashers need taking care of, to the tune of £100-£200. Dental work may cost close to half a grand.


  • Microchipping: A legal requirement these days, it’ll only cost you £15-£20, which is much better than the £500 fine you’ll face if you don’t get it done.
  • External care: Dog walkers are usually about £10 an hour, whereas all-day care can cost £17-£25 a day depending on whether you go to kennels or get a private sitter.
  • Passport: Before the fun in the sun can begin, a passport costs about £150-£250.
  • Saying goodbye: Not something you want to think about, but an inevitability you must consider at some point. If your dog needs to be put down by a vet, it’ll cost £30-£50, or more if you get it done at home. Cremation costs from £50 if you don’t want the ashes returned, or £150-£300 if you do.


And one more thing…

Getting a dog is a major financial commitment, but it’s even more an emotional one. You’ll need to devote a huge amount of your time and love to your pet, as you should, so be ready for that side, too.

So, in total, an average year’s salary and a whole lotta love – there you have your lifetime bill for owning a dog.