Published: March 29, 2021  

Last updated: February 7, 2024  

Our dog’s love and loyalty are priceless… I mean you just can’t buy the unconditional love your dog gives you. But the reality is that your monthly budget needs to include certain products to keep your dog happy and healthy.

After the initial cost of adopting a dog, which can set you back anywhere from $100 to $500, plan on budgeting at least $100 per month for food and preventatives. 

You can expect the monthly cost of a dog to be at least $100 per month. The actual amount will depend on the size of your dog, your needs for professional grooming, doggy daycare or dog walkers, how much you want to spoil him with toys, and if you plan on taking training classes. Then of course if your dog gets sick… expect big vet bills.

If you are on a tight budget, I recommend taking a look at and adding the items you want for your dog in the shopping cart… how much is it?

Will you need a dog walker or plan on taking your dog to doggy daycare… contact those places to see how much they charge. Will your dog require professional grooming?

The average Rescue Dogs 101 community member spends $100-$200 per month on their dog. Tap here to see the poll results on Facebook (you’ll need to join our community).

Let’s break that down, how much do dogs cost a month on average?

Monthly cost of a dog

All prices in the chart reflect an average monthly cost. Toys are based on an average monthly subscription box. To calculate food cost, I used Purina Pro Plan, which is a mid-range food.

Grooming is for a professional to groom your dog. If you do it yourself, you’ll still have expenses of shampoo, brushes, nail trimmers, toothbrush, and paste, which will save you a little money (see one-time expenses below).

ItemSmall Dog
(3-25 lbs)
Medium Dog
(26-50 lbs)
Large Dog
(51-100 lbs)
Frontline® Flea and Tick$9$9$9
Yearly Routine vet checkup with vaccines ($145/year)$12$12$12
Yearly Dental cleaning ($500/year)$41$41$41
Yearly municipal licenses ($20/year)$2$2$2
MONTHLY COSTS$191$227$254

It’s very important to remember that these prices vary greatly, you can easily spent 2-3 times more than this. And if you need daycare or a dog walker your monthly budget can quickly double or quadruple.

Optional monthly costs include:

Yes it is possible to spend less then $100 per month on your dog. But I caution you to be aware of feeding your dog quality generic dog food. Sure you can survive eating junk food your entire life, but will you feel like crap? Will live to your full potential age?

You may not need to spend $30 a month on toys by making your own. You can also groom your dog at home to save $60 a month. And yearly dental cleanings aren’t necessary if you brush your dogs teeth daily. So with these savings you could be paying more like $60 to $123 per month.

Other expenses of dog ownership

The above monthly averages are for the essentials you will need to feed your dog and keep up with his basic health needs. Let’s talk about all the expenses of taking care of your dog.

One-Time Expenses

The prices list are minimum, you will most likely spend 10X more to get what you want and high-quality products.

I recommend checking out Chewy, make a wish list by adding everything to a cart and see how much it’s going to cost.

One-Time ExpenseInitial Cost (minimum)
Adoption fee$100
Collar, leash, ID tag$30
Food and Water Bowls$30
Pooper scooper or bags$20
Dog bed$30
Baby gate$40
Grooming supplies$60

Related: Puppy Shopping List For New Dog Parents

This brings us to what it costs to own a dog through-out his lifetime…

young couple shopping for dog supplies

The lifetime cost of a dog

Add all those monthly costs up and you are spending $2,292 to $3,048 per year, per dog.

And if your dog gets sick, or should I say when your dog gets sick, the vet bill adds up fast. Expect at least $100, but more realistically hundreds to thousands of dollars.  

If you adopt a one-year-old dog that lives to be the average 11 years old, you are spending $22,920 to $30,048 on that dog over his lifetime.

Can I afford a dog?

Is it worth it? Ask most dog parents and they will say hands down YES! Our dogs are priceless. I wouldn’t trade my dogs for the world.

But you have to ask yourself that question… does your budget allow for these monthly expenses? Be honest with yourself, can you afford a dog? What happens your dog gets sick, can you afford high vet bills? Life is unpredictable, so expect the unexpected and hope for the best.

Dogs will return your love ten-fold, all the money in the world is worth their companionship… but of course, you need to think about your family. Being able to pay rent and food to feed your family is a priority.

If you want a dog and can’t fit it in your budget, consider fostering for a dog. Often rescues will give you all the supplies you need, plus the rescue will pay for medical expenses. It’s a win-win situation.


Monthly cost of a dog will be at least $100 per month, but often more than $200. Over the lifetime of owning one dog, it will cost you $22,920 to $30,048.

You can save money in many ways, like buying used crates on Craigslist or FB Marketplace.  

Please share in the comments below how much you expect to spend on your dog each month. Do you plan on sticking with the basics or spoiling your dog with all the best food and toys each month?

Recommended reading:

Chart explaining How much do dogs cost a month?
About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. yes owning and caring for a dog is quite expensive, but somehow we manage to always have funds for my Loki. i coudnt afford to not have him he has literaly been my lifesaver he is priceless! i would do without before ever cheating him out of anything

  2. I’ve avoided totally the costs per month. I’m honestly scared to know.
    I have 3 large dogs. One with digestive issues.
    * On dry food we are spending 60+ a week.
    * Then there is the rice and veggies I prep and add to their food. probably another 30
    * Treats I make myself due to the digestive issues. Maybe 20 a month.
    * I’ve started getting coconut water to help with hydration because dry food sucks. maybe 10-15 a month
    * I have the pre/pro-biotics/enzymes, roughly 30 for a month.
    * Since they are large dogs (GSD’s) I worry about dysplasia, add another 30 for Joint health supplements. (maybe more, this is new, not sure how long it will last)
    * Then for toys, we found barkbox for large aggressive chewers, I think that is about 40 a month. (hey, I’ve only have one toys I had to get replacement for)

    But for all that, the digestive issue dog has had nearly normal poo. Oh happy days!
    Oh crap, lets not forget the 140 a month spent on dog poo pick up service! (I’m sure he’ll appreciate the better quality poo)

    Not to mention the occasional vet visits (coming up in a couple weeks)

    See, I didn’t want to see that final number. Hubs would have a coronary if he knew it was north of 500 we spend on the dogs.

    In my situation, I haven’t been able to find a way to save money. But I have found that just because a dog food has a high price tag, doesn’t mean it is quality.

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