How much does a dog cost per month?

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 Chewy.com 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?

This post does contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will receive a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more). Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

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).

From rescue to home your survival checklist contents

Rescue Dogs 101's
From Rescue to Home, Your Survival Checklist

  • Adoption Questionnaire
  • New Dog Shopping Checklist
  • Puppy Proofing Your Home Checklist
  • Bringing Your Adopted Dog Home
  • The 3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Month Rule 
  • Dogs Body Language Quick Cheat Sheet
  • ItemSmall Dog
    (3-25 lbs)
    Medium Dog
    (26-50 lbs)
    Large Dog
    (51-100 lbs)
    Food$20$45$60
    Treats $10$20$30
    Toys$30$30$30
    HeartGuard® $7$8$10
    Frontline® Flea and Tick $9$9$9
    Grooming $60$60$60
    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:

    • Dog walkers $400 ($20/walk)
    • Doggy daycare $500 ($25/day)
    • Training classes $150/6 weeks
    • Probiotics $30/month
    • Doggie Lawn $30/month
    • Medications $20/month

    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
    Crate $40
    Baby gate $40
    Playpen $40
    Grooming supplies $60
    TOTAL COST$390

    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.

    Conclusion

    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?

    Sharing is caring!

    About the Author Debi@RescueDogs101

    Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

    Leave a Comment:

    Add Your Reply