How Much Does A Dog Cost? Cost Breakdown Per Year, Breed, State, & More


Last Updated: January 5, 2024 | 7 min read | 3 Comments

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

A small dog sniffing a bunch of dollars close up.

The joy a dog can bring is priceless, but the reality is that owning a dog comes with ongoing costs that many don’t consider when they first adopt or bring home a new dog. I never realized how much owning a dog costs until I had one. Luckily they’re worth every penny.

But if you are considering getting a dog, you might also be wondering if you can afford a dog for the long haul. We’ll help give you an idea of what expenses you can expect for the annual cost of a dog based on stats (and our personal experience).

Can I Afford A Dog?

The cost of owning a dog can vary widely depending on the dog’s size and breed, where you live, health conditions that may arise, and other factors. After the initial expenses of adopting a dog and buying all the accessories you need (see our table below), your monthly cost of a dog could run anywhere from $27 to $165.

Keep in mind, however, that these figures are for basic costs and don’t take into account any extra expenses you might have to incur, like dog walking or pet sitting and emergency vet visits.

Annual Cost Of Owning A Dog In 2023

We’ve broken down the average cost of a dog per year in this table. As you can see, these ranges vary widely. But it’s a good starting point to give you a general idea.1

ExpensesFirst YearEach Year Following
Adoption Fee$0-$350+N/A
Spay & Neuter Fee$477.27*N/A
Routine Vaccines$100-$350$80-$250
Dental CleaningsN/A$383.61*
Heartworm Prevention$24-$120$36-$132
Flea/Tick Prevention $40-$200$492.60*
Collar & ID Tag$16-$60$0-$50
Food & Water Bowls$10-$50N/A
Treats & Dental Chews$50-$300$50-$300
Crate & Dog Bed$25–250$0-$250
TOTALUp To $2,907$Up To $2,609/year
*According to ManyPets 2023 Survey

Average Annual Dog Care Costs By State

How much does a dog cost per year? Below is a breakdown of the average dog care costs in each U.S. state. The total includes a fixed annual estimate for food ($408), toys ($35), grooming ($140), flea and tick medications ($272), and boarding ($280).2 Keep in mind that these numbers can vary depending on several factors, including geographic location, and can go up with time due to inflation.

Among the places with the highest yearly costs for pet care expenses are California, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The most affordable states are Florida, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota.

StateRegular Vet ExpensesLicenses/Fees (for spayed/neutered dogs)Pet InsuranceTotal (not including emergency costs)
New Hampshire$247$8$482.59$1,868
New Jersey$209$16$495.89$1,856
New Mexico$230$6$442.34$1,803
New York$247$9$603.19$2,010
North Carolina$225$10$399.17$1,759
North Dakota$216$5$338.76$1,685
Rhode Island$242$12$453.65$1,839
South Carolina$213$5$383.35$1,726
South Dakota$212$5$339.07$1,687
West Virginia$213$4$369.00$1711

8 Reasons Why Pet Care Expenses Vary So Much From State To State

Pet care costs can vary by state due to differences in the cost of living, regional veterinary fees, availability of pet services, and other factors. Here are some key factors that contribute to the variation in pet care costs across the country:

  1. Veterinary Costs: Urban areas tend to have higher veterinary costs compared to rural areas.
  2. Cost of Living: States with a higher overall cost of living often have higher prices for goods and services, including pet care. Urban centers and affluent areas may have more expensive pet-related services and products.
  3. Pet Insurance Rates: Regions with higher veterinary costs may have higher insurance rates. Availability and competition among insurance providers can also influence prices.
  4. Pet Services: The availability and cost of pet services such as grooming, training, and boarding can differ significantly by state. Areas with a high demand for pet services may have higher prices. Conversely, areas with limited pet-related services may see higher prices due to less competition.
  5. Geographic Factors: Climate and environmental considerations can influence the cost of certain pet care items. For example, flea and tick prevention may be more expensive in areas with a higher prevalence of these pests.
  6. Availability of Specialized Care: Some states may have a higher concentration of specialized veterinary services, such as veterinary specialists and advanced medical treatments, which can impact overall costs.
  7. Transportation Costs: The cost of transporting pets, whether for veterinary visits or other services, can vary based on the availability of public transportation, gas prices, and the overall cost of living.
  8. Cultural Attitudes Toward Pets: Where pets are considered important family members, there may be a higher demand for premium pet care products and services, affecting prices.

Other Factors That Affect The Cost Of Owning A Dog

Here are some additional factors that can affect the cost of owning a dog:

  • Size: Larger breeds generally require more food, larger crates, and potentially more extensive veterinary care.
  • Breed: Purebred dogs often come with a higher upfront cost, as breeders may charge more for dogs with documented pedigrees and specific breed traits. Certain purebred dogs are more prone to genetic health issues, leading to potentially higher veterinary costs over the dog’s lifetime, leading to potentially higher insurance premiums.
  • Grooming: Some breeds have specific grooming needs, such as regular haircuts, brushing, or specialized grooming products.
  • Welfare: Certain breeds have higher energy levels and need more exercise to stay healthy and happy. This might involve additional costs for toys, equipment, or memberships to dog-friendly parks.
  • Quality of Food: The type and quality of food can significantly impact a dog’s health. Specialized diets for certain breeds or health conditions may cost more.

Additional Expenses To Consider

Of course, the cost of dog ownership can get expensive if you have extra needs, like pet sitting, training, and grooming. Here are some of the extras you may need to consider.

Dog Walking

If you’re at work all day and don’t have a family member who can take your dog out for a potty break during the day, you’ll need to factor in dog walking costs. Typically, starting costs are $15 per 30-minute walk for a professional dog walker. So you should budget at least $300 per month if you need this service regularly.

Pet Sitting & Boarding

If you like to travel and can’t bring your pup, you may need to board him at a kennel or hire a pet sitter. The national average for boarding is $40 per night per dog. Hiring a professional pet sitter typically runs an average of $20-$40 per day (or $40-$80 per night) for one to come to your home. Of course, these costs differ depending on where you live, how many pets you have, and the types of services you want.


Basic obedience training classes can run as low as $250 per year if you only sign up for a few group classes. We have also heard stellar reviews from people who used online dog training services, and it is a fraction of the cost of in-home trainers. However, hiring a professional trainer who will come to your home to work with your dog will be much higher. Learn more about training for basic commands and aggressive dogs.

Professional Grooming

Long-haired breeds or dogs with thick, unruly coats require regular special grooming (including hair trimming) at least once a month. If you don’t have the time or patience, you might want to go with a professional groomer.

Major grooming costs can run over $1,000 per year. But even short-haired dogs need a basic wash and nail trimming once a month — and the cost for these basic professional grooming services starts at $30 per session.

If you want to save major bucks, you can groom your dog at home with these home grooming tips and kits.

Illness & Emergency Vet Care

Even the heartiest of dogs can fall ill, develop unexpected health conditions, or be involved in accidents requiring expensive vet care that could cost anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars. A monthly investment in pet insurance, however, can help save you from such a major financial hit.

Should I Finance My Pet?

The short answer is no. Taking out pet loans to adopt a new furry friend into your family isn’t a great idea. There are so many other costs associated with being a pet parent. If you cannot afford the initial expense of purchasing the pet, you’ll likely struggle to pay for the pet’s basic needs (food, vet care, toys, grooming, etc.).

What About Loans For Vet Bills?

In a survey of 760 pet owners, 13% would take out a personal loan, and 37% would turn to a credit card if a $1,000 pet-related emergency expense were to arise.1 As you can see, it’s not the strangest thing to take out pet loans, but pet insurance may prevent you from going into debt. Find out if pet insurance is worth it for your needs.

Video: How Much Does Vet Care Cost?

Pet care costs are on the rise! We made this quick one-minute video that summarizes some of the surprising stats.

Should I Consider Pet Insurance?

One of the highest unknown costs when you own a dog is unexpected health care expenses. It’s almost impossible to budget for pet accidents or serious health conditions that can arise.

The best way to plan wisely for these situations is to purchase pet health insurance, and the younger the dog, the better your prices and coverage will be. See our top pet health insurance picks to learn more.

Since premiums (prices) can vary widely, we recommend getting several pet insurance quotes before making a decision. You can use our quote form below to get instant estimates from all of our top-rated companies. It’s a smart way to safeguard against unexpected hefty vet bills and have the peace of mind that you’ll shouldn’t have to sacrifice your pet’s well-being because you can’t afford expensive treatment.

Sources: [1] PetFinder, [2] TakeSpruce, [3] LendingTree

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Sadie has covered dog-related articles for Canine Journal since 2011, writing hundreds of articles about the cost of dog ownership and the various expenses of pet ownership. As a parent to two Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs, she has experienced a wide range of vet bills, including anal gland extractions and ruptures, cancer chemo, behaviorists, dental extractions, and more. She’s also been a sitter for Rover Pet Sitting and has taken care of dozens of dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages over the years. Sadie treats her dog as if it’s her own human child and goes to great lengths to make sure to keep him happy and healthy, whatever the price. 

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Notify of
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top