Bringing a dog into your home means new adventures, new experiences - and new responsibilities. One of the most important responsibilities of dog ownershipis financial: you’ll need to pay for your dog’s food and medical requirements, along with numerous other items and services that it needs to live a full and happy life.
Owning a dog doesn’t have to be expensive - but you need to be able to afford to maintain your pup’s welfare over the course of its life. To help you get an idea of what that might entail, we’ve put together a guide to annual dog care costs including items that you absolutely need, and some that you and your dog probably want!
Getting started: Home essentials for your new dog
We understand how excited you’ll be to bring your new dog home. Before it arrives, however, you’ll need to make a few purchases to make its space safe and comfortable. You’ll only need a few essential things to prepare for your dog’s arrival - we’ve listed them below in our new dog checklist!
The ManyPets new dog home checklist:
|Dog bed (depending on brand and dog breed)
|£5 - £230
|Lead, collar, harness, ID tag
|£6 - £40
|Food (10kg dry food)
|£10 - £130
|Dog bowls (for food and water)
|£2 - £40
|Waste bags (for first month)
|Travel carrier (for very young, or very small dogs)
|£10 - £150
*Price ranges are averages based on research conducted on 23 November, 2023. Figures may vary significantly based on a range of factors.
The list above isn’t exhaustive but broadly represents the minimum you’ll need when you bring your dog home. While some are one-off costs, others, such as food, are ongoing costs that you’ll pay every week, month, or year that you have your dog.
There are plenty of other expenses that contribute to the average annual cost of dog ownership. We’ll explore those costs below.
The annual cost of owning a dog: What do I need to pay for?
It’s a good idea to get your dog checked out by the vet when you bring them home. The check-up will ensure you know about any medical conditions your dog has, and what kind of care they might need going forward. Remember to find out what your vet will charge before your check-up, and shop around for the best value.
You’ll need to pay for different types of veterinary care over your dog’s lifetime, including:
Vaccinations: You can protect your dogs against a number of common diseases, including rabies (which is a legal requirement for travelling outside the UK), by getting them vaccinated.
Flea, tick, and worm treatment: Dogs are vulnerable to parasite infestations so you need to plan for regular defleaing and deworming treatments.
Neutering (spaying or castrating): If you want to avoid having to deal with newborn puppies, the complications that can come with dog pregnancy, or some of the potential risks of pets remaining intact/entire, you’ll need to pay to have your dog neutered.
Routine healthcare: Keeping your dog happy and healthy means taking a preventative approach to accidents and illnesses over the course of its life, including taking it to the vet for routine check-ups.
End of life care: When dogs are suffering from an illness or injury, it’s important to take them to the vet to have them humanely put to sleep.
Vet bills are highly variable and these costs don’t take into account the price of prescriptions or regular treatments that your dog might need over the course of their lifetime. Similarly, if your dog has an accident or develops an illness, you might need to cover the price of an emergency vet appointment.
When you go on holiday, you’ll need to decide whether to bring your pup along with you. If you’re going overseas, it may be a little more expensive to bring your dog, but there will also be costs associated with leaving them at home.
Dog sitter or kennels: If you’re not taking your dog with you on your trip, you’ll need to make sure it’s cared for while you’re away. You could hire a dog sitter to visit your home, feed, and take your dog for walks, or you could put your dog in a kennel for the duration of your trip.
Animal Health Certificate: If you are taking your dog from the UK to another country, you’ll need your vet to fill out and sign an Animal Health Certificate within 10 days of the travel date.
Dog carrier/crate: While you’re travelling, you may need to secure your dog in a carrier if you’re carrying it with you, or put it in a crate to travel in the baggage hold of aircraft.
Vaccinations and quarantine: Travel to certain countries might require you to get your dog extra vaccinations or pay for a period of quarantine.
Your home will be the place your dog spends most of its time, so you’ll want it to be safe, secure, and comfortable. That might mean making a few essential, and non-essential purchases.
Toys: Dogs love to play, so toys aren’t really an optional purchase. Whether its tennis balls, chew toys, or oversize plushies, your dog will likely go through dozens if not hundreds of toys in its lifetime!
Grooming supplies: Depending on your dog’s breed and age, you’ll need to purchase certain grooming items. A brush, and a toothbrush and toothpaste are probably must-buy items, but you may also want to get dog shampoo, dog nail clippers, and even a razor for trimming their fur.
Puppy crate: Young puppies (and some older dogs) may need to be crate trained. This means you’ll need to buy a lockable puppy crate or box with enough space for them to spend time inside comfortably.
Waste bags: You’ll need to clean up after your dog when you take them outside, which means always having a poop bag (or two) in your pocket!
It goes without saying that you’ll need to feed your dog a healthy and nutritious diet. Fortunately, there’s a wide choice of dog food brands available, including dry and wet varieties. Dog treats are also a must-buy since they’re really useful for training your dog, encouraging good behaviour, and for when you just feel like spoiling them!
Dog insurance is an upfront expense but can provide significant financial support when your dog needs to go to see a vet for an unexpected accident or illness. Some insurance providers offer coverage for dental illness and for certain pre-existing conditions. Insurance is more than just a way of managing vet bills though, it’s about having peace of mind that you’ll be able to give your furry best friend the medical care they need, when they need it.
Average annual cost of owning a dog
Let’s take a step back and take a look at the average annual cost of owning a dog, including the items we mentioned above. We’ve broken down the expenses to include the monthly cost of owning a dog, and other recurring payments.
|New dog essentials (see table above)
|Vaccinations in first year
|Vaccinations boosters after first year
|Food (highly variable by brand, size and age of dog)
|Annual vet check-up
|Professional dental cleaning
|Animal Health Certificate, 4 month validity (including necessary vaccinations)
|One-off/Each time you travel
|Dog sitter - 1 day booking
|Dog kennels - 1 day/night
|Dog boarding - 1 night booking
|Dog insurance (highly variable by a variety of factors)
|Total annual dog expenses
*Costs are averages based on research conducted on 23 November, 2023. Figures may vary significantly based on a range of factors.
Not every dog is going to need the same level of care and attention, so the average costs we’ve listed above are only an estimate of what you might expect to pay for your dog each year. Some owners may take their dog with them on their travels, for example, and save on sitting costs, while others may not need to groom their dogs frequently. Hopefully these estimates should give you an idea of the average monthly cost of owning a dog, and help you prepare your budget for when your new friend arrives!
Smart budgeting for happy dogs
Having a dog can be a significant financial responsibility and vary depending on factors like your dog’s size and breed, and how old it was when you got it. While that figure may seem daunting, it’s worth remembering that you’re getting years of love from your pup, and giving it a caring home where it feels safe and happy.
You can make dog ownership more affordable with a bit of smart budgeting, and thinking about ways to save on cost without sacrificing the quality of your dog’s care. Insurance policies are a way to proactively manage healthcare costs (amongst other things), and can, for example, bring down the price of unexpected vet bills when your dog gets into a scrape or develops an illness. Explore your options with ManyPets dog insurance policies.