Pet care spending by state in 2023: The ultimate guide for dog owners

November 22, 2023 - 7 min read
Dogs in a line

Our team analyzed pet care price data to find the most and least expensive states for pet care. Keep reading to learn about the most and least expensive states for dog owners.

Key findings

  • Washington is the most expensive state for dog ownership with the average lifetime cost of owning a dog totaling $97,752.

  • The least expensive state to care for a dog is Oklahoma, which boasts an average lifetime cost of only $61,581, more than $36k cheaper than the most expensive state.

  • Food is the #1 biggest expense for pet owners, averaging over $600 per year.

  • When factoring in only the necessities of dog ownership, Wilmington, DE ranks as the most expensive city, while Boise City, ID ranks as the least expensive.

Unlocking the secrets of pet care spending

As a proud dog owner, you've likely experienced the immeasurable joy and companionship your four-legged friend brings to your life. But with great canine love comes great responsibility – and a price tag. Have you ever wondered how your state compares to others in terms of pet care spending? Or are you looking for tips to manage these expenses wisely?

We wanted to find out just how large of a price tag comes with dog ownership, so we dug through various data sources to rank the most and least expensive states to own a dog. Our research unveiled the most and least expensive states to own a dog, delved into the average prices of pet care in the US, and uncovered the top 5 most expensive cities for routine yearly pet care. So, grab your furry friend, and let's embark on this tail-wagging adventure.

The most and least expensive states to own a dog

Are you paying more than the average dog owner in your state?

Most and least expensive states own dogs

When it comes to the price tag associated with taking care of pets, for some, there is no limit. Still, knowing the costs associated with care makes an emergency bill less scary. The top 5 states spending the most on their pets every year due to the cost of goods and services in their states are Washington, California, Massachusetts, New York, and Delaware.

When it comes to the least expensive, Oklahoma takes first place as the most affordable state to own a dog with the average owner spending $5,309.97 yearly, after getting their pet fixed, which only costs $516.55 on average in Oklahoma.

#1 Washington: Where the cost of canine companionship soars

As previously mentioned, Washington state takes the lead as one of the most expensive places to own a dog. The lush landscapes and pet-friendly culture comes at a price. Pet owners in Washington spend the most on their pets every year, $8,912.85 on average for the first year of their life alone. After getting their dog fixed, owners in Washington can expect to spend $8,460.90 yearly.

#2 California: The golden state's costly canine lifestyle

From San Diego to San Francisco, California boasts a diverse range of pet experiences. But owning a dog in the Golden State isn't all sunshine and rainbows. In this state, pet owners can expect to spend $94,792.41 over the course of their dog's life, averaged at 11.5 years. The most costly pet care services in California are for routine care like vet visits $78.95, vaccines $230.66, and dental cleanings $440.95.

#3 Massachusetts: High standards for pet care

In the charming state of Massachusetts, pet owners are held to high standards of care. In Massachusetts, dog owners will spend around $8,468.66 for the first year of their pets life. Over the course of a dog's average lifespan, Massachusetts pet owners can expect to spend an average of $8,022.51 per year. Interestingly, Massachusetts’ biggest pet care expense is food, with the average yearly food amount coming to $1,406.04 on average in 2023. Only Delaware has a higher average cost of food, $1,609.44.

The average price of pet care in the US

Where does your pet care spending rank?

Average price of pet care graphNow that we know which states are most and least expensive for pet care, let’s look at the averages across the US.

When it comes to food, there are a variety of types and brands to choose from. On average, a pet owner can expect to spend a little over $600 feeding their pet each year. This is certainly one of the most significant expenses for dog owners, as it’s a non-negotiable, but there are budget friendly options available.

As for pet insurance, while it’s not something that pet owners absolutely must have, it can certainly be beneficial and provide peace of mind for any unexpected visits to the vet’s office. Choosing the right provider to make sure all of your pet’s treatments are covered is incredibly important for any animal owners. The Forbes No.1 Pet Insurance Company for 2023, ManyPets, offers unlimited coverage for qualified vet bills with fast direct deposit reimbursements.

A close-up of a concerned yellow Labrador Retriever with a gentle expression, receiving an examination by a veterinarian whose hands are shown holding a clipboard, in a clinical setting.

Top-ranked* dog insurance

Coverage from "boops" to "oops."

You're in it for the long haul, and your dog insurance should be, too. Get a quote for your pup today. *According to Forbes Advisor’s “Best Pet Insurance of 2023”

A close-up of a concerned yellow Labrador Retriever with a gentle expression, receiving an examination by a veterinarian whose hands are shown holding a clipboard, in a clinical setting.

In addition to the ManyPets insurance plans, wellness plans are also offered to cover routine care like routine exams and vaccines, tests and parasite prevention, dental cleanings, and vitamins and supplements.

The same goes for flea and tick medications. Some pet owners choose to only medicate their dogs for these potentially life threatening bugs if they live in a warmer climate where their pet will have more exposure to harm. On average, flea and tick medication costs $41 per month.

As for vaccines and routine vet visits, these are non-negotiable for most dog owners. The average price of an office visit for an annual checkup is only $66. Routine vaccines like Bordetella, DAPP, Bivalent Influenza, Leptospirosis, Lyme Disease, and Rabies will run owners an average of $209 yearly.

Lastly, routine professional dental cleanings can significantly increase your dogs quality of life and overall health, especially as they age. Oral health is often overlooked but is critical for your dog's well-being. The average cost of a professional cleaning in the US is $382, but there are more affordable and less invasive alternatives that don’t require your dog to be put under anesthesia. This certainly depends on your dog's willingness to let the hygienist do their job and might not be practical for everyone.

The top 5 most and least expensive cities for routine yearly pet care

Is your city among the priciest for pet care?

Most and least expensive cities for routine care graphWhen it comes to dog ownership, there are certain things that are not a necessity. For example, not everyone gets their dog groomed or hires an afternoon dog walker. When looking at the more non-negotiable expenses, we found Wilmington, Delaware to be most expensive, followed by Boston, MA (#2), New York, NY (#3), Los Angeles, CA (#4), Seattle, WA (#5).

Boise City, Idaho comes in as the least expensive city for dog ownership. Dog owners in this Pacific Northwestern city can expect to spend an average of only $106 per year in food. To put this into context, that’s only .28 cents per day while the most expensive city, Wilmington, DE spends $4.41 per day feeding their furry friends. Following Boise City is, Salt Lake City, UT (#2), Oklahoma City, OK (#3), Little Rock, AK (#4) and Omaha, NE (#5).

Make informed choices for your furry friend

As a responsible dog owner, understanding the financial aspects of pet care is vital. Whether you reside in an expensive state or a budget-friendly one, being aware of costs and budgeting effectively can ensure your canine companion enjoys a happy and healthy life. Don't forget that pet insurance can be a game-changer, providing peace of mind and protecting your wallet from unexpected emergency vet bills, while wellness plans covering routine vet visits can also lighten the financial load of everyday pet care expenses. So, no matter where you are, make informed choices for your furry friend's well-being. If you're looking for reliable pet insurance, connect with us here at ManyPets to find the perfect coverage for your beloved companion.

With this comprehensive guide, you're now equipped to navigate the world of pet care spending and ensure your dog's health and happiness, no matter where you call home. Remember, being a dog owner is an incredible journey, and with the right knowledge, you can make it a memorable one.


This study was conducted using data from various sources. To determine the most expensive states for dog ownership, we used the most recently updated list of the most populated cities and zip codes in every state according to the World Population Review. To calculate the cost of routine vet care in these cities and states, including the cost of vaccines, vet visits, spay and neuter services, and dental cleanings, we used Banfields price estimator. As for food and pet insurance costs, we used the latest data from the American Pet Products Association. To find the cost of flea and tick medication, we used the average cost across all size categories for HeartGuard and NexGuard medications, according to Chewy. To find the average price of grooming, pet sitting, and dog walking, we used We then multiplied the hourly rates for grooming by ten to account for biquarterly grooms. We multiplied the hourly pet sitting amount by 160 hours to get an estimate for one week of pet sitting. To get yearly costs, we multiplied the monthly costs by 12. All amounts stated are estimates and gathered from various sources. The graphics used to display the data were made using Flourish.

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