If you’re planning to welcome a canine companion into your family, it’s so important to consider the costs of owning a dog before taking the plunge. After all, to provide your dog with the best possible life, you need to ensure their needs are met and set aside sufficient monthly money to take care of them.
Along with the initial price of dogs, you need to think about things like vet bills, kennels, daycare, food, and insurance. If you’re unprepared for the cost of owning a dog, you will receive an unwelcome surprise when the bills start rolling in.
So, in this article, we run through the cost of having a dog in the UK and outline the different expenses you need to cover when you welcome a new dog into your home.
What is the Average Cost of Owning a Dog?
While every dog is different, research shows that the average cost of owning a dog in the UK is approximately £1,800 per year or £150 per month. With the cost of living crisis in full swing, this average could have risen slightly, so you must bear this in mind.
Some people are surprised to learn that dogs cost around £150 per month, but the reality is that you need to feed them, care for them, and provide them with healthcare just like you would for any other member of your family!
Therefore, you need to ensure that you can afford to welcome a dog into your home before taking your first steps towards choosing a pup for your family.
How Much Does a Dog Cost When You First Get Them?
In addition to the ongoing costs of owning a dog, you need to have some money available for the early days of welcoming your canine companion home, as there are various things you need to buy, particularly if you’re buying a dog for the first time. Some of the costs that you need to consider include the following:
· Beds and bedding - £100 approx.
· Lead, collar, and tag – this is a legal requirement for all dog owners in the UK - £30 approx.
· Food and water bowls and doggy poo bags - £20 approx.
· Dry and wet food - £50 approx. (for the first month’s supply)
· An initial course of vaccinations (if the dog you’re buying doesn’t have them already) - £60 approx.
· Insurance - £15 approx. (per month)
· Toys - £10 approx.
· Car restraint (if you plan to travel with your dog) - £25.
· Total: £310.00
Please note that the above prices are indicative only and depend on a range of factors, including the size and needs of your dog and where you shop! You should use these prices as a rough guide only, but they will help you as you try and budget for the initial shopping for your new pup.
Ongoing Monthly Costs of Owning a Dog
Just like kids, dogs cost money to care for every month. Therefore, you need to be prepared to allocate a portion of your monthly budget to the care and maintenance of your dog if you choose to adopt or buy one. But what are the ongoing costs of owning a dog in the UK? Well, some of the things that you need to budget for include the following:
· Regular flea and deworming - £15 per month
· Booster vaccinations - £60 per year
· Pet insurance - £10 - £15 per month
· Food & poo bags - £50 per month
· Dog walker - £15 per hour (if required)
· Pet passport - £200 (one-off cost if you plan to travel abroad with your dog)
Again, the above ongoing costs of a dog are variable and depend on various factors. We recommend researching the exact costs associated with the breed of dog you plan to adopt before making a commitment so you have a clear idea of how much it will cost you each month.
The One-off Costs of a Dog You Need to Consider
Even if you plan to rescue a dog from a shelter, there are some sizeable costs that you need to consider before adopting a dog. At the very least, you should budget for the following:
The cost of buying a dog
If you want to buy a dog from a breeder in the UK, you can expect to pay between £400 and £3,000. This is a sizeable investment, and although you are paying for a purebred dog, it’s not necessarily the best option.
Thousands of dogs in shelters across the UK are desperate for a home, and you can adopt them for next to nothing. Many of these dogs can be adopted for free (with a small donation of around £50 requested), which is a much more cost-effective option for new dog owners.
You have the added bonus of welcoming a dog into your family that is desperate for a home, which in itself is a lovely thing to do!
Unexpected vet bills
The cost of vet bills in the UK is the most significant cost of owning a dog. Visiting the vet can cost anywhere between £80 to £5,000, depending on your dog’s treatment.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to take out comprehensive insurance to cover as many of these costs as possible. As mentioned, you can buy pet insurance for as little as £10-£15 per month, which is a worthwhile investment.
If you don’t want to buy pet insurance for your dog, you can decide to put a specific amount of money away into your monthly savings to cover vet bills as and when they arise. You just need to be disciplined with this money and ensure you don’t spend it throughout the year.
The cost of boarding kennels or dog sitters
Another cost you need to consider before buying a dog is kennels. Placing your dog in the kennels when you’re on holiday immediately increases the cost of your vacation, with most kennels costing approximately £15 per day. Therefore, a fortnight in a boarding kennel can cost £225, which is a sizeable addition to the cost of your family holiday.
Of course, you can ask family or friends to look after your dog for you while you’re away, but not everyone is lucky enough to have this option, so kennels are a necessary cost of a dog you should factor into your budget.
Can I Afford a Dog?
As much as you might want to welcome a dog into your home, you need to first ask – can I really afford to look after a dog? Remember, on average, it costs £1,800 per year to care for a dog, and you need to allocate enough money from your annual budget to ensure that your dog is well cared for.
Rather than buying a dog from a breeder, consider adopting a dog from a shelter, as you can do so for next to nothing, and it’s typically a much more rewarding experience.
If you need some help with your budgeting and are planning to adopt a dog soon, our money management app will help you get your finances in order and will help you allocate enough money each month to care for your pup.
If you’ve found this article helpful, we think you might also like our recent articles explaining how to stick to your New Year’s money resolutions, how to plan a budget for unexpected expenses, and how to start saving money for a wedding this year.