Are you thinking about getting a dog? When we got our chocolate lab puppy, Bogey, back in 2020, I definitely didn’t realize just how many things we would pay for over time. While I wouldn’t change a thing, I definitely think having this list of essential dog expenses beforehand would’ve helped me prepare tremendously for our new pup.
With the help of the Imperfect Taylor community on Instagram, I’ve put together this list of 32 essential dog expenses you will likely come across in your days of dog ownership!
Here is a list of 32 essential dog expenses you’ll likely run into as a dog owner, as well as things you may want to buy before you bring your new pup home!
1. Cost for Dog
Whether you get your new dog at a breeder or an adoption center, you will likely have to pay a price for your dog itself. The price for your new pup can range anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on what kind of dog you decide to get.
2. Housing Fees / Pet Deposits
If you live in an apartment complex, or a house/townhome that you rent, you may have to pay some fees to have your dog in the home.
You may have to pay a one-time fee, or in some cases, a monthly fee on top of your rent expense. Usually, these fees are non-refundable, but in some cases you can get your money back as long as your new pup doesn’t cause damage to the home – this all depends on the rules and regulations of where you live.
3. Spay / Neutering
If you decide to spay / neuter your dog, be sure to account for these costs as they can be up to a couple hundred dollars.
Microchipping can be very useful. If ever your dog got lost, they can be traced back to their veterinary office if they have a microchip in them. Of course we’d never want this to happen, but the microchip technology is a great safe guard to have in place just in case.
Veterinarians recommend vaccinations for your dog’s overall health. Not only can vaccinations protect your dog from disease, but they are typically required if you ever want to bring your dog to daycare, boarding or even for access to some dog parks.
6. Training classes
You may want to put your dog in some training classes so they can learn basic skills and listen to their owner a little bit better : ) There are all sorts of training classes out there, like puppy basics, intermediate and advanced classes.
7. Pet insurance
Pet insurance can help offset medical expenses if something ever happens to your pup. You are not required to get pet insurance, but many people choose to for the same reason you’d get car insurance – it can help make unexpected vet/medical bills much more manageable.
In 2021, I polled the Imperfect Taylor community on Instagram, and the most popular pet insurance providers were: Nationwide, Trupanion and Healthy Paws.
If your dog has any ailments or illnesses, you may find yourself needing medication for them. Pet insurance may be able to help offset the costs of your pet’s medication, too.
Many dogs also need flea/tick and heartworm medications as frequently as every month, so this is certainly something to keep in mind.
9. Dog food / treats
Of course, your dog will need to be fed multiple times a day every day, so you’ll definitely want to have plenty of food on hand. Treats are always nice to have, too, to praise your dog (or spoil them!). Treats are really helpful for training, too.
10. Food / Water bowls
You’ll want a place to put your dog’s food and water, so having food and water bowls is pretty essential!
If your dog loves to eat as fast as possible, try using a slow feeder like the one below. It’ll help them eat much slower which will help with their digestion.
It also can get a little tedious refilling your dog’s water bowl time and time again. If that’s the case, try a water bowl like this one that can store much more water so you don’t have to fill it up as often.
11. No-chew spray
If your puppy loves to chew on certain things that shouldn’t be chewed, you can buy no-chew spray. These sprays are made to taste bitter, so if you spray it wherever you don’t want your dog to chew, your dog will be much less likely to chew there.
In order to take your dog for a walk, you’ll need a collar.
If you have a puppy, it’s helpful to have a light-up collar. This way, especially when it’s dark, you’ll know where your puppy is at all times.
You’ll also want to have a regular collar on hand that you can use most of the time. Basic collars work just fine, but you can also get fun, personalized ones if you so choose.
13. Dog tags
Dog tags help identify your dog, and they can be attached to your dog’s collar. You can find some pretty inexpensive tags that you can personalize on Amazon.
In order to walk your dog, you’ll need a leash. Standard leashes are just a couple feet long. If you want to give your dog room to roam, you can buy even longer leashes.
It also really helps to get a leash that has some padding around where you will be holding it. If you don’t have the padding, the handle that you’ll hold can get irritating/uncomfortable very quickly.
15. Waste bag holder for leash
When you take your dog to the bathroom, you’ll need to pick up the waste. Having a little bag holder on your leash will help ensure that you always have waste bags nearby when you need them.
16. Waste bags
You can buy waste bags by the roll that you can stick in your waste bag holder on your leash.
Dog toys are a must! They can help with teething and also help your dog have a lot of fun. Unfortunately, you might find yourself buying a ton of toys that get destroyed by your dog in less than 5 minutes.
To avoid that, here are some toys that are tough and will last much longer:
You’ll likely need a place for your dog to rest. Beds come in all different sizes depending on what size you’ll need for your dog.
If you decide to crate train, you will need to buy a crate. There are many different sizes of crates that you can buy depending on how big you believe your dog will be.
20. Day care / Boarding
Doggy day care or boarding costs are something to keep in mind. Day care is helpful if you need your dog to be socialized (to hang out with other pups) or if you want your dog to get some energy out.
People choose to board their dogs if they go out of town for a few days, and would like someone to watch their dog. These costs can add up quickly!
21. Dog walker
Another option is hiring a dog walker. If you know you’ll be out of the house for many hours at a time, you can hire someone to come to your home and walk your dog. Apps like Rover and Wag can help you find trusted dog walkers in your area.
22. Dog park membership
Most dog parks will be free of charge, but some require an annual fee. Dog parks are a great way to help your dog socialize with other dogs, as well as get some energy out!
Every now and then, you may need to hire someone to give your dog a proper haircut or to trim their nails. You can also try doing these things yourself.
24. Bathing costs
You will also have to bathe your dog from time to time. To have this done professionally, you’ll need to spend a little money.
25. Shampoo / Conditioner
On the other hand, you can bathe your dog yourself. Having some dog shampoo or conditioner on hand will make the process of cleaning your pup much more effective.
You’ll want to brush your dog’s fur to avoid matting and to collect any shedding. Having a brush can absolutely help with this.
If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth, you’ll begin to see plaque build up (just like on human teeth!). Brushing your dogs teeth is essential to keep their mouth’s healthy.
You may choose to use a harness with your dog to help with dog walking. Harnesses come in all different sizes depending on the size of your dog.
29. Coat / Life jacket
If you live in a very cold environment at any point in the year (or if you have a really small dog) you may want to buy them a jacket to keep them warm when they have to go outside.
Similarly, if you have a dog that’s always around water or on a boat, a life jacket is a good thing to have around to keep your dog safe.
Okay now this may just be a fun one, but if you want your dog to look cute, you gotta get them a bandana or two!
31. Cleaning supplies
- Carpet cleaner – if you own a dog, you can bet you’ll be cleaning up some ~sickness~ (I’m trying to use a nice word here haha). To help clean it up, definitely get yourself some Resolve or another kind of carpet cleaner / odor eliminator!
- Lint roller – if you have a dog that is going to shed a lot, you will absolutely want to have a lint roller around. These things are super helpful when it comes to cleaning up dog hair from your couches, chairs or even your clothes.
- Vacuum – when you have a large area to clean, you are certainly going to want a vacuum. If you have carpet throughout your house and a shedding dog, you’re going to need a vacuum to help you clean the carpets.
- Dog dryer sheets – another great tool to help keep dog hair off of your clothes is these specific dryer sheets that attract pet hair so it no longer clings to your clothes.
32. Sinking fund
A sinking fund is a pool of money that you save up for a particular purpose. You’ll want to build up a dog sinking fund just in case any dog-related expenses pop-up unexpectedly – this way you have cash on hand to pay for it immediately. If you don’t have money saved up for unexpected dog expenses, you might find yourself going into debt.
It’s best to stay prepared, and having a sinking fund for your dog can help you do that.
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