Annual Cost of Having a Dog

My friends tease me about keeping a financial spreadsheet for how much I spend on my dogs each year. They argue it’s better NOT to know. Funny, right? Nothing will ever compare to the nearly $31,000 we spent in 23 months trying to save Lilly’s life. I was still surprised at the 2016 total for Clover and Tori. Here is our report on the annual cost of having a dog.

Annual Cost of Having a Dog

annual cost of having a dog

The veterinary line includes Tori’s spay and rear dewclaw removal surgery (about $629) and Tori’s 1-year-old titer tests and genetic tests (about $350). It also includes several $300 or so things that came up with Clover last year.

The training line is higher than usual because I invested in some agility equipment for here at the house. And, clearly, I bought WAY too many toys and treats.

Our pet insurance went up 21% for our policy year (September to September), so that line will be more this year.

The costs aren’t exactly evenly split, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s say it’s 50 / 50:

That means the annual cost of having a dog (at my house) is just under $3,600.

This is why those typical articles about the cost of having a dog make me laugh. When I see estimates like $700-$1,200, I know the data is averaged, but whew!

Annual Cost of Having a Dog – What Might Be Different in 2017

I think Clover’s training costs will stay pretty steady, but if we can ever get Tori over her extreme car-sickness so that she can take classes too, then her training costs will increase.

If all goes well, neither of them will have big veterinary expenses this year — no surgeries or big emergencies, for example. But, I did just drop $116 last week when Clover scratched her cornea.

I’m going to restrain myself on the dog toy and dog treat front. I’m making a lot more training treats at home because it’s SO much more affordable. I can buy actual beef liver and cook it for about $5 (resulting in at least 4 training days of treats) … versus buying “liver flavored” treats (tiny bag) for a lot more.

We also went through a lot of bison chews from a local company (that I love, but that are NOT cheap, even bought in bulk), so I will probably cut back on that too.

For 2017, I’ve split some line items into separate categories so that I can keep better tabs on my spending.

I wouldn’t be too worried about my dog expenses, except MANY of our other household expenses have gone WAY up (nearly 40% in some cases), so I need to pay even closer attention to my pennies.

I guess that means I need to put this Valentine’s Day garland I bought (about $3) into the spreadsheet somewhere. Maybe I need a category for photography props.

Do you track the details of your dog spending? How does your annual cost of having a dog compare to ours? Leave a comment and let us know. 

5 thoughts on “Annual Cost of Having a Dog

  1. April 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Hi. It will be 2 years in July that I lost my beloved Collie (Princess) to the adverse side effects of the rabies shot. She was only 6 years old. I am still devastated. So mad at the Vet. I can’t seem to understand “why”??? We took her to a Specialist in CA. Spent $7000.00 on scans and procedures. Nothing more they could do. I made the decision to have her uthanized. It was not an easy decision; but, I couldn’t bear her suffering anymore. Thank you for the article about Lilly. I am buying the book “HEART”. Thank you.

    1. April 5, 2017 at 9:30 am

      I’m so sorry to hear about Princess, Rebecca. I hear from quite a few other people who’ve been through an adverse vaccine reaction. It always breaks my heart.

  2. March 31, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Great post. It is very helpful for me and people who are going to have a dog. Thanks for sharing

  3. Lynn
    March 2, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    We live pretty frugally, but after keeping track of alarming vet costs in the past, I realized that our pets are going to get whatever they need, so I started tracking things we can actually cut back on, if we must.

    BTW: Do you make liver treats that are like a brownie (to look at, anyway)? It’s an easy recipe, if you’d like it.

    1. March 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Hey, Lynn — I do not make treats per se. I literally just cook the livers (beef or chicken) and cut them into little pieces. I boil for 15 minutes, then bake for 15 minutes and cut up the livers. I’m going to do a post about it soon, but I would be happy to see your recipe too. Hope you’re doing well. I need to pop you an email about something else.

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