How to Get Help With Dog Expenses

| 8 min read Financial Assistance

Dog ownership is an incredibly rewarding experience for both human and canine alike. By adopting a shelter dog, you’re saving the life of a wonderful companion animal and enriching your life in the process. Adopting and caring for a dog comes with its own set of expenses, and it’s important to know what to expect. Discover the cost of dog ownership, and ways that fundraising can help with dog expenses when you need it.

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How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

If you’re considering adoption, you might be wondering, “How much does a dog cost per year?” There are multiple costs involved in adoption, and the total cost depends on a variety of factors.

Adoption fees

Typical dog adoption fees from an animal shelter or rescue range from $0 to $500, and vary depending on the specific shelter and age of the dog. Puppies under one year are the most expensive to adopt, while adoption fees are sometimes waived for senior dogs. Attend a shelter adoption event for even lower fees. Adoption fees also help the shelter cover the following costs: 

  • Spaying or neutering, which most states require for all dogs and cats kept as pets.
  • Microchipping
  • Recommended and required vaccines, such as rabies and bordetella. 

Veterinary costs

If your adoption center doesn’t cover all vaccines, you’ll want to get those taken care of shortly after bringing your dog home.

  • Dog vaccination costs range from $15 to $100, depending on the age of your dog and how many shots are needed. 
  • The average cost of a veterinary office visit is $50.
  • If not already done by the animal shelter, microchipping costs an average of $45.
  • Heartworm testing is recommended for puppies over 7 months, and costs around $50.
  • Preventative heartworm medication for one year costs an average of $80.
  • Rabies is the only vaccine required by the majority of all states, and that shot typically costs $20.

Pet supplies

Many shelters will send you home with a few basic supplies, like a leash and small bag of dog food. Other supplies you’ll need include a dog bed, food and water bowls, a collar or harness, a crate if preferred, and dog toys and treats. These costs can range from $200 to $500

City registration

Depending on your city, you may have to pay a small annual fee to register your dog. This fee ranges from $5 to $20, and can usually be paid online.

Cost of everyday expenses

The cost of dog ownership goes beyond just pet food, and will vary depending on the needs of your particular dog. Learn the costs of the five major expenses of owning a pe below.

Dog grooming cost

Most long-haired dog breeds require regular grooming, and some breeds require grooming up to two times per month. Typical grooming costs range from $30 to $90 per session, and can also include teeth cleaning, nail clipping, and flea treatments.

Dog training cost

All dogs require training, but some require more than others. Depending on your dog’s personality and background, he or she may already know basic obedience commands. Check with the shelter you adopted your dog from to see if they offer basic obedience classes, as many do. Expect to pay an average of $100 for a 2-hour training class. 

Dog food cost

Dog food is a large part of the cost of dog ownership, and can range considerably in price and quality. Some dog owners opt for grain-free food, while even more specialized diets exist—such as canine meal prep services. Below are the average monthly costs for dog food:

  • Dog food for small dogs up to 20 pounds: $10 to $20 per month.
  • Dog food for medium dogs up to 50 pounds: $35 to $55 per month.
  • Dog food for large dogs up to 100 pounds: $60 to $85 per month.

Average cost to board a dog

Dog boarding is sometimes a necessity. Absent generous family and friends willing to watch your dog for free, you’ll have to find a temporary home for your dog while you’re away. The average cost to board a dog ranges from $25 to $45 per night, though can be higher during holidays. However, pet sitting from family and friends can also come with a price. 

Dog walker cost

Not everyone needs a dog walker, but there are many affordable options for those who do. Dog walkers range in cost from $10 – $35 per walk. Rates are typically set based on your location, the size of your dog and his or her temperament. 

Veterinary care and expenses for dogs

Annual trips to the vet are part of the cost of good dog ownership. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to tell whether your pet is in pain, and regular checkups can provide peace of mind. It is very important for pet owners to set aside some money for pet care because you may never know when your dogs need veterinary care.

Dog vaccinations cost

Check with your veterinarian to see which vaccinations your dog needs, as this will depend on the age of your dog as well as vaccine history. Costs for the most common vaccinations are listed below. 

  • Rabies: A one-year shot costs around $15, with a three-year shot averaging $35.
  • DHPP: A combo vaccine for distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), parainfluenza, and parvovirus, this shot is needed at intervals during a dog’s first year of life. Average cost is $25.
  • Bordetella: Similar to a common cold, the vaccine for this bacterial infection costs around $15.    
  • Leptospirosis: An infection transmitted by wild animals, this vaccine is recommended if you regularly take your dog hiking or to other wilderness areas. Average cost is $15. 

Average cost of neutering or spaying a dog

Spaying or neutering your dog is a necessary procedure for preventing pet overpopulation. Dogs of any age can be spayed or neutered, though it is recommended most for puppies under the age of 9 months. The average cost of this procedure ranges from $150 to $250, and low-cost spay and neuter programs are available in some areas.

Emergency vet care

There may come a time when your dog needs an emergency trip to the vet. These unfortunate visits can catch dog owners off guard, with the average cost of emergency vet care totaling $1,500, according to CNBC.Thankfully, there are many sources of relief if you need help with vet bills

What to know about dog insurance

Due to the high cost of medical care, many dog owners opt to purchase a pet insurance plan. Pet insurance plans vary widely, and sometimes only very specific treatment is covered. 

Before purchasing a plan, make sure to compare providers and shop around for the best value. Know exactly what is covered, including any limitations or restrictions. Make sure to understand the claims process, and how making a claim may affect your premium. Lastly, consider what kind of reimbursement policy you prefer: a fixed amount that renews each year, or a percentage of the vet costs you pay. 

Dog insurance cost

The cost of a pet insurance plan takes into account the following three factors: 

  • The age of your pet. Older dogs are more expensive to insure.
  • Location. The cost of veterinary services varies by state, and this is factored in when purchasing insurance. 
  • Breed. Some dog breeds are naturally predisposed to certain illnesses and conditions, which could increase the cost of your premium.

Plans that cover both accidents and illnesses on average range from $25 to $70 a month for dogs.

Pet fundraising helps offset the cost of dog ownership

Owning a dog is expensive, with both ongoing and unexpected costs. Crowdfunding is a great way to help offset the price of a dog, and there are many pet fundraising ideas for starting a unique fundraiser. Through crowdfunding, you can quickly raise money to cover cost, such as raising money for your pet’s surgery. Dog owners could also fundraise to cover the first year of pet care, so then they know how much money to set aside for your pet budget per year to better understand their lifetime cost.

Plus, free fundraising through GoFundMe means you get to keep more of the money you raise for your pet. See how others are using pet fundraising tips to create successful pet fundraisers.

Help for Yumi the Corn Dog

When Yumi, the husky, stopped eating and showed signs of discomfort, her owner immediately sought care. Yumi was found to have liver failure and would require emergency surgery, costing her owner $12k – $14k. A GoFundMe raised $13,000 to cover the costs of Yumi’s surgery and the husky survived the operation. 

Pooch

Kelly started a fundraiser after her 5 month-old dog, Pooch, jumped out of a moving vehicle and suffered serious injuries. $12,000 was raised by Kelly’s community, and Pooch recovered and has started his new life as a tripawd. 

Cut down the cost of dog ownership

Animal companionship is truly priceless. Few things compare to coming home to a dog who is excited to see you after a long day. Though as anyone with a dog knows, owning a four-legged friend can also be costly. Plenty of people are starting animal fundraisers as a way to offset these expenses. Sign up today to start your own fundraiser, so you can stop worrying about the cost of owning a dog and spend more time with your furry companion. 

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