Here's How Much a Dog Costs Per Year

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  • The average annual cost for dogs ranges from around $1,300 up to $3,500 or more.
  • Costs are hugely variable, depending on everything from your pup's size and breed to how much you spoil them.
  • Comparison shopping and taking advantage of bulk buys are the best ways to keep expenses manageable.

Who can put a price on all that love?

Folks in the U.S. love their pets. In fact, they love them to the tune of $126.3 billion dollars every year, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). And while that number is spread across the more than 90 million households with pets, it's still startling.

While roughly half of those households are home to cats, dogs are by far the most prevalent pet, with nearly 70 million households home to a canine family member. So it's no surprise that a good chunk of the billions going to the pet industry is spent keeping Fido happy and healthy.

But how much does it really cost to care for a dog each year? The answer is: It depends. There are a ton of variables, from the dog's breed and size to, well, how much you spoil them.

Average annual cost: $1,300 to $3,500+

Given all the variables -- and the lack of substantive data -- it's hard to narrow down the average cost to much more than a broad range. But if we look at surveys from a few knowledgeable sources (including the AKC, ASPCA, and, we get a general range of about $1,300 to $3,500 or more per year.

Included in this number are the typical expenses required for modern dog parenting, including:

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Grooming
  • Medications
  • Routine vet care
  • Pet insurance

As noted above, there's a ton of variability in each of these categories. A 20-pound lapdog is going to eat far less than a 100-pound still-thinks-they-are-a-lapdog. Similarly, grooming costs are obviously going to be far higher if you have a high-maintenance prima-dogga.

And your pup's health is going to be a major factor. Right off the bat, if your dog's breed is one more prone to illness, your pet insurance cost will be higher. And that's before you start getting into the actual medical care for those illnesses.

It's not all down to breed, though. There's a huge range of costs in each of these categories even for dogs of similar size and breed. Food costs, for example, can depend just as much on brand as breed. If you're buying refrigerated wet foods, keeping Fido fed is going to cost far more than if you were buying grocery store–brand dry food.

Depending on your lifestyle, you could also throw in a few other costs, like poop bags, doggy daycare, and professional dog walkers. If your pup spends just one day a week in boarding/daycare, you could easily add a few hundred bucks a year to your total.

Tips for keeping costs down

Many of the costs of dog parenting aren't negotiable. They need to eat, see the vet, and receive treats and toys regularly (because they're such good doggos, yes they are). But this doesn't mean there aren't ways to keep those expenses manageable.

For one thing, you can comparison shop everything. Paying too much for pet insurance? There are tons of different pet insurance companies these days, with a host of different plan types. You can even get multi-pet discounts.

Similarly, you can find quality pet products just about everywhere. Even those fancier refrigerated pet foods are now showing up in regular grocers and big-box stores.

And don't underestimate the value of online shopping. Free delivery makes bulk buying for your pet easier than ever. Companies like Chewy and Petco will deliver those gargantuan bags of dog food right to your door, eliminating the need to wrestle them in and out of your car.

Snuggles and scritches: priceless

At a certain point, of course, there's only so many expenses you can cut before you're going to impact your pet's quality of life. We all have to accept that dogs come with a certain cost -- and that they're totally worth it.

Our Research Expert

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