Here's What It Costs to Own a Dog Each Year

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  • The typical dog owner spends about $1,188 a year.
  • Dog ownership costs can easily range from $610 to $3,555.
  • Getting pet insurance could keep your dog ownership costs down.

There's a reason it's so important to have a nice amount of cash in your savings account before adopting a dog. Not only will you have to pay for upfront costs like adoption fees and supplies, but you'll also need to shell out money on a regular basis to feed and care for your dog.

Recent data from Rover reveals that the average dog owner spends about $1,188 a year to care for their pet. Meanwhile, the cost of dog ownership tends to range from $610 to $3,555 a year.

Now clearly, the amount of money it costs you to have a dog will depend on different factors. One is the size of your dog, since smaller pups tend to eat less than larger ones. Whether you need to pay for a dog walker will also determine your annual costs. Someone who works from home, for example, might be able to walk their dog as much as needed. But someone who's at the office five days a week might need to hire a dog walker on a daily basis to exercise their pup.

Your dog's medical needs will also play a big role in how much you spend annually. But if you want to keep your healthcare-related costs to a minimum, then it pays to buy pet insurance for your pup.

A potentially worthwhile investment

Pet insurance differs from human health insurance in that it generally won't pay for preventive services unless you pay up for that extra coverage. Rather, the main purpose of having pet insurance is to protect yourself from what could be astronomical costs due to an illness or injury.

Let's say you spend $50 a month on pet insurance. It's possible that your dog might fall ill and need a $5,000 treatment that your insurance covers at 90%. In that case, you're paying $600 in premium costs that year for a $4,500 benefit, and covering just $500 of the total bill.

Similarly, you never know when your dog might get hurt or need surgery. A pet insurance policy might cover all or most of the cost of a multi-thousand-dollar procedure.

It pays to shop around

It's a good idea to get a pet insurance policy as soon as you adopt a dog. That's because unlike human health insurance, pet insurers are allowed to refuse to cover pre-existing conditions. So the sooner you put a policy in place, the less likely it'll be for a health issue to arise with your dog before you have your coverage.

That said, you don't want to totally rush into buying pet insurance, either. Different plans have different costs, rules, and levels of coverage, so it's best to take a little time to compare your choices.

Some things to pay attention to are coverage limits for different conditions. If your dog's breed renders them more susceptible to a given health issue, you'll want to specifically check to see what coverage you might get for that problem.

All told, owning a dog is hardly an inexpensive prospect. You can do your part to keep your veterinary bills down by buying the right pet insurance, and doing so early on.

Our Research Expert

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