The Cost of Owning a Dog: Annual and Lifetime Costs

Note: The above data reflects estimated care costs that we sourced from Rover. Keep in mind that actual pricing may vary depending on your location and your dog’s age and breed.

Pet Sitting and Boarding

Your dog will require care from a pet sitter or a boarding facility if you have to leave home for an extended period of time. If you’re lucky enough to have a friend or family member to watch your pet, you may save on these expenses, but sometimes dog owners need outside help.

Pet sitters will typically come to your home to care for your pet a few times a day or stay with your pet 24/7 or overnight. Boarding your dog in a larger kennel facility is typically less expensive than a pet sitter, but your dog may have less one-on-one time with staff members and some pets become stressed outside of their homes.

If you take two, one-week vacations per year, you could spend the following on pet care services:

  • In-home pet care day visits: $560
  • In-home overnight or 24/7 care: $1,400

Dog Walking

Doggy daycare and dog walking services are good options if you work long hours and need someone to take your pet outside during the day. Dog walkers are people who you pay to come to your home and walk your dog at set times. This option is ideal if your pet needs controlled exercise or would not enjoy the company of other dogs at doggy daycare. Doggy daycare is a supervised play group with multiple dogs that provides daily exercise and social interactions.

Regular dog walking or doggy daycare will cost about $20 per visit. If you need this help three days per week, year-round, it adds up to $3,120 annually.

Pet Training

All puppies should receive basic obedience training during their first year. Some dogs will need additional specialized training or may develop behavior problems that require in-home consultations and private sessions to resolve.

Private dog training sessions could cost $40 to $250 each, depending on the problem. Basic puppy manners or easily resolved issues, such as jumping or counter-surfing, will likely require only one visit. But more serious problems, such as stranger aggression or separation anxiety, may require more sessions.


Grooming is another category where costs vary widely, depending on your dog’s breed and hair type. Short-coated dogs may require occasional trips to the groomer for professional bathing or de-shedding, but you can typically do this at home. Breeds with longer coats will need regular haircuts every six to 12 weeks, depending on your desired look.

The top dog breeds that require frequent grooming include poodles and poodle mixes, Bichons and Old English sheepdogs. Your dog may also require a specific grooming routine based on its fur. For example, some terrier breeds need a special technique called “stripping,” which a groomer does by hand and costs more than regular haircuts. Each grooming session can cost anywhere from $20 to $150which amounts to $20 to $1,200 per year.

Emergency Illness and Accident Veterinary Visits

The average dog owner spends $150 to $1,200 each time they visit the veterinarian with a sick or injured pet. Pets who suffer serious trauma, such as getting hit by a car, or serious illness that requires hospitalization, such as pancreatitis, could cost several thousand dollars per incident.

As pets age, they are more likely to incur higher vet bills, but young pets can also develop serious illnesses or experience an accident. Purebred dogs tend to have more medical problems than mixed breeds, but this is a generalization and not a hard and fast rule.

Pet Insurance Premiums

Pet insurance is the best protection against unexpected and ongoing veterinary medical expenses. If your pet needs emergency veterinary care, surgery or treatment for a serious medical condition such as cancer, pet insurance can help avoid the need to make a tough choice based on finances.

Insurance premiums for an average adult dog $360 to $720 annually. Pet insurance costs are typically lower for young, healthy pets and may rise as pets age. Most pet insurance policies don’t cover preexisting conditions, so purchasing insurance before your pet develops ongoing medical problems is important.

While pet insurance costs vary depending on factors like your location and dog’s coverage needs, some companies offer more affordable insurance plans for pet owners on a budget.

By hadem