Basic Costs of Dog Ownership

Pets cost money, but if we know what costs to budget for it can take the sting out of that hit to the wallet. The following looks at some basic costs for owning a dog in Australia.

Let’s face it, ownership of pets is a little like having kids. It can all be plain sailing, then all of a sudden unexpected bills can hit you. They cost money, sometimes a lot of it. Sometimes the costs are unpredictable, for example your dog may get hit by a car or get pancreatitis. We all expect health problems with aging pets, but some young dogs end up spending more than their share of the family budget. We can put aside money and plan for the initial things, but for medical problems that may occur, sometimes we are taken by surprise. The following attempts to break down the costs of owning a dog, based on data from the RSPCA and various insurance companies and the Family Pooch Index from Bankwest.  We have also included some basic costs for common health conditions.

Pets can live from 8 years to 18 years, depending on breed. Larger breed dogs live for a shorter time, but during that time often cost more due to generally higher costs for vet bills and food. The average pet owner spends $25,000 on a dog, or $2,452 per year.

Initial Costs

  • Purchase of dog: $200- $1,500 (average of $592.70).
  • Microchip: $50 (but this should be done before sale).
  • Lifetime council registration in NSW $49 if desexed, $182 if not desexed – must be done by 6 months of age.

Preventative Health Care

  • Vaccination $70-$105 (you will need a vaccine at 8, 12, 16 weeks of age then every 3 years or yearly depending on the risk factors and vaccine given).
  • Worming/heartworm average of $7 per month for Interceptor.
  • Fleas $10 per month on average for Comfortis/Frontline.
  • Health check every 6 months at your vet $65.

Equipment

  • Dog bed $20- $200.
  • Brush $20.
  • Bowls $20.
  • Collar, lead and Tag $50-$100.

Grooming

  • Bath and clip at the groomer every 6-8 weeks $60-100 depending on size of dog and coat condition.
  • Shampoo/conditioner $30 per year

Food

  • Basic food $1,213 per year.
  • Treats $100 per year.
  • Bones and dental chews $100 per year.

Toys

  • Puzzles $50 per toy
  • Chew toys $30 per toy
  • Tennis balls etc. $10 per year

Training , boarding, daycare and walking

  • Puppy school $100 for a 4 week course.
  • Behaviour consult $200-$300.
  • Training classes, some free through the council or $170 for a 4 week course.
  • Boarding costs $30-$50 per day (more on public holidays).
  • Doggy daycare $40-$50 per day.
  • Dog Walking $25 per hour.

Veterinary

The AVA lists veterinary costs on average at $450 per year, however this includes worming and flea medication, the Bankwest figures quote $350 per year. The following are some approximate costs for various health conditions, which will vary depending on your breed of dog.

  • Desexing $200 male, $350 female (varies with size of dog usually).
  • Ear infection $90.
  • Dental clean under anaesthesia $400-$900 (lower end for a basic scale and polish, upper end for severe dental disease requiring surgical extractions.
  • Allergies $150- $200 for initial consultation and treatment.
  • Vomiting/diarrhoea $200-$3000 depending on severity.
  • Knee surgery $1500-$5000 depending on breed of dog and type of surgery performed.

One way to moderate your vet bills is to take out pet insurance, to cover you should any of the big medical emergencies catch you by surprise. Pet insurance costs $150-$600 per year depending on policy terms, age of pet and chosen excess. For more information about pet insurance, visit here (link to pet insurance article).

We hope this has helped you budget for your pet. There is no doubt that pet ownership can be costly, and the larger the dog, the more food they will consume. Even trips to the vet will often cost more for medications, due to the higher doses needed. But, of course it is all worth it for the emotional and health benefits pet ownership has. People with pets have lower blood pressure and kids that grow up with pets have a reduced risk of allergies and asthma. Think of it as an investment in the health and wellbeing of your family!