How much does it cost to own a dog? 7 Canadians break down their budgets

VIDEO: Here are some overlooked costs of dogs

Owning a dog can get expensive, and unless you set out a monthly and annual budget, it’s hard to pinpoint how much a new dog will cost you.

One 2018 report by RateSupermarket.ca found that the average cost of a puppy in the first year was about $2,600. But this all depends on the dog — the age, the breed, the size — as well as the habits of the owner.

Those who travel a lot, for example, can expect to pay more to leave their dog in a kennel or bring their dog on the trip. There can also be unexpected costs, like medical bills or overspending on dog accessories like boots, hats and coats. But owners agree: the price is worth it, and raising a dog just means understanding the costs that come with it.

Below, seven owners break down how much they spend monthly and annually on their dogs. While there are several other costs involved along the way, this breakdown gives future dog owners a good idea of what to expect when it comes to expenses.

READ MORE: Veterinary pricing — Costs for services and procedures vary wildly, here’s why

Readers should also note that these numbers are rough estimates and help to paint an overall picture on some of the things you must include in your budget. This list does not include the price of the dog itself (this depends on where you purchase your breed).

To figure out total costs, we multiplied each monthly cost by 12 to give us an estimate on the cost per year. It is also important to note that for those owners who have pet insurance, a majority of medical costs are covered.

Lido


Credit: Michael C Lyn 

Jess O’Reilly and Brandon Ware of Toronto have owned Lido for 11 years. Last May, Lido was hospitalized for over a week when the couple was in Miami, resulting in bills of more than $8,000.

O’Reilly said that when it comes to owning a dog, insurance is key.

“They reimburse us for 90 per cent of most medical expenses. She is a member of our family, and we would be paying the costs out of pocket were it not for insurance,” she added.

As a small dog, Lido has extra expenses when it comes to teeth.

“Teeth cleaning is also costly and has also amounted to several thousand dollars over the past few years. This is not reimbursable by insurance; it’s an out-of-pocket expense,” O’Reilly said.

Monthly Expenses:

Food: $50
Vet visits: (chemo and medication) $800
Pet insurance: $120
Toys/Treats: $10

Annual Expenses:

Yearly vet visits: $200 ($50 reimbursed)
Poop bags: $10

Other costs (yearly):

Travelling (flight fee): $50 to $125 per direction
Hotel fees: $50
Pancreatitis hospitalization and treatment (2018): $8,000 ($7,200 reimbursed)
Treatment for cancer (MRI, CT scan, radiation therapy, neurological consulting, vet fees): $15,000 ($13,000 reimbursed)

Total cost monthly:
$980 
Total cost annually: $23,310 O’Reilly’s insurance covers a majority of the medical costs
Total cost: $35,070
Total cost out of pocket : $14,820

Reese

Credit: Cassidy Hooper

Reese is a two-and-a-half-year-old rescue dog, and owner Cassidy Hooper of Halifax has been taking care of him for almost nine months. 

Before getting a dog, Hooper said she set out a budget but underestimated the total cost.

“Nothing caught me off guard with owning a pet, however the expenses are more than I imagined. Reese is a rescue, and I’ve put a lot of money into ‘special’ treats that motivate him, clickers and training tools,” she said.

“Finding the right harness/leash was a big one. I tried so many non-pull harnesses, gentle leaders and double leashes. Every dog is so different, as are their needs, and it’s costly trying to find the best solution for your dog.”

Monthly Expenses:

Food: $85
Pet insurance: $30
Toys/Treats: $15

Annual Expenses:

Yearly vet visits: $400
Training classes/courses: $1,800 (plus a $300 annual fee)
Bags: $40
Bowls: $40
Crates: $70
Leash: $30
Collar: $40
Dog bed: $50
Dog accessories (coats, shoes, etc.): $75

Total cost monthly: $130
Total cost annually: $2,845
Total cost:
$4,405

Cora

Credit: Stefani Soliman and Alexander Weatherill

Ten-year-old Cora has been with Stefani Soliman and Alexander Weatherill of Hamilton, Ont., for three years. When it comes to expenses, Soliman said grooming is often overlooked — especially nails.

“You can do them yourself but most people don’t, and not trimming a dog’s nails often enough can be painful for the dog,” she said.

“People forget this needs to be done on a regular schedule and that it costs money. People are also sometimes unaware of how much a decent groomer is (one that aims to make the dog look good vs. just shaving the hair).”

Washing your dog can be another hidden expense, Soliman added. 

Monthly Expenses:

Food: $35
Grooming: $25
Toys/Treats: $3

Annual Expenses:

Yearly vet visits: $135
Haircut (four times a year): $110
Training classes/courses (six one-hour classes focused on anxiety):
$215
Bags: $30
Bowls: $20
Crates: $100
Leash: $25
Collar: $15
Dog bed: $80 (two beds)
Dog accessories (coats, shoes, etc.): $90
Pet licence (with the City of Hamilton, Ont.): $35
Microchip ID:
$35

Total cost monthly: $63
Total cost annually: $890
Total cost: $1,646 

Kiba

Credit: Jordan Robillard

Jordan Robillard of Edmonton has had Kiba in his care for almost four years. Before getting a dog, Robillard said he never set out a budget.

I got him pretty spontaneously I had to work out a budget as I went,” he said. “It definitely would have been a good idea, as the initial costs of puppy-hood took me by surprise.”

He added that overlooked expenses include travel and boarding fees, especially if you have a large breeds.

Flying my dog from Edmonton to Toronto would cost about $500 just for the one flight. The special cage he needs due to being part Rottweiler (restricted breed) is $1,300 to buy and $200 to rent.”

Monthly Expenses:

Food: $40
Vet visits: $20 (emergency exams $100, x-rays $100)
Pet insurance: $40
Toys/Treats: $45

Annual Expenses:

Yearly vet visits (annual shots): $193 
Training classes/courses (obedience training):
$175
Boarding at kennel: $630
Bags: $20
Bowls: $50
Crates: $120
Leash: $25
Collar: $30
Dog bed: $75
Dog accessories (coats, shoes, etc.): $125
Pet licence: $36
Microchip ID:
$65

Total cost monthly: $145
Total cost annually: $1,544
Total cost: $3,284

Lexi and Lacey


Credit: Kirsten Johnson

Kirsten Johnson of Calgary said that when her family got a second dog, she looked into how much they were planning to travel.

“A lot of people have family or friends who will take one dog while they go away, but it becomes more of a burden to take two. The cost of boarding dogs is expensive, and you also worry about them while away,” Johnson said.

Lexi has a food allergy and Lacey has very itchy skin that requires an injection every eight weeks, Johnson added.

“Non-shedding means that that they require grooming more often,” she said. “I try to extend their professional grooming to every three months by bathing at home and trimming their face, legs and nails in between visits.”

Another thing new owners should consider is having an emergency fund for their dogs.

We have had situations where our past dog sliced a paw breaking through frozen snow and another instance where she was cut and needed stitches. These, of course, required after-hour visits to the vet that cost a premium,” she explained.

Johnson added that both dogs have other large, one-time expenses, including sprays, tooth extraction, teeth exams and treatment for ear infections, which adds more than $2,200 to her total budget for both dogs. 

Annual Expenses (Lexi):

Food: $720
Vet visits (rabies vaccine) : $132
Vet visit for ear infection (three per year): $502
Medications: $524
Grooming: 
$472
Toys/Treats: $50
Hypoallergenic shampoo:  $50
Bully sticks:
$75 
Balls: $40
Toys (stuffed): $25
Ball tosser toy: $60
Cleaning costs (for mess): $15
Boarding at kennel: $882
Poop bags: $20
Bowl: $10
Leash: $35
Collar: $35
Dog bed (one-time cost): $120
Crates (one-time cost): $150
Dog accessories (coats, shoes, etc.): $30
Pet licence: $39
Fence for dog run (one-time cost):
$120
Microchip ID: $76

Total cost annually: $4,182

READ MORE: Caring for your animal — Is pet insurance worth the cost?

Annual Expenses (Lacey):

Food: $480
Vet visits (injections and vaccine): $881
One-time dermatology appointment: $250
Medications: $273
Grooming: 
$472
Toys/Treats: $50
Hypoallergenic shampoo:  $50
Bully sticks:
$75 
Balls: $25
Toys (stuffed): $25
Boarding at kennel: $882
Poop bags: $20
Bowl: $10
Leash: $35
Collar: $35
Dog bed (one-time cost): $120
Crates (one-time cost): $150
Dog accessories (coats, shoes, etc.): $30
Pet licence: $39
Fence for dog run (one-time cost):
$120
Microchip ID: $78

Total cost annually: $4,100
Total cost annually for both dogs: $8,282

Benji Gohan

Credit: Camille Teape

Camille Teape of Brampton, Ont., has had Benji Gohan for about a year. When it comes to saving money, she suggests going on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji to find good deals on items like crates, clothes and even dog beds.

“Some items you would need brand new, such as a collar, bed (only because I noticed my dog recognized the previous dog smell and didn’t want it) or leash,” she explained.

READ MORE: Pet nutrition — What to look for and avoid when feeding your furry friend

Teape said one of her biggest challenges is not spending too much money on accessories.

“I have a smaller dog the urge to buy cute outfits,” she said. “Between my sisters and I, I think we’ve bought Benji at least seven to outfits…and we’ve only had him for a year.”

Monthly Expenses:

Food: $30
Pet insurance: $40
Grooming (every six to eight weeks): $60
Toys/Treats: $20

Annual Expenses:

Yearly vet visits (exams, shots, etc.): $186
Bowls: $20
Crates: $20
Leash: $50
Collar: $30
Dog bed: $30
Dog accessories (coats, shoes, etc.): $100
Pet licence: $40

Total cost monthly: $150
Total cost annually: $476
Total cost: $2,276

Kozi

Credit: Janet Morrison

Janet Morrison has been taking care of Kozi for about two months. She said that to save on costs, she has been grooming and cutting her dog’s nails herself.

Another cost that owners don’t often include in their budget is damage.

“ replacing damaged things from chewing like shoes, mitts and rugs,” Morrison said.

Monthly Expenses:

Food: $150
Pet insurance: $20
Toys/Treats: $40
Training classes/courses (for now): $145

Annual Expenses:

Yearly vet visits (exams, shots, etc.): $140
Poop bags: $10
Bowls: $25
Crates: $140 
Leash: $70
Collar: $30
Dog bed: $50
Pet licence: $55
Microchip ID: $80

Total cost monthly: $355
Total cost annually: $600
Total cost: $4,860

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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