Steps To Build A New Dog Budget

Do you know that creating a dog budget is very important? It tells you what your dog costs and where you are spending your money on your dog. It also allows you to easily see where you can cut your dog costs when you need to tighten your budget.

Additionally, and equally important, creating a dog budget allows you to know what you’re getting into before you get a dog, puppy, or another dog. In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of how to build your dog’s budget. You may be shocked to see your where dog expenses are going or will go if you’re in the planning stages. Grab a cup of tea. This is truly valuable information you and your dog need. Today, let’s dig in and build a dog template budget you can use time and time again.

*Updated: November 6, 2023

a cute puppy is hoping his new dog parents have a dog budget
Budget Tip:

Yes, it can be expensive to get a dog. However, with just a bit of planning, you can do it! When you create your budget, you'll know how much your dog will cost or is costing. From that point, you can even create a special "dog account" and put a little money in it each money, like a dog savings account. This can help you meet your dog budget. Either way, knowing your dog expenses, whether for a current dog or future dog, is critical in being able to properly care for your dog. It's definitely a great idea to create a dog budget and refer to it regularly.

First make sure you download your FREE dog budget template, which is completely editable and automated to help you in creating your own dog budget. You can then more easily work your way through this article and create your own dog budget at the same time.

1. Fees

pup paw Rescue, adoption, or breeder costs 

If you buy your dog from a breeder then that’s a certain price and will depend on many factors. Even if you decide to rescue your dog, then there’s a fee to the rescue organization. Those fees can vary widely and shockingly depends on where you live and the type of dog or if your dog is altered (spayed or neutered).

For example, if you are looking to adopt a senior dog or a special needs, then sometimes shelters will have free adoption days. Personally, I’m a big advocate of adopting and rescuing. If you don’t plan to show your dog, then I highly encourage you to open your heart to rescue a dog. My dog, Henry is a rescue. I can’t imagine a better furry family member.

However, if your heart is set on adopting a hybrid-type dog, such as a Schnoodle, then you might be shocked to learn the rescue fee could be as much as $2500 or more. Although, Henry is a cockapoo his fee only cost me $100. As I already mentioned, it truly depends on your location and the rescue organization. The good news is this cost is a one-time cost. 

  • Adoption Fee: $0-2,500
  • Breeder Fee: $500-3,000

pup paw Dog License

Meanwhile, the cost of a dog license will vary greatly depending on where you live and whether or not your dog is spayed, neutered, and even the age of your dog. This is also generally a yearly fee. You may want to call your local county or city animal services to get the exact amount for where you live. You should also be able to find these fees online.

  • Dog License: $8-500

Do you know that a dog license can reduce your dog’s costs? Find out how in this article.

pup paw Renter Pet Deposit Fee

If you rent, you may need to pay a pet deposit fee and even a monthly pet rental fee. You’ll need to talk with your landlord prior to getting a dog to determine if this will apply to you. Never spring a new pet on a landlord and expect a no-pet policy to be waived. You may be able to get a no-pet policy exemption if you’re open and transparent from the beginning. Here’s an article about this exact issue.

  • Renter Pet Deposit Fee: $0-500
  • Monthly Pet Renter Fee: $0-500

2. Medical   

I encourage you to make an appointment with your veterinarian within a few days of getting him or her. You want to know what’s his baseline and if there are any issues you should be aware of from the start. Plus, this gives you a great opportunity to discuss food and pet insurance with your vet.

Additionally, if your dog has not been spayed or neutered, I recommend scheduling that as soon as possible. Unless you plan to show or breed the dog. The cost to spay or neuter your dog will also vary. However, there are generally many low-cost clinics available. You will have to search for what’s near you.

Other, costs to budget for are vet annual check-ups and shots. Vet prices vary widely. However, there are many low-cost vet clinics, such as VIP PETCARE where you can get vaccine shots at a lower rate. The main idea is to have your dog seen by a qualified vet at least once a year. But twice a year is preferred.

Plus, I would budget an additional 3 visits because you never know what will happen. I always tell my vet I would rather be proactive than reactive. This cushion in my budget allows me to be proactive. Here are the costs to budget for a new dog:

  • First Vet Visit + Vaccines: $60-350
  • Spaying/Neutering: $0-300
    (most rescue organizations will have pets spayed or neutered prior to adoption so there will be no additional fee)
  • Microchipping: $0-50*
  • Pet Insurance/savings: $12-46/mth
  • Flea/Tick/Heartworm Prevention: $20/mth

*Microchipping is very common for rescue organizations to do prior to adopting pets out to their forever homes. Even if you’re told your dog is not microchipped, I encourage you to have your vet check on your first visit. I was told Henry wasn’t chipped. But on his first visit, I was happy to discover he was chipped.

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3. Equipment costs 

These costs include your new dog’s leash, collar, ID tag, harness, brush, bowls, crate, and beds. Of course, these items will vary depending on your dog’s needs. However, I highly recommend a harness and specifically a no-pull harness, which will prevent damage to the dog’s trachea later on, especially if he’s a strong puller.

Additionally, I encourage people to put out a couple of bowls of water for their dog. You may want to get three bowls. One for food and two for water.

Next, crates are essential for crate training, which many trainers recommend. They also provide a safe place when the dog gets scared.

Finally, how many beds you get depends on how big a home you have or places you have to place a bed. I currently have a few stashed-in corners for Henry.

Please note that the cost of these equipment items will vary depending on your dog’s size and the type or style you like. Here’s a good ballpark on these costs you can add to your dog budget.:

  • Collar: $8-32
  • Harness:  $19-70
  • ID Tag:  $4-10
  • Leash: $7-54
  • Brush:  $6-32
  • Beds:  $9-300
  • Crate/Kennel:  $38-900
  • Food & Water Bowls:  $9-32

Related articles:

The good news is that most of the equipment costs should be a one-time expense. Unless you have a puppy that is growing. Then you’ll need to buy new collars and harnesses as your puppy grows. Or if your puppy accidentally chews or destroys something. However, I have to admit, that I destroyed Henry’s bed by washing it too much. Therefore, I would say, beds have a lifespan of probably 2-3 years. You’ll want to start shopping for a new one before it unravels in the washing machine. 

4. Consumables 

pup paw Food

A dog’s stomach is very sensitive. I highly encourage you to try to stay with whatever your dog has been eating until you can discuss what is best with your vet. Food can vary in quality and price. They all do different things. Plus, the size of your dog, age, and level of activity will play a role in the amount of food your dog will need. This is a good discussion for your first visit with your vet. 

  • Food: $20 – $300/month

pup paw Treats 

This includes cookies and dental chews. While cookies are good for training and reinforcing good behavior, dental chews are great for keeping your dog’s teeth clean and breath minty fresh. Additionally, if you have a chewer, then chewing treats would be a good choice.

However, I recommend steering clear of rawhides as they can cause choking hazards. I do recommend looking for quality treats, especially if you’re training your dog. Although, the best treats, I believe in most cases are natural treats. Henry thinks so as well. But I still budget for a few treats and if I don’t use what’s budgeted, then I’m ahead in my forecast.

  • Treats: $8-30

5. Services

pup paw Dog walker/doggie daycare/pet sitter costs 

Will you be away from your home a lot? Will you need a dog walker or perhaps doggie daycare? They are not the same. A dog walker will come to your home and take your dog out for a walk a few times a day, depending on what you’ve agreed upon.

While doggie daycare is where you take your dog to stay at a facility with other dogs and humans when you are at work or unavailable. How often you need a dog walker or doggie daycare will depend on your needs. The prices vary on your location, your dog, and his needs.

Meanwhile, the average price for a pet sitter will vary depending on what you wish them to do during a visit, the length of the visit, or if you want them to stay overnight with your dog. Here are the prices for my area:

a dog walker is part of a dog budget as this dog walker will atest

pup paw Grooming costs 

Will you be adopting a dog that needs to be groomed regularly? You will need to carefully check out groomers and price them in your area. Will you be able to bathe your dog? Or will you want or need someone else to bathe him or her? This will vary in price depending on your dog’s size, coat, and the service you ask for (full grooming or basic bathing). Here the ballpark price for my area:

  • Dog Groomer: $50 every 7-8 weeks (full grooming and bathing for a thick-coated small dog)

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pup paw Training costs   

I also highly recommend training for all dogs, regardless of age. This is a great way to get to know your new family member while establishing boundaries with him. Besides, some commands, such as come, sit, stay, wait, down, and let go are simply essential for your dog’s well-being. However, prices for basic training vary widely, even within the same geographic locations. Although, you can surprisingly train your dog for free or for very little and on your own time. Check out this article for those options.

In my area, here is the cost for traditional basic dog/puppy training:

dog training is essential and this dog mom is glad she built the cost into her dog budget
  • Basic Dog/Puppy Training Classes: $0-2,000 /6 weeks course

You might be surprised to learn that you can train your dog for free as well. In this article, I walk you through how to do it.

6. Other supply costs   

Most of these supplies you could get as budget dog supplies. Additionally, these dog budget items you won’t need to have when you first get your dog. However, you’ll want to acquire them over time (or if you’re getting a puppy, perhaps sooner). They may not be essential for you to have these when you first get your dog. With this in mind, I haven’t included additional supplies under the “New Dog” template that you can download. However, you’ll find a supply cost in the monthly/yearly templates.

These supply costs include such items as pee pads, shampoo and conditioner, carpet stain and odor remover, marking spray, toothbrush, toothpaste (dental kit), and other items. Pee pads are mostly for puppies, but they can also apply to special needs dogs as well. If you are adding a puppy to your family, then you will want to add pee pads to your budget. Pee pads help preserve your carpet while your puppy learns where is appropriate to go to the bathroom. Or helps your special needs dog with an “accident”.

Additionally, with the pee pads come carpet stain and order remover, along with anti-marking spray (you don’t want the puppy or dog to think that one spot is his spot to pee every day). Plus, I always like to buffer this category for the unknown. Better to be prepared than left high and dry. 

  • Pee pads: $21-60
  • Carpet stain/odor remover/ marking spray: $12-16
  • Shampoo & Conditioner: $8-14
  • Dental supplies: $18-35
  • Potty Bags: $0-35 (you can easily pick up a few free poo bags at a dog park to get started)

pup paw Toys 

Some dogs will not like toys for whatever reason. Henry doesn’t like toys. But I still recommend dog toys. I still have toys for Henry to try to encourage him to play with them. They are good for keeping an overly stimulated dog entertained and his mind active. You’d much rather your new family member chew on a toy than your couch. Of course, the price of toys can vary widely. You can even make great DIY dog toys.

  • Toys: $5-40

Related article:

dogs are always happy with their human parents remember to include dog toys in their dog budget

Plus…Accessories  

These aren’t really essential items for your dog. As such I haven’t included them on your “New Dog” template for you to download. However, they are included in the monthly/yearly cost templates.

These accessories will include such items as sweaters, coats, booties, scarves, ties, and the like. Some people like dressing up their dogs for holidays. That will be up to you and your dog. If you like to hike in cold or hot weather, booties will come in handy for snow, rocks, and hot sidewalks. Here’s a breakdown of some basic accessory costs for your dog budget:

  • Sweater: $9-40
  • Coat: $10-70
  • Booties: $12-90
  • Bandanas: $7-35
  • Tie: $5-15

*If you buy accessories, you’ll probably buy a few every year. At least that’s been my observation. 

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Summary of how to build your dog budget 

There are many things to think about when you decide to get a new dog or puppy. But before you even decide on whether you should get a dog, you need to know what it will cost. Can you afford a dog?

The things to include and think about when building your new dog budget include the cost of the dog (rescue, adoption, or breeder fees), equipment (such as leash and collar), food, treats, toys, accessories (including sweaters and handkerchiefs), supplies (like shampoo, pee pads, and carpet stain remover), dog walker, doggie daycare, grooming, training, and veterinarian.

Although this is not an exclusive list of your new dog and his expenses, it will provide you with a very good idea of the cost of a new dog. It also is great for giving you an exact look at the expenses of the dog you currently own and planning for the future.

You can easily plan for a future dog, forecast, and track your current expenses with this free dog budget template. Perhaps even better, you can manipulate the templates for your needs and track them to make sure you are within your budget goals. And that makes for a great future with your dog!

a pup is happy that his pet parents are building a new dog budget

What surprised you about creating a dog budget? Did you have a dog budget before now?

14 thoughts on “Steps To Build A New Dog Budget”

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  4. A load of sensible advice for dog owners here and especially for those counting the pennies!

    I am glad you included grooming cost as it is something I would never have thoughts about oooppss!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Margorie! You know I’d never had a dog that needed to be groomed until Henry. The cost of grooming was surprising to me and how it goes up every few months. I’ve actually started grooming Henry myself. I’ll eventually share those tips as well.

      I really appreciate your continued support!

      Reply
  5. Great post and so important for people to think about it all before getting a pet. The prices can vary according to which State you in also as adoption fees are not that high in San Francisco and adoption is so much more important than buying from a breeder.

    Reply
    • I’m a huge adoption advocate. Any kind of dog you can imagine is sitting in some shelter or foster home just waiting for their furever home. I still can’t believe Henry spent four months in foster care. But I’m grateful he waited for me to find him.

      You are absolutely right, the prices on all dog expenses vary widely according to location, dog type (puppy, senior, special needs, neutered/spayed, and breed). Even rescue organizations will have different prices for very similar dogs. But never let any obstacle put in front of you block you from your future dog. I’m so glad you found your sweet Layla. She’s a perfect match for you!

      Reply
  6. Having a realistic budget makes it easier to take care of your pup responsibly! One of our senior dogs is having a dental cleaning, and some teeth pulled next week. It is more expensive than I expected, but luckily we have a little emergency fund to help with vet care.

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry to hear that your pup is having teeth pulled. That’s never fun. I’m glad to hear you have an emergency vet fund. You’re absolutely right that dental cleaning and teeth pulling are often much more expensive than we anticipate. You’re very smart to have an emergency fund. Some dog breeds unfortunately are prone to dental issues. I always tell my vet that I want to be proactive with Henry’s medical care as much as possible. I made a promise to Henry when I adopted him that I would do everything possible to not let him have surgeries or undergo anesthesia. It was a big promise. Unfortunately, he did need surgery when he was attacked by two dogs. But much to my surprise (and his vet’s) he has never needed to have his teeth professionally cleaned. While he may not love his TruDog spray, it’s definitely keeping his teeth clean.

      I’m sending your pup lots of healing energy and love for a fast recovery. I’m also sending you a big hug. I made that promise to Henry, because I’ve gone down that road with my furkids and it’s not fun to stand by and watch.

      Reply
  7. This is SUCH an important post chock-full of information that all potential dog families should read! Having this guide ahead of time will be extremely helpful, and love that you did a budget template that will be so useful for potential pet parents. Having Huskies I can say there were some unexpected costs over the years (such as three with torn CCLs, one an epileptic, and then several with tumors, an oral surgery, and a torn dew claw! I did not do insurance at the time, because they did not cover much back in the day. I hear it is much better now) that I was fortunate to be in a position at the time where my husband and I were both working,so we could cover them. But that said, folks can also lose an income, whether from retirement, loss of job, divorce, etc., so having this guide would definitely help those in that change of life situation as well when bringing in a new furry family member. You always have such wonderful information! I will definitely be sharing. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you so much, Dorothy! I greatly appreciate your support.

      You are absolutely right. It’s the unknown that can sneak up on you and hit you hard with a vet bill. That’s why it’s important to have a dog budget, if possible vet insurance and my little trick a pet savings account. What you save can add up for what you don’t know about today. Or if the unknown never comes, then you can simply use it for a wonderful vacation for you and your dog, if you’ve more than covered your dog expenses. For me, I like to always make sure I have a nice buffer. My friends generally say that Henry is more covered than I am. It’s true, but I’m good with that too.

      Reply
  8. This is really important information to have! It’s so easy to get a dog only to realize that you didn’t estimate nearly how much it would cost! This is especially true for Vet care, these costs have gone up so dramatically it can be a shocker. We recently rescued a small dog, Jessie. Her adoption fee was $600! I have found that the more “desirable” dogs, especially small dogs actually have higher adoption fees. We didn’t get her spayed through the rescue (that’s a long story), and we ended up having her spayed through our county’s Low Cost Apay/Neuter program for only $150 – the cost through our own Vet would have been $850 – $1,200!! Excellent post!

    Reply
  9. Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find good quality writing like
    yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you!
    Take care!!

    Reply

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