The cost of owning a dog

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So you’re thinking about getting a dog? Congratulations! Investing in a four-legged companion can be one of the most rewarding decisions. But how much is likely to cost you?

In this guide we explore the different costs associated with owning a dog, and what to expect as a dog owner.

The Average Cost of Buying A Dog

The price of buying a dog depends on where you are planning to purchase your dog.  If you’re planning on adopting a dog from your local dog rescue shelter, the price is generally cheaper, although the cost of the dog will be helping to run the shelter, so please be generous.

Buying a dog from a rescue shelter will cost around £150 for adult dogs or £200 for puppies, but this will generally include veterinary care, the first round of shots, microchipping, and spay or neutering which is a heck of a deal. You will only be limited to the choice of dogs at the rescue shelter, but you can be sure to pick up a loving pooch if you do.  

If you are planning on buying a dog from a registered breeder the price will depend on the specific breed of dog, the pedigree bloodlines, and the popularity of the breed. It will also mean you’re getting a puppy which will require training and extra care. Purchasing a dog from a breeder can range from £500 to £3,000. That will generally just get the dog and possibly the first veterinary visit. That’s it. Breeders can also specialize in hybrids (such as a labradoodle).

If you’re looking for a large pedigree dog or a rarer breed, the cost to buy a dog will only go up from there. For example, a purebred Samoyed can cost you as much as £15,000. 


This also depends on what kind of dog you decide to purchase. If you buy a larger breed, for example, you may need to buy a higher quality of food designed for big dogs to keep them healthy. They will also eat more than a smaller dog. A puppy will also require special food to help them grow and a senior dog may require age-appropriate food to keep them healthy. 

On average it will require about £25 per month for average grade food. Annually it will cost about £300 to feed your dog. There are also raw and grain-free options that will also increase the price.  

Toys, Bedding & Treats

When buying a dog, you’ll need to consider some toys and bedding for them. Toys will need to be replaced as they wear out or the dog grows out of them. The same goes for their bedding and dog bed or crate. 

You’ll want a wide range of accessories, such as leads, bowls, dog bed, treats, a dog crate, and collars or harnesses.

Overall you can expect to spend about £250-£500 when you get the dog to get the necessities. Smaller dogs, such as Chihuahuas, may require coats and vests in colder climates which will add to the cost. Also, expect to spend about £5 – £10 a month on treats. 


Your dog will need grooming but its needs depend on its breed. Most basic grooming needs can be done at home, especially for shorter-haired breeds such as Labrador Retrievers.  If you get a dog like an English Sheepdog or a Newfoundland, you’ll need a groomer from time to time.

Some dog breeds have a triple coat that requires special care. The amount you will pay for grooming depends on several factors such as dog size, type of fur coat, and where you live. The average cost of dog grooming in the UK is £39, but prices range from £18 to £80 or even more.

Most groomers will also trim your dog’s nails, clean their ears, and brush their teeth for small fees. 

Vet Cost Breakdown

In researching your dog breeds, pay special attention to the breeds medical sensitivities. For example, hip dysplasia is a common medical condition for Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. Respiratory issues are also common among breeds like Bulldogs or Pugs.


This is a legal requirement in any dog over eight weeks old throughout the United Kingdom. If a dog is picked up without a microchip, the owner generally will have 21 days to get a microchip or face a fine from the local authorities. At your local vet, it costs about £15 to microchip your dog.

If you’re adopting a dog from the shelter, the cost of adoption covers the microchipping fees.  All you will need to do is just update the microchip with your information. 

Routine Vaccinations

Like humans, dogs require medical care. Routine check-ups can range between £60 – £80, depending on your vet.  Routine check-ups are important for keeping your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date. If you plan on boarding or enrolling your pup in training courses, you will generally need proof that vaccinations are current.

The first round of shots for a puppy can range between £100 – £150  and annual boosters can be about £50 per jab, but some inoculations, such as rabies, can last up to three years before needing to be updated. If you adopt your dog from a shelter, your dog has generally already up-to-date on their vaccinations. 

Spaying and Neutering

The cost of spaying or neutering your dog depends greatly on the size of your dog. The price varies around the country but spays range from £130 to £370 and castrations can range between £110 to £300. Another benefit of adopting your dog from a shelter is that the dog is already spayed or neutered and the cost is covered with the adoption fees. 

Emergency Treatment

Accidents happen in life and it is no different for your pet. If your four-legged companion gets hit by a car late at night, for example, you will need to pay at least £150 for out-of-hours emergency services. If your pet requires a hospital stay, it can increase to £500. The average cost for surgery is £1,500 and ongoing treatment, like diabetes or chemotherapy, can easily escalate to £5,000. Treatment for hip dysplasia can be £1,300 or more.

Pet Insurance: A Hidden Safety Net

Much like our health insurance, many companies offer pet insurance for your furry friends. Pet insurance policies can range from £279 – £300 (about £30 a month) annually, but it depends on the breed, age, and health of your pet.

The policy will cover the cost of treatment for your pet but policies generally don’t cover pre-existing conditions or routine procedures, such as vaccinations or paying or neutering. The Association of British Insurers says the average claim reported for emergency treatment on pet insurance is about £750, but vet bills can easily be in the thousands. 

Many pet owners will wonder if pet insurance is worth the price. You yourself may not have health insurance. While humans have the NHS safety net, pets do not. If your pet requires a £2,000 surgery, how are you going to pay for it? Pet insurance can give you peace of mind that your furry friend will be protected.

A bonus to pet insurance is that some policies also help cover the cost of your pet being housed should you be hospitalized. Some will also protect you if your pet should injure someone and even help with advertising costs if your pet gets lost. 

There are a lot of things to consider before you invite a dog into your family. Research can help you make the right decision for you and your family. Dogs can be a great addition to your family, bringing fantastic memories for years to come.

Advice before buying a dog

Do lots of research, especially if you’re looking to get a particular breed of dog. Research the dog’s genetic health sensitivities and how to care for them. The internet is full of useful information and personal stories from owners of all dog breeds.