Dogs are called “man’s best friend” for a reason. They bring us such joy and happiness with their wagging tails and adorable faces. They are a comforting presence and are always ready to dish out endless amounts of love when you get home after a long day of work. Studies have shown that having a dog can even result in people living longer and healthier lives! However, they require work, patience, and money in exchange for all those slobbery kisses in which they want to slather us.

According to, a website dedicated to providing news and information for dog lovers, every year about 13 million American households get a puppy or an older dog. Within one year, half of those dogs end up in a shelter. Why do so many dogs end up in shelters? Great question! While this question has several answers, including lack of understanding dog behavior/training, I will cover another one of those many answers in depth. Simply put, that answer is that dogs are expensive! places the average cost of owning a dog over its lifetime at approximately $20,000., a fun website providing tips on raising puppies, suggests that in the 12 years you may have a dog, you will spend upwards of $32,990! claims that we spend an average of $180 a month on dogs.

Now, let’s break those costs down! You have got the initial vet check, which, as reported by, will cost you anywhere from $50-300. Annual vet visits can cost between $70-130. Eventually the time will come to get little Fido or Fifi neutered, or spayed! The average cost of a spay/neuter is $45-175, with pain meds costing between $10-30. You will, of course, always want to have a little money set back in case you need to bring your pup to an emergency vet, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the emergency.

The start-up supplies for a small dog can cost between $300-350, with supplies for a large dog costing $400-450. General start up supplies usually entail the following: a high-quality food, bowls, collars and leash, toys, dental chews, training treats, dewormer, cleaning aids, grooming supplies, flea and tick preventative, heart worm preventative, and a crate. Extra things you will want to take into consideration are a car restraint, a bed, vitamins, professional grooming, dental care, waste disposal, boarding/daycare, and TRAINING. Naturally, you will need science-based, force free dog training, which usually costs $125-350. Ongoing costs spent on your dog would be a high quality food, treats, dental chews, and veterinary care. You may be tempted to get that cheaper dog food, but keep in mind that a high-quality diet results in an overall healthier pet, thus resulting in less vet visits, and less money spent on those visits!

So, when looking for a new furry companion, please keep in mind all the responsibility that comes with it. “Owning” a dog is a lifelong experience. Dogs aren’t just “man’s best friend”–they’re part of our family, and have many emotional, physical, mental, and health issues that need attention.


Remember Paw & Order begins with you…

Dara Rogers CPDT-KA
Area Trainer (Alexandria, La)
Bons Chiens University