How Much Does A Puppy Cost? Food, Medicine, Toys, and More
Exactly six months ago I did something that I had been wanting to do for years. Between graduating from college, moving to a different state, and not being where I wanted to be financially I couldn’t justify it. I’m of course talking about getting a puppy. I kept telling myself to wait and that eventually it would all be worth it. More importantly, I was waiting for a time in my life when I could give a dog the attention and love it needed. In May of 2018, that time came.
What I wish I would have known is how much a puppy costs. If you’re in the market then be ready to spend $500 to $2000 in the first six months. This costs goes towards their food, toys, medicine, and the initial cost of the dog if there is one. I think people tend to only think about having the time for a puppy, like I did, and don’t take into account that their expenses. These are living creatures that you are signing up to be responsible for for the next 10-15 years. While I’m still somewhat new to the dog dad thing here is how my costs have broken down in the first six months.
Meet my son Hank. Yes, I really do refer to him as my son because he is basically a child in my eyes. Hank is 20lbs of pure Beagle energy that, to be honest, I wasn’t at all prepared for. He loves peanut butter treats and naps as most dogs do and is an above average cuddler. He has a nose that can smell food from a mile away and a bark that can wake up the whole neighborhood. He’s my boy.
When I first got Hank I had no idea how much work a dog was going to be. We didn’t have dogs growing up, only a cat. Even if we did though nothing was going to prepare me for sleeping on the floor next to him when he cried at night. Or the dreaded first couple months of potty training. I learned a ton and it was all 100% worth it but I questioned why I waited so long.
I believe that time is the number one reason people wait to get a dog, as it should be. This affected me the most but right behind was the money aspect. I had no clue how much a dog was going to cost me or if I could afford it. If you would have asked me a year ago how much it would be I would have been extremely low so I’m glad I waited. I did my research beforehand as you may be doing right now reading this article but, to be honest, nothing prepared me that well. So how much have I spent on Hank in the first 6 months?
When I started looking for a dog is was right around the beginning of April 2018. I had made the decision that I was going to do it so I searched hard. I’ve always wanted a beagle. They are smart, good sized, and so darn cute. Seriously, so cute. I found what I thought was the perfect one at the Humane Society. I called, left a message, and waited. That afternoon I got a call saying I was 4th in line for that specific dog. I was shocked, to say the least.
I scanned surrounding shelters from Kansas City to Tulsa. Over the next month what I was looking for came up but every time I called I was always on the waiting list. It became quite annoying, to be honest. I was then sent a link to a woman selling beagle puppies. Yes, don’t jump me for buying instead of adopting. I tried for a couple months with no luck.
I ended up buying Hank for $300. The lady would consistently send me pictures to update his growth. When he was finally old enough to wean off his mother I drove a couple hours and picked him up. One of the happiest days of my life. It was one of the best purchases for $300 I’ve ever made.
Total Cost: $300
When I first brought Hank home the breeder gave me a bag of the food he had been eating to wean him off of. I did this and eventually moved him over to a food made for dogs his age/size. A week later he refused to eat. Obviously, a frustrating situation spending $50 on a bag of food that your dog doesn’t like, but it happened.
I then found out that most pet stores will let you get sample bags of food. What a great idea that seems so obvious. Just another thing I would have known. Hank would have been happier with food he likes (anything chicken flavored) and I would have saved a good amount of money.
You also need to consider what dog treats you will get your dog. This is much easier than food as treats are simple. If you plan on training your pup then you need to get some small training treats. These are cheap but a necessity. Hank is a spoiled dog, he has a half dozen or so options when it comes to treats.
Figuring out your pup’s favorite food is a growing paid that everyone will have. Take your time and get some samples. Also, every time you go in get another bag of treats, your dog will thank you.
Total Cost: $180
The price to keep Hank healthy is something I really underestimated. I’m not sure why but I didn’t factor it in at all. While it isn’t putting me in a financial crunch it is one of the largest costs of owning a dog. The vet I use offers a yearly plan which I have joined. Basically, I pay $57 a month and get all of his medication and vet visits. The main two medications are heartworm and flea/tick. I did actually shop around on this a little bit and it came back as a good deal so I went with it.
Additionally, they gave him all of his shots as well as do the little things like clipping his nails. Oh, and did I mention this monthly fee includes the spade/neuter. That in itself can cost $250+. The whole experience has been simple which is what I look for.
Total Cost: $342
Toy and Other Cost
When you get a dog you need to spoil them, that’s a given right? I’m no exception to this, Hank is spoiled and he knows it. He has plenty of toys (even though he prefers the cat toys), bones, and other things to keep him entertained. I’ll admit I have skimped on buying more stuff for him often. The simple reason is he can play with a tied up sock or an old rope and have just as much fun as any squeaky toy.
Another item I’m including in the other bucket was his training. Hank and I have been going to training once a week for the last month and a half. He graduates in December and has done an awesome job. Training has cost me $140 but for 7 weeks I think that is a great deal. I was suggested Sit Stay Dog Training by a family member and it has been a great experience, I’d highly recommend it.
Other costs included items like a kennel, leash, collar, and other necessities.
Total Cost: $340
It hurts my heart to have to include this cost but we did have an emergency. A couple of months ago Hank wasn’t keeping anything down. He actually puked while I was holding him, not the most pleasant experience. What happened though was he swallowed a piece of cloth and it was blocking his digestive system. I’ve never experienced the emotions I did when the vet told me that he would probably need surgery. To be blunt, I felt like a total failure. It was bad.
She went on to say how the surgery would be $2,000 (yikes) but they needed to go in and get it. I was at work the whole time and was an emotional wreck. Right before he was about to be opened up they called me and said they were going to do one more X-Ray. Then she gave me the great news that all the fluid they were pumping into him actually go the fabric moving through his intestines. Long story short surgery wasn’t needed and Hank is all good.
There was still a cost associated with this whole fiasco though and it wasn’t cheap.
Total Cost: $690
With all of these added together, I have spent $1,852 on Hank in the first six months. To be honest I have nothing to measure this against so I’m not sure how bad/good this is. What I do know is that it feels cheap. If you take out the initial cost to buy him and the emergency vet visit you are already down to only $700 or just over $100 per month.
It takes about $1,000 a month to keep me alive so a $100 is more than doable.
I will say this though if the cost would have been double that or even triple it would still be worth it. Getting a dog has changed my life and that’s no exaggeration.