Ok, we all agree that our dogs are our children, and the love they share with us is priceless! But just like children, they can be expensive! There are many benefits to owning a dog; they bring so much love and joy and help to improve mental and physical health. And if you are like me, owning a dog is a need you feel in your soul, and you’ll go to many lengths to make it happen. However, It is essential to be aware of the cost of owning a dog before getting a dog and budget appropriately so you won’t have to make difficult choices a few months or years down the line.
The costs associated depend on the type of dog, age, health, where you live and, most importantly, what lengths you want to go to in order to provide for your fur baby. There are some articles online with general cost breakdowns on owning a dog. But I wanted to share our personal experience and what we actually spend in the hopes that it’ll be useful to someone who is deciding to get a dog.
Tips To Save On The Cost Of Owning A Dog
First, some background information about us. We are a dual-income family with no kids living in Melbourne, Australia. We own two adorable little cavoodles/ cavapoos, Ollie and Winky. Ollie is 3+ (8 Kg) years old, and Winky is 1+ (10 Kg) years old. We love them deeply and want to give them the best. We do not compromise on health and essential care but are also practical about our expenses. Here are a few ways we manage to cut down costs without compromising quality. I hope these will be useful in an economy when inflation is at an all-time high!
- Figure out the essentials – Figuring out what’s most important to you early will save you a lot of money down the road. We tend to give more importance to Ollie’s and Winky’s well-being and only buy good quality practical items that last us a long time.
- Do it yourself – I have seen a lot of inspiring dog parents who do things like grooming, and preparing nutritious food themselves. This can save a lot of money. But it’s also a time commitment, and you certainly have to be talented and knowledgeable in all aspects.
- Bulk buy – We like buying dog food and treats in bulk. They usually have one-year expiry date, larger sizes are always less expensive, and help to save on shipping costs when buying online.
- Shop around – the best way to find a good price is to compare deals and offers. Stock up on the Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. Sign up for the favourite pet store newsletter to know about sales!
- Price match – Most pet stores in Australia price match if you find a better price online for the same item
- Use cash back apps – There are apps like ShopBack/ Cashrewards etc. that offer cash back for shopping and this applies to major pet shops too! Combine that with a sale, and you’ll have yourself a deal!
We are sharing our personal experience, and of course, you can customise it according to your personal circumstances. So without further ado, let’s get into costs,
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The first year of owning a dog is expensive, as everything is new. Costs can be reduced by getting second-hand items and following the steps mentioned above, but some expenses cannot be avoided. If you make conscious, good choices, some of the items, like a dog door, dog bed, crate etc. can last for a lifetime. But there are puppy items like pee pads, puppy food etc., that are essential but one-off. Costs vary depending on personal choices like whether you adopt or buy a puppy, whether you decide to desex them, whether you want the latest and most expensive accessories etc. So we haven’t specified exact prices for one-off expenses.
๏ Adoption costs – whether you decide to buy or adopt, there will be some costs associated with it.
๏ Desexing – It was important for us to desex Ollie and Winky, and if you want to read more about we shared our desexing experience in this blog post. The cost for desexing depends on the gender, vet costs and how complicated the surgery is going to be.
๏ Training – Most of the time, training is a one-off expense in the first year of a dog’s life. But depending on the need and the behavioural problems, training can be helpful for adult dogs as well. The costs can differ based on whether it is a group class or a one-on-one session.
๏ Accessories and other essentials – We have a full list of items you will need in this blog post. Most of these expenses are in the first year of your dog’s life. If you buy the right items, you won’t need to replace them for a while.
Annual expenses are mostly for absolute essentials, like health checkups, so it’s important to budget for those. Given that nothing unexpected happens, our total annual cost for 2 dogs is $650. The cost is calculated to the approximate dollar in Australian dollars per two dogs per year.
|Expense||Description||Cost per year|
|Vet costs -Annual health check ups and vaccination||Annual health check ups and vaccinations are an essential to know that the dog is healthy, and what we can do to improve their conditions as they age. Assuming we are lucky and no other medical complications arise, annual vet costs aren’t actually that bad for two dogs. In some years there can be additional $500 per dog on dental clean ups.||$160|
|Council fees||Fees may vary depending on the council, dog breed, whether the dog is desexed, etc.||$140|
|Grooming products||Since we go to our groomer every month we rarely use our dog shampoo and conditioner. But we do use pet wipes, dog dental care, detangling serum etc on a regular basis. Our full grooming routine can be found here.||$150|
|Miscellaneous items||This can be items such as dog waste bags, toys, clothes, water filters, enrichment toys, etc.||$200|
Monthly Cost Breakdown
Assuming it is a typical month without unexpected costs, we spend about $750 on monthly essentials for two adult cavapoos. One can choose less expensive food, a smaller premium on Health insurance, and groom less often. But we note in the description why these are important to us. Some dog owners spend money on dog daycare, dog walkers etc., which we do not do. So costs can vary depending on personal circumstances.
|Expense||Description||Cost per month|
|Food||We give Ollie and Winky Air dried ZiWi Peak kibble (use 4kg per month for 2 dogs) which made of good ingredients without any filler. We also add things like pumpkin/carrot/sweet potato purée, fresh meat/ seafood, Fruits. Supplements such as fish/hemp oil, seaweed powder, psyllium husk, quail eggs, bone broth, Keffir milk Antinol rapid, etc.||$300|
|Treats||We give homemade dehydrated chicken as training treats. We also buy single ingredient dried meat/fish treats with no preservatives, additives, colours, added sugar, fats, etc. We like long chews like shark skins, shark cartilage, kangaroo tendons, Pork totters etc as they keep Ollie and Winky occupied for a while and helps clean their teeth.||$110|
|Tick Flea & worming treatment||We enjoy outdoor activities so it is so important to protect Ollie and Winks flea, ticks and worms. So we give them one Nextguard spectra tablet per month according to their weight. We buy a 6 or 12 pk to reduce costs.||$25|
|Grooming||Most dogs really need a little nail trim but one of the cons of owning a poodle mix is the grooming. We do daily grooms at home (I calculated cost for this in one-off and annual cost as you only need one brush set and a one pet shampoo conditioner per year) but also goto our groomer every month. Every alternate month is a full groom ($150 for two dogs)and other times it’s just a maintenance groom ($100 for two dogs). How often you groom them will depend on your dog and personal preferences.||$125|
|Pet insurance||For some this might not be an essential but for us pet insurance is a must. We’ll do a seperate blog post of our thoughts on pet insurance later.||$140|
Is It Expensive To Own Two Dogs?
The short answer is YES and almost everything will cost twice! One-off costs for certain items might not change too much (you only need one dog door), but perishable goods, monthly and annual costs will double!
Conclusion On Cost Of Owning A Dog
In conclusion, we spend approximately $9 000 on two dogs per year($4 500 per dog), which is on par with the annual cost of owning a dog in Australia. But of course, there can be unexpected costs, mainly in the form of health-related expenses, so it is essential to have a buffer to be comfortable and time to time, splurge on something adorable you want to get for your doggo. Like a birthday cake and a toy for their birthday!
We hope this article helped you get a realistic idea of how much it costs to own a dog like Ollie and Winks. Please let us know if this is helpful. And if you have tips for us, comment below and let us know! We’d love to hear from you!