Before You Adopt a Dog, Check Out the Start-Up Costs

Do you have a yearning for a four-legged friend? The cost of owning a dog is more than just cans of puppy chow and a few squeaky toys.

Here are a few things to think about when it comes to budgeting for your new best friend:

Things will get destroyed

Despite your dog’s cherubic face, chances are, you’ll need to replace an item (or two) around the house soon after bringing home a new dog. Stick with durable, chew-friendly toys that come with quality guarantees.


The higher-end toys aren’t as cheap as the cute raccoons and seasonal stuffed animals—virtually indestructible toys and toys with a quality guarantee like the Goughnut start at around $20 on the low end and $40 or more on the high end—but it’s a small price to pay compared to constantly replacing plush toys or visiting the vet because of ingested stuffing.

Licenses and registration, please

In a lot of cities and counties pet owners need to obtain a license for their animals. These can come with yearly fees. If you choose to forego the license, you could face a penalty that will end up costing more than the license itself.

Keep your dog above the law. Allowing your dog to run off his leash, can also lead to a pricy citation, depending on your city’s laws. Ditto for letting a dog off leash.

Fees on fees

Lost your dog? When you can’t find Fido, microchipping can be a godsend. If your adopted pet doesn’t already have a microchip, you can have one inserted by a vet for around $50, according to WebMD.

Many microchips require annual registration fees, which vary depending on the company.

Sit, stay!

A six-to eight-week group training session ranges from around $40 to $160 according to estimates from Thumbtack and, but group training isn’t the right environment for every dog. Shy or aggressive dogs are better served with private training, which can cost anywhere from $30 to $100 an hour.

Got lots of patience? You can forego training classes and try and train with the help of experts via YouTube, online articles and library books.

Get to the vet

Adopting a pup with a mostly unknown health background? You may be starting entirely from scratch when it comes to vaccines. All of these (plus check-ups) can quickly add up.

Puppies generally require more vaccines than older dogs to protect them as they age, according to the American Kennel Club, and many of the vaccines for young dogs require follow-up appointments and booster shots. If you’ve adopted a puppy, these costs may level out as dogs reach adulthood.

Something nice: Adopting a dog from shelters with connections to animal hospitals may offer discounted veterinary care. So you don’t pay to pay a lot to care a lot.

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