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A dog can bring an immeasurable amount of joy into your life. Before deciding to take a dog home, however, it is important to understand the costs involved in owning a dog. Typically, costs of owning a dog fall into two categories: expected annual costs (e.g., dog food, dog walking, grooming, teeth cleaning, vaccinations, pet insurance, etc.) and unexpected/one-off costs (e.g., a vet bill for an accident or emergency for the uninsured, microchipping, neutering/spaying, the cost to buy your dog, etc.).
We’ve researched both types of costs, so you know what to expect. Use this information to decide if dog ownership fits in your budget, so you can enjoy years of companionship without financial worries.
Regular Cost of Owning a Dog / Average Costs to Keep a Dog per Year
The annual costs to own a healthy dog can quite easily exceed £1,500 per year (including the cost of dog insurance). Below you'll find a breakdown of typical annual expenses for the average dog:
|Dog Care Cost Items||Average Annual Cost|
|Dog Boarding (2 weeks)||£420|
|Flea & Tick Treatment, Wormer, etc.||£120|
|Treats, toys, etc.||£100|
|Total Annual Cost to Own a Dog||£1,770|
In addition, some pet owners might face other expenses such as dog walking costs, which average over £10 per walk in the UK.
How Much Does Dog Food Cost per Year?
The price of keeping your dog well fed largely depends on the size of your dog. A 4-lb chihuahua will eat a fraction of the volume that a 70-lb Labrador eats. Per kilo of body weight, most dogs eat between 10 and 30 grams of food per day. Small dogs eat more for their weight (e.g., up to 30 grams of food per kilo of body weight) per day than large dogs do (e.g., as little as 10 grams of food per kilo of body weight).
With so many dog food brands and options out there, it can be confusing deciding what to buy. We've researched some typical per-kilo prices for some popular UK brands of dog food, to give you an idea of dog food costs. Actual prices will depend on the particular food, retailer and size of bag. (Like with grocery shopping, it generally pays to buy in bulk.)
Cost of Dog Food by Brand
|Dog Food Brand||Approximate Per Kilo Dog Food Costs|
|Markus Muhle NaturNah||£2.20|
|James Wellbeloved Adult Turkey & Rice||£2.50|
|Royal Canin, Medium Adult Dry||£2.60|
|Simpsons Premium Adult Dog Chicken & Brown Rice||£2.75|
|Hill's Prescription Diet Canine i/d||£4.04|
|Orijen Original 85% Meat||£5.53|
|Eden Original Cuisine||£6.50|
Below we've estimated annual dog food costs by weight of the dog, assuming a dog food cost of £3.10/kilo. These numbers are meant to be a guide to understanding the potential feeding costs of a dog. Individual dogs may have different food requirements, based on factors including activity level, age, type of dog food (e.g., brand, dry, wet, raw dog food, etc.).
Cost to Feed a Dog per Year (assuming dog food cost of £3.10/kilo)
|Weight of Dog (kilos)||Low End||High End|
Finally, it is best to pop into your vet regularly for weight checks (the dog, not you!) to be sure your pet maintains a healthy weight.
How Much does Dog Walking and Boarding Cost?
Dog walkers typically charge between £8 and £20 per hour, with £10 per hour being the most common price for dog walking outside of London. Near London, you can expect to pay from £15 up to £20 per hour of dog walking. Often a lower price can be negotiated if you hire the dog walker on a regular basis.
Typically, overnight dog boarding costs between £20 - £45 per night, depending on location and type of facilities. Boarding your pet for an annual two week holiday would cost around £420 per year.
How Much does it Cost to Groom a Dog?
In most cases, getting your dog professionally groomed will cost around £40. As the price depends on many factors including size and breed of the dog and your location, the actual range you might pay is quite wide: anywhere from £20 to £75 (or more at some posh London doggie salons).
Many pet owners have their dogs groomed on a regular basis - at intervals between 4 weeks and 12 weeks. Dogs with lots of hair and non-shedding dogs (e.g., cockapoos, some terriers, sheepdogs, etc.) will need more frequent grooming, as they can become matted. Dogs with clean, short coats need grooming less often. Given the vast differences in individual circumstances, different pet owners will face different annual grooming bills, but you could easily pay between £100 and £400 per year in dog grooming costs.
If you're on a tight budget, it's not too difficult to groom your dog yourself. There are plenty of YouTube videos on trimming for different breeds. You'll just need a bathtub, some shampoo and scissors, and a bit of patience!
How much does it Cost to Clean Your Dog's Teeth?
We found that the average cost of a dog teeth cleaning in the UK is £233, but prices can range drastically from £149 up to £500 or more. It's always worth comparing prices with local veterinary practices before you book a cleaning, as prices can vary by 50% or more between different vets in the same area.
One-Off or Unexpected Costs of Owning a Dog
Many of the one-off costs associated with dog ownership fall in the first year, such as the initial cost to buy your dog, microchipping and neutering/spaying. Beyond the first year, unexpected vet bills for accidents and emergencies can be quite a shock – both in terms of worry for your beloved pet and the accompanying vet bill.
How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Dog?
Depending on the type of dog and where you get your dog, prices can vary significantly. On the high end, a purebred or popular cross puppy (e.g., Labrador, Vizsla, cockapoo, Cavachon, etc.) can easily cost £1,000 or more from a reputable breeder. If you are looking for a trained 2-year old dog, you may need to pay more than £2,000.
Those who want to adopt a rescue dog will pay a fraction of that price. For instance, Battersea Cats and Dogs charges £135 for dogs over six months and £165 for puppies under six months. Not only is the purchase cost significantly lower, but your new adopted pet will be microchipped, vaccinated and neutered/spayed for you – a further cost savings of hundreds of pounds.
How Much Does it Cost to Microchip a Dog?
The average cost to microchip a dog is £15—a small price to pay to help reunite you with a lost dog, and to avoid the £500 fine for dogs that are not microchipped.
How Much Does it Cost to Neuter or Spay a Dog?
The cost to neuter or spay your dog depends on a few factors, including size of dog, type of procedure and location. Typically, pet owners should expect to pay around £150 to neuter or £170 for a traditional (not keyhole) spay. For more information on the costs of spaying and neutering, including low-cost options, see our article on How Much Does it Cost to Neuter or Spay a Dog?
Unexpected Vet Bills
Finally, the potentially largest one-off costs come in the form of vet bills. Over the course of their lives, most pets will have a number of unexpected trips to the vet. Even relatively common grass seeds in paws or ear infections can result in hundreds of pounds worth of charges. More serious accidents or illnesses can cost thousands of pounds. You may want to consider pet insurance to help protect you and your pet—expect to pay anywhere from hundreds of pounds up to £1k or more per year for insurance, depending on your dog and the type of pet insurance plan you choose.