How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog in the UK?


Taking on a new dog is a huge emotional, physical, and financial commitment that continues until the day they take their last breath. Regardless of if you can get your hands on a free dog or one from a breeder, the cost doesn’t stop there. After buying their dog food, bowls, blankets, crate, toys, and treats, you’ll need to take them for their vaccinations as well as their physical and dental checkup. You may pay for their healthcare out of your pocket or pay a monthly pet insurance premium to ensure that they’re covered when you’re least prepared for an emergency.

We can’t say for sure how much it’ll cost you to own a dog, but we’re here to help you prepare for as many of those unexpected expenses as possible. The prices we’ve listed below are an estimate as costs differ from dog to dog and where you live within the UK.

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Bringing Home a New Dog: One-Time Costs

You’re probably a lot more aware of how expensive owning a dog can be if you’ve already had one before. For first-time owners, there’s a lot to uncover—but feel rest assured knowing that you don’t need to buy the top-tier gear for your dog to be happy.

When bringing a dog home, you’ll need to have some of the basics, which should last a long time. These are called one-time costs and include a bed, collar, ID tag, leash, bowls, crate, etc.

beagle puppy licking woman's nose
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Free

It can be exciting when a friend or family member has had a litter of puppies unexpectedly and wants to give you one for free. Or perhaps you’ve rescued a dog, and there is no sign of them having an owner to go back home to. You’ll have saved a lot of money by welcoming in a new dog for free, but you’ll still have a lot of costs to cover.

Of course, a stray dog will need to be examined by a vet to ensure they’re healthy. A young puppy will need to get their vaccinations, and will likely need to be spayed or neutered.

Adoption

The average dog adoption fee in the UK is around $300, but the rates differ depending on the shelter, the age of the dog, the type of breed, and many other factors.

Adopting a dog typically isn’t free because they need to make back the money that the dog has cost them while in their care. The dog you’ve adopted likely has been to the vet for vaccinations and been spayed or neutered while at the shelter. The cost of vet care differs throughout the UK, with it being cheaper in some areas. The adoption donation often will be higher or lower depending on where you adopt your dog.

Breeder

If you thought adopting a dog was pricey, you’re going to be surprised to find out that the average price of a purebred puppy from a breeder in the UK is around $1,500, and you’re not likely to find any puppies under $500. Of course, purebred puppies can be a lot more expensive than the average cost, depending on their bloodline, popularity, and availability.

As much as people would like to save money and go with the cheapest breeders they can find, it’s important to choose a reputable breeder to know your puppy’s history, their parent’s health background, guidance on how to best care for their breed, and to take home a well-socialized pup.

irish setter puppies
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Initial Setup and Supplies

Before you bring your new pup home, you’ve got to puppy-proof your home or apartment for their own safety and the protection of your belongings. Of course, this also costs money, but puppies chew, and if you don’t puppy-proof their area, they may bite into an electrical wire or a poisonous plant or substance.

If you’re welcoming home your first ever puppy and don’t have some of the basics you’d already have if you’ve had a dog before, you’re going to end up paying more because you’ll have a lot more to buy.

Remember, you don’t have to buy top-tier toys, bowls, etc., and you can save a bit of money by buying more affordable options. But you also don’t want to buy the cheapest bed and have to buy a new one in a month because it’s fallen apart. Determine what should be of higher quality and what things can be bought cheaply.

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List of Dog Care Supplies and Costs

ID Tag and Collar: $15–$40
Spay/Neuter: $215–$430
X-Ray Cost: $140–$450
Ultrasound Cost: $250–$500
Microchip: $20–$40
Teeth Cleaning: $182–$610
Bed: $35–$60
Nail Clipper (optional): $12–$19
Brush (optional): $11–$18
Crate: $60–$85+
Leash: $10–$18
Toys: $6–$15+
Carrier: $23–$60+
Food and Water Bowls: $5–$22

How Much Does a Dog Cost Per Month?

Cocker Spaniel Puppies
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Health Care

How much you spend on your dog solely depends on you. Although you can’t avoid most costs, you can choose to keep them low or splurge on your dog. You could pay for a basic health care plan or a comprehensive one, you could buy standard dog food or freeze-dried, or you could groom your dog yourself or take them to a groomer. You need to determine which options work best for you, your dog, and your lifestyle.

Food

The cost of dog food often depends on whether your dog needs a specialized diet or not. If they have digestive or skin problems or any other health condition, their food is going to cost much more than standard dog food. If your dog is highly active or goes hunting with you, they’ll need a high fat, high protein diet to fuel them, which also costs more.

You also need to determine whether you want your dog to eat a raw diet, raw alternative diet, or standard dog food. As long as the food is of high quality and is nutritionally balanced and complete, you can decide on which type to feed them. However, freeze-dried and similar types of diets do cost more.

Grooming

If you know how to safely trim your dog’s nails and decide to wash your pooch yourself, you may pay less than $10 per month as you’d just need to regularly buy new dog shampoo. You’d already have bought a brush and clippers as part of your one-time supplies and won’t need to buy new ones.

However, if you don’t feel confident trimming your dog’s nails or don’t have the time or facilities for washing them yourself, you’ll have to take them to a groomer. This is also necessary if you’re allergic to dog dander and don’t want to have an allergic attack. Groomers cost anywhere between $25 and $110 per month, depending on the size of your dog and where you live. But the average cost is $52.

dog grooming
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Medications and Vet Visits

You’re not likely to have to take your dog in for a vet visit every month, but there might be months where it will be necessary. Staying on top of their vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, teeth cleaning, checkups, etc., are factors you need to consider as these expenses may fall on different months throughout the year.

Of course, emergencies are also a reality that can leave you with a hefty bill. If your dog isn’t on pet insurance, it’s important to put money aside each month in case of emergencies. If your dog has health problems, you’re going to have to pay for medication each month, and if they need to see their vet every month, you’re going to pay around $50 to $70 for the consultation alone.

Pet Insurance

As you’ve just read, medical care for your dog without pet insurance is very expensive. If you don’t have the extra cash to pay for their life-saving surgery or treatment, you should consider pet insurance. Of course, nothing is free, and you will have to pay a monthly or annual fee, but it’s more affordable than paying cash for your dog’s treatment, especially when an unexpected emergency occurs.

You can pay for an accident-only plan, which is affordable and covers your dog if they’re hurt in an accident. Or you can pay for a pricier plan that offers higher coverage and benefits.

Environment Maintenance

Thankfully, dogs don’t require much when it comes to their environmental maintenance. Puppies may need pee pads until they’re fully house trained, and you may need poop bags for when you take them out for a walk, but both items are affordable. You’ll also need a poop scoop, but you’ll cover that in your one-time expenses list and probably won’t need to buy another one.

Although not as necessary, you may also want to purchase a urine repellent spray/smell neutralizing spray to prevent your dog from urinating on your carpets.

Pee Pads: $19/month
Poop Bags: $6/month
Dog Cleaning Spray: $10/month
small dog sitting on grass with poop bag
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Entertainment

Dogs don’t need much to be happy. If they’ve got a couple of toys, puzzles, and people to play with, they’ll be entertained for hours. You can also take them on play dates, to dog parks, for a run on the beach, a casual walk, or hike.

Not everyone has the time to take their dog for a walk in the week due to long hours at work—or at least not every day. If there are some days in the week when you have to leave for work early and only get back late, you can consider paying a dog walker to walk your dog. The cheapest rate for a walk is around $7, and the highest is around $30. If you pay an average rate once a week per month, you’ll pay around $55 per month.

Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Dog

The monthly cost of owning a dog may seem very high but remember that not all of the costs will apply to you. For example, you may not have to pay for any vet bills thanks to your pet insurance. You may groom and walk your dog yourself, and they may do well on unspecialized dog food.

For others, you may have to cover some vet bills as well as pet insurance. You may be allergic to dog dander and have to take them to a groomer every month, and they may have sensitivities and require specialized food and frequent visits to the vet. These monthly costs will be much higher than the first description.

Where you live in the UK is another factor that will influence your monthly costs.

Additional Costs to Factor In

Many higher pet insurance plans cover boarding, emergencies, third-party liabilities, and behavioral training. Although such benefits generally come with a high premium, you’ll have peace of mind and won’t have to pay large amounts when the need arises.

If you don’t have these benefits, you’ll need to pay for a pet sitter when you travel for work or leisure. You’ll need to save money each month for potential emergencies, which might not cover the treatment when your dog suddenly gets injured or sick.

If your dog needs behavioral training, you’ll need to cover those classes in full and cover any damage that your untrained dog may cause to people, other pets, or someone else’s belongings. Remember that these costs are in addition to your dog’s other monthly expenses.

australian shepherd dog in training
Image Credit: Melounix, Shutterstock

Owning a Dog on a Budget

After coming to the realization of how expensive owning a dog can be, you may feel despondent and feel as though you’ll never be able to own a dog. But there are ways to keep the cost low and still give your dog everything they need.

Firstly, you can adopt a dog instead of purchasing one from a breeder. Not only will you be saving a life, but you’ll be saving a lot of money. Secondly, don’t settle with the first price you’re given for pet insurance, vet consultations, grooming fees, etc., and phone around to compare prices to choose the lowest one.

Thirdly, if you’re happy with your dog sleeping on your bed or couch, you can save money on beds. You also don’t need to buy them loads of toys because they’ll only end up playing with a few.

You’ll save plenty of money if you walk and groom your dog yourself but try and avoid cheap dog food. Instead, purchase the best dog food you can afford, but make sure you feed them the right amount as many people give their dogs far too much, which is unhealthy and costly.

You can also consider getting a small breed over a large one as they tend to cost less.

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Conclusion

There are a few costs you won’t be able to skimp on when owning a dog. Firstly, you’re probably going to either adopt a dog or purchase one from a breeder. That cost can be pretty high, depending on what breed you get and where you get your dog from. You’ll need to get them microchipped and spayed or neutered soon after, as well as purchase all of their one-time supplies. Your cost will be lower if you’ve already had a dog, but if you’re a first-time dog owner, you’re likely to pay upwards of $140.

Monthly costs vary depending on where you live in the UK, your dog’s breed, and the type of services/supplies you choose. Although pet insurance premiums can be pricey, the coverage will save you from many unexpected and additional costs. Although you could save a lot of money on cheap dog food, premium food is more nutritious for your dog, so skimp on something less important and put that extra money towards good food.


Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock



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