It costs $20,000 to own a dog

We are tracking a trend at Breedfreak  Рpet owners that are freaked out at how much it costs to own a dog.

During our research for the book, we had dozens of readers beta test the Breedfreak Cost of Dog Ownership Calculator and after the panic subsided and we were able to calm them down, we noticed a trend. No matter what kind of dog they had, they estimated that it would cost between $15-20,000 to own their dog over the lifetime of their pet. This was an unexpected result because we expected that mutts would require less vet services so they would be cheaper to own, small dogs would require less food and care because they were smaller, and large dogs, because they do not live as long, would also be relatively inexpensive to own. All of our predictions were wrong. What we found was:

  • Even though mutts are free to acquire and may require less veterinary care, they live longer so the total cost of ownership between a mutt and a purebred dog is about the same.
  • Large breed dogs, even though they do not live as long, are expensive to maintain and vet bills (when something does go wrong) are higher.
  • Small dogs, even though they do not cost as much to maintain, live longer AND owners are prone to doting on them and buying them all sorts of expensive treats, collars, etc. Small dogs also seem prone to health issues and higher vet bills.
  • The purchase price of a pure bred dog is essentially insignificant over the life of the pet.
  • If a dog had an expensive youth (congenital problems) pet owners were less likely to pay for expensive end of life care (such as cancer chemotherapy)

There you have it. Don’t shoot the messenger.

Freak Out. Get the book.