Buying a pet

The real cost of owning a dog

Date updated: 20 09 2018

From topping up your doggy treat cupboard through to those all-important trips to the vet, we’ve done some digging to find out how much it costs to keep your dog happy, healthy and safe…

Initial purchase cost £500-750.

The amount you can expect to pay can vary quite a lot on breed type, but this figure is typical for many pedigree pups. You can find out more about this - including how to spot a reputable breeder - in our guide on how to buy a puppy.
Don’t forget about the possibility of rehoming! As well as giving a dog a second chance, rehoming can help you cut down on initial purchase costs.

Dog equipment and one-time-only costs

Dog bed £50. Blankets £20.
A good quality, machine-washable bed will typically last at least two to three years. When the filling loses its loft and when the blankets or covers become frayed, bobbled or torn, it’s time to replace.

Dog transporter and crate £50 each.
Especially for smaller dogs, you can opt for a crate which also doubles as a transporter - so you only need to buy one unit. Constructed from wire or plastic, these items should last forever.

Feeding bowls around £15 for two.
You’ll need one each for food and water. If you opt for stainless steel or aluminium instead of plastic, there’s less chance of the bowls becoming warped or cracked.

Collar and engraved tag £20.
Opt for an adjustable collar so you can resize it as your dog grows.

Microchipping transfer of keepership around £16
In most cases, your dog will have been chipped and registered before arrival at your home. You’ll need to make sure your details are logged with the microchipping service provider (transfer of keepership). There’s usually an admin charge for this.

Lead and outdoor clothing £20 each
Depending on breed, you might need to graduate up to a longer lead once your pup gets bigger. The need for an outdoor jacket (and boots) also depends on breed type; it’s a necessity for short-haired breeds when exercising them in the colder months.

Toys around £50.
This should be enough for a healthy stash of chewies, puzzle toys, frisbees and other bits and pieces to keep your puppy's mind and body active. Rips, cracks, warping and sharp edges are all signs that a toy needs to be replaced.

Dog walking £5 to £9 per walk.
Will family or work commitments prevent you from giving your dog the exercise they need each day. Fees for this service can vary hugely, but these rates are typical throughout the UK.

Average cost of dog food per year: £370.

This is the average across all breeds and ages of dog. That said, the diet of a Chihuahua pup obviously looks very different to that of a fully-grown German Shepherd. Your vet will advise you on how much and what type of food you should be feeding your dog based on breed type, age and any specific medical requirements.

Average cost of dog grooming per year: £240.

Again, this is a broad average - and depends on breed type. For a Cocker Spaniel, many owners opt for regular professional grooming as the easiest way of keeping the coat looking great. Some dogs (e.g. the Westie) need stripping a couple of times a year. With short-haired breeds (e.g. Greyhounds and French Bulldogs), coat maintenance is easy and doesn’t need a professional.

Tip: the breed guides in our All Things Pet section give you the full lowdown on grooming and maintenance for a range of different dogs!
Routine medical fees

These are the typical costs for essential vet treatments…

  • Vaccinations £110-£150. This includes initial vaccinations and subsequent boosters. You can learn more about the importance of vaccinations in our guide.
  • Neutering £120.
  • Worming £50 (per single treatment, including vet consultation).
  • Flea/tick treatment £60 (per single treatment, including vet consultation).

Insurance costs: around £300 per year.

All of the items above have something in common. They’re predictable. You know they are going to crop up - so you can budget accordingly! But not all expenses are predictable - and the big financial headache of dog ownership involves dealing with the unexpected.

Let’s say your dog suffers a paw injury and needs to be patched up. Did you know for instance, that once scans, tests, consultations and treatment are factored in, the cost of treating even a relatively simple broken bone can easily be close to £1,000?

This is where insurance comes in. It can make it easier to access exactly the treatment your dog needs, right when they need it, and can reduce the chances of being hit with a huge vets bill.