Updated: Jun 29
So you’ve been brave enough to invite a puppy into your home. Good for you! We‘ll think you’ll be very happy with your life choices. That being said, we think you’ll also have experiences that you might not be prepared for.
We’re not talking about the couch that they may or may not destroy. We’re thinking about what you need each month to keep your puppy happy and healthy every thirty or so days.
The question we’re here to answer is: What’s the average cost of a puppy month to month? While there are a number of variables, we’ll stick to the basics of what you’ll need financially.
Monthly Puppy Costs Per Breed / Size Will Vary
It may be obvious to some, but breed and size are two variables that greatly affect the monthly cost of your furry friend. What are these specifics concerning your puppy’s size and parentage?
Ancestry matters. While you may soon find out that a dog from sought-after or pure bloodlines can be expensive to purchase or adopt, more importantly, they can have specific health needs that could cost a pretty penny.
Pugs, for example, might have breathing issues. Their short snouts are genetically predisposed to these problems. As much research as you can collect on your breed or puppy of choice, the better.
Your dog could be the size of a tank. It could take a tank load of food to feed them at every meal. Smaller dogs? They could require less food but have an unbelievable amount of energy. You could save on the kibble but necessitate more things to hold their attention. Prep yourself a stack of bills to cover the cost of toys to make your pup happy.
And then, there is the hair. A sharp-dressed man might be nice. A well-groomed dog could mean the difference between a healthy dog and one that’s struggling. Your Chihuahua won’t require quite as many haircuts. But your Afghan Hound is a completely different story.
See! Breed and size matter. (FYI we’ve also written recently about what you’ll need to have saved before you bring your puppy pal home.)
Food, Glorious Food!
One expense that can’t be escaped? Food! Unlike you, your puppy can’t sneak into the fridge in the middle of the night.
You have choices at the grocery store when you make that trip. You compare and purchase the best foods based on which suits your nutritional needs as well as doesn’t break the bank. We recommend that you not choose food for your dog based on what’s the cheapest, but on what fits your dog's specific needs.
The better the diet for your dog, the less time spent at the veterinarian. That could save you money in the long run.
Per meal, smaller to medium-sized dogs can require as much as ⅓ to 2 cups of food. Larger dogs (over a hundred pounds) could eat as much as 5 cups at every single meal. While this translates to as little as $20 a month for the tiniest of tiny dogs, this could be about $60 to $80 for much larger dogs.
Let’s not forget those who have special dietary needs. Those modified therapeutic diets could translate to hundreds of dollars. Your veterinarian can walk you through what these unique puppies will require and what options you’ll have moving forward.
Go with your gut and fill your dog's bowl with the best you can.
Money for Trips to the Vet
We’ll split up this topic into two brief sections. Preventative health and general care.
An initial visit to your veterinarian will help you construct a health care plan and allow them to advise what your pup's current state of health is. You can’t forget about those first vaccinations…
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has outlined what vaccines your puppy may require in their first year. Their list is as follows:
This list can seem a bit intimidating. Please note that these can vary from breed to breed. The above is a great place to start when researching what’s best for your puppy. Your family vet will be able to advise on any or all of these that are needed. You want puppy-specific care to be just that: specific.
While some of these vaccines will fall under either their initial budget and others will fall under the purview of your annual puppy budget, some dogs and vaccines will require them to be administered in rounds.
These all can range from as little as $100 but might be even more than $500, or higher. That’s not even discussing the costs of the initial visit. Some can all be wrapped up in a bow with a single, no-frills cost.
Emergencies will happen. The very definition literally means to “arise or bring to light.” While we never want to see anything bad happen to our loveable bundles, things will happen. How we deal with these is the measure of our preparedness. These costs would be classified as a general case.
Related articles about puppy expenses:
A surprise visit to the vet can run anywhere from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars. Putting a little emergency savings away each month probably won’t cover these costs, but they’ll certainly help.
Another tactic available is pet insurance. Some don’t like to plan. That’s okay. Pet insurance can take some of the weight off of your shoulders today and some of the sting out of the bill for issues that might pop up.
On average, these insurances cost about $25 to $50 a month. Some can be as little as $10, though they might not cover what you need them to. Other more expensive “Cadillac” puppy plans could cost $100 or more a month.
Whatever you choose, planning for future emergencies - even if we don’t want to consider it - is always for the best.
Monthly Grooming Costs
We probably could have classified this under preventative healthcare, but, let's be honest, who doesn’t like to look as good as we feel?
How much hair does your dog have and how easily does it get matted and tangled? How big of a bathtub will your puppy require? Considering some breeds grow to their full size in a matter of six months, this can fluctuate from month one to month six.
Home is where the grooming starts. Some dogs won’t require much more than the basic maintenance that won’t cost you much. Larger dogs with tougher and more hair require far more maintenance and could cost at least $100 a month.
Don’t forget their teeth! Dental-related issues such as periodontal disease or even broken teeth are more common than most know. Dental chews can help in the short term (these are about $10 a month). Long-term, you’ll need a more inclusive plan.
Some groomers will include this in the cost of their services. Others won't, which means more work for their paw-rents. Some insurances will have this folded in but others will have this available as an add-on.
Other Possible Dog and Puppy Expenses
Time is as limited as it is important. After you’ve crate-trained your furry friend, a pet sitter could be a necessity in the near future -- as you want to limit your time away when possible.
For those that don’t feel comfortable leaving their playful pooch alone for the majority of the day, a dog walker might be a needed luxury. In both of these scenarios, you’ll expand your puppy's world beyond the scope of just your family. You’re more likely to have faster success at having your four-legged friend socialized with other people and dogs.
The hourly rate for these two services will vary significantly based on population and location.
We can never express the incredible importance of proper training. There are doggy daycares that will fold this training into their day-to-day activities, which may be a solution. There is, however, no limit to the number of ways to have your puppy properly trained.
If you’re willing to take on the bulk of the work, you can send them to a few basic classes and then take over from there. Just make sure you’re ready and willing to dedicate the time to your canine. These classes can run from about $50 to $150 an hour.
Other teaching methods promise to have your puppy trained and delivered. Those can cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for the overall product. We, of course, have a wonderful Puppy Preschool here at JLDD. We’ll let it speak for itself right here.
The first and the last year of your dog’s life are the most expensive that you’ll spend with them. In the early stages, follow our guidelines above and everyone will be healthy and happy while not breaking the bank.
Jenna and the JLDD Team