Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Owning a dog is a big commitment and it’s smart to plan ahead in regards to your time, finances, etc. While the cost of raising a puppy can vary based on breed, size, etc. we attempt to give a broad overview of the costs you can expect in the first year.
We’ll assume a medium sized dog for the sake of this article. Smaller dogs are typically less expensive to maintain as they eat less food, need a smaller crate, etc. Larger dogs will be a bit more expensive in the long run. So you can adjust the averages slightly in either direction if you are adopting a particularly small or particularly large breed dog!
Doodles are tad high maintenance, which we also factor in.
The Initial Cost of the Puppy: This cost can vary greatly! If you are purchasing your pup from a breeder you are likely looking at around $1,500-$6,000, depending on the breed. This is not the area to attempt to cut costs. Reputable dog breeders charge more for their puppies as they put more money into upfront costs of taking care of parent dogs and raising the puppies than less reliable breeders.
Genetic health testing and joint testing is just one example of something that drives up the cost of a puppy but is of critical importance.
For example, if you purchase a puppy from a breeder who has not done any health testing of their parent dogs, you may save a few hundred dollars in upfront costs, but could be looking at several thousand dollars worth of treatment costs should your pup develop hip dysplasia or other conditions that health/joint testing aims to prevent. (Learn why it's not wrong to buy a puppy from a breeder here.)
Furthermore, reputable breeders sell their pups with a health guarantee that typically covers any genetic illnesses or defects and lasts for 1-2 years.
Puppy Food and Supplies: Check out our "New Puppy Owner Checklist" blog to see the absolute essentials to have before bringing your new pup home. We estimate the cost of the basic supplies for your new family member to cost around $250 initially plus an ongoing monthly cost of around $40-60/month for your dog’s food. This includes a collar, leash, kennel, bed, food/water bowls, a starter bag of food, and a large amount of toys!
We highly recommend having a huge variety of toys for your new family member. Similar to toddlers, your pup will grow bored with the same toys every day. Having a variety of types and textures of toys will help keep your pup occupied and encourage him to direct his chewing on the right things!
Puppy Cost Saving Tip: We find many of our pups have a special affinity for stuffed animals. The cost of a brand new dog stuffed animal from a pet store may leave you in tears once your puppy rips it to shreds. We find purchasing kids stuffed animals from thrift stores is a wonderfully cost effective way to provide your puppy with an endless supply of new stuffed friends! Just be sure to avoid any that have easy parts to chew off and swallow such as plastic eyes or nose.
Cost of Initial Vet Appointment: An initial office visit for your pup will typically be around $50. Reputable breeders typically require an initial vet visit within the first week to validate the pup’s health guarantee. Even if this is not the case for you and your new buddy, you can expect that your pup will need an initial vet visit early on for vaccines as well as to establish a relationship with your veterinarian should there be an emergent health situation with your dog.
Cost of Pet Insurance: Average of $45/month - This is an optional cost, but one that we as breeders recommend. Even if you have purchased a dog from a reputable breeder and he/she is covered by the health guarantee for genetic conditions, there are many things a silly puppy can get into that would negatively impact your wallet from eating a pair of socks to getting bitten by a venomous snake. Pet insurance ensures that you will not be blindsided by any enormous medical costs in the first year of puppy ownership!
Vaccines and Other Basic Vet Care Prices: The core vaccines as well as routine vet care for the first year (typically including a fecal sample and heartworm test) will typically cost around $300. Your pup should come with his/her first round of vaccines, but unless you are adopting a pup older than 8-10 weeks old, you can expect that he/she will need a couple more rounds of vaccines to be considered fully vaccinated against the main canine diseases.
Cost to Spay/Neuter Your Puppy: Unless you have purchased breeding rights from your breeder and plan to breed your new pup, you will want your new buddy to be spayed or neutered sometime in the first year. This cost can vary between $40-200 depending on size and gender of your pup. Again similar to vaccines, you can often find low cost spay and neuter clinics in your area to save a little bit of money for this procedure.
Cost of Monthly Preventatives: It is important to keep your pup on monthly flea/tick and heartworm preventatives. This is another cost that varies but will average around $35-60 per month depending on the product and size of your pup.
Cost of Dog Grooming: This is big one for doodle owners! Most doodle pups will get their first groom around 4 months old and will need to continue to be groomed every 6-8 weeks after that. You can expect to pay an average of $40-100 based on the size of your pup which totals roughly $500-600 per year.
Puppy Cost Saving Tips:
Brush your pup regularly! Doodles will mat easily and need more frequent grooming if they are not combed out regularly. Those who do take the extra time to comb their dog’s fur weekly or even daily can often go longer in between haircuts.
Some of our puppy parents opt to self-groom. The initial cost of a good pair of nail clippers, hair clippers, and extra replacement blade will cost you around $200, but you will quickly save this money within the first year of owning your pup if you groom him/her yourself.
Puppy Training: Some owners plan ahead for training. Others with past dog experience hope that they can train their pup on their own. While training is typically an optional cost, it is a good idea to plan for it in your budget in case you do need some expertise when it comes to training your pup in the first year.
The cost of training varies greatly depending on what type of program you do- group classes are roughly $50 per class while private training can be $100-200 per session. Various in-home training programs or board and train programs can cost several thousand dollars. So we recommend budgeting at least $1000-3000 for thorough basic training for your new pup.
All the love in the world: Priceless. In conclusion, owning a puppy is not cheap, and it is important to be prepared. However, dogs repay us in ways that we cannot even begin to describe with their years of friendship, emotional support, and protection. And it doesn't take long for a puppy to bond with you.
Many articles site the health benefits of owning a dog ranging from increased physical activity, lower blood pressure, and improved mental health. Many owners would assert that the benefits of owning a dog are simply invaluable.
Total expected cost for the first year of dog ownership: $3,000-5,000 plus upfront cost of adoption.
Jenna and the JLDD Team