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How Much Money Should You Have Saved for a Puppy?

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

It is a given fact that you can’t build a skyscraper without blueprints. Yes, you also need permits and there's a lot of hoopla and hullabaloo as well. But those don’t help this metaphor. While, yes, you do need blueprints to build a skyscraper, the same could be said when purchasing a pup. You’ll need to have a plan.



Money might not buy happiness, but it certainly can buy you and your new puppy a bit of security. Some of us don’t know what all goes into this financial plan. You don’t want to be stuck holding the leash when a problem arises that you didn’t arrange for fiscally.


Let’s review what you need to save before carrying your newest canine over your threshold and into your abode.


How Much Do Dogs Cost?


We’ll be honest with you. There’s no clear answer to this question. But, we can clarify a little.


When we say, “How much does a dog cost?” We’re asking how much a dog costs to purchase. The reason why there isn’t a singular answer is because of your specific tastes. What type of dog are you looking for?


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Shelter animals will always be less expensive. They can cost as little as $50 for pals with a little age under their collars. Somewhere between $100 and $200 for larger breeds. Smaller pups don’t necessarily equate to less money. They can cost as much as $300 or more.


Pure-bred dogs, if you're fortunate enough to find one, could run a hundred or so more. Puppies are sought after since they may be easier to train and assimilate into your home. Most will run as much as a pure-bred regardless of their lineage.


When you get a dog from a shelter it could include any of a host of different things. Medically speaking, this could include the dog being spayed or neutered, any examinations that were needed as well as any and all vaccinations. That could save anywhere from $50 to $500 in total.


Your local Humane Society, ASPCA or other shelters could offer some food, crates, leashes or any number of the other things you need to start your and your pup’s journey together. These items will differ from shelter to shelter and state to state, however.


Some breeders include these things as well, which is a great segue to our next point.


How much do pure-bred dogs cost? That'll require a bit more research once you decide which breed might fit into your family best. You can find a Chihuahua or a Manchester Terrier for as little as $500 to $1,000. Most designer dogs and pure-breds fall between $3,000 and $5,000. But you can find super fancy dogs such as the Tibetan Mastiff or the Samoyed; those can run anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.


We hope you don’t need a new car any time soon after you purchase a Chow Chow. Just saying…


These are just the costs involved to find the perfect pup and ensure you're ready to bring them home. There are a good many more initial costs to consider.


Before we go any further, let’s make something clear. While we might touch money used while in the planning stages of bringing the dog into your home, this only includes what you need before.


We’ll cover how much cost might be involved with your dog on a monthly basis as well as annually.


Saving up for the Monthly Cost of Dog food


From the moment your dog walks in the door, one thing they’ll need at any age is food. But how much do you need to have in the cupboard before they get there?


These costs will vary by the size of the dog that you purchase or adopt. 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.


Stored properly, you could purchase dry food about a month, possibly two months, ahead of bringing your puppy home. Wet food, even longer. Be aware of any and all expiration or “best by” dates. This also depends on what space you have available to store the food.


While there are several things to consider when preparing how much and what kinds of foods to buy, you should budget about three months' worth in total. (Prepare yourself. We’ll be quoting this same concept of three months again in a moment.)



Word to the wise. 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 which doesn’t break the bank.


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We recommend that you not choose food for your dog based on what’s the cheapest, but on what fits your dog's needs. The better the diet for your dog, the less time spent at the veterinarian. That could save you money in the long run.


A Home Within a Home?


You might have acres and acres of fenced-in land where your dog could roam for what seems like forever. You never worry about them coming home because they couldn’t get away that far.


Most of us don’t have that luxury. This is why a crate is a necessity.


Puppy crates can run from about $50 to $250 generally speaking. But, again, we’ll remind you that this will vary wildly based on the size of your new dog.


We also advise that you buy a toy or two that they can destroy early on so that they’re not ripping through all of your furniture.


Between leashes, collars, tags, etc you’ll want to plan around $100 and $300 total.


Should You Pay to Have Your Puppy Trained?


No two dogs are created equal. The same goes for their intelligence. It’s true that some dogs respond better to training than others.


On the low end of the spectrum, puppy preschools can run as little as $50 an hour. Some will be less based on a block of classes. Specialized training could be required.


Most training groups are broken out by age and sometimes breed. You may spend thousands of dollars to have a perfectly trained pup that will be diligent in how they respond to you.


Know what you’re getting into with your specific breed and budget accordingly.


What About Saving Money for Dog Emergencies?


Plan for the worst, while hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the worst is always a possibility.


As far as veterinary costs are concerned, puppies will be about $150 per visit with a few visits needed over the first year of their lives.


Older dogs could require those same visits for other health-related issues that you might not expect. Emergencies can run about $1,000 on average, if there are any surgeries needed you could be looking at $5,000 or more.


Before you bring your canine companion home, tuck away a few dollars a month in a puppy emergency fund. The money saved each month will build up pretty quickly. The relief you feel at having that when the bottom falls out will be priceless.


There is another option, however. Pet insurance may save you a lot of money in the long run. Each plan covers a wide array of services. Some of these facets, your dog might not need for its specific breed. So, like any insurance, review all plans to confirm that there is a cost-to-use benefit.


You don’t want to lose money on the deal while watching after your loving friend.


Are Doodles More Expensive?


Let’s not bury the lead. Doodles are more expensive. But we think that they’re worth it. You’re sharing your life, love and space with whomever you decide to cohabitate with. Why not choose the best?


We’ve broken down the costs of why these incredible dogs run a little bit more than your average right here. We’ll walk you through why they’re worth it.



Don’t lie to yourself. Dogs, like children, are expensive. That goes for time and money.


Be honest with yourself when deciding if you have the funds to purchase a puppy. Have three months saved of any and all of your dog’s expenses and you should be well prepared. They'll give you all of their unconditional love for years and years. You need to be willing to support them financially.


Jenna and the JLDD Team

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