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How much does a dog cost? A guide to the average cost of owning a dog

We know getting a dog is a big emotional investment, but how much do they really cost? Check out our guide to budgeting for a pup.

5 min read

Dog lovers know all about the upsides of canines—the cuddles, the companionship, the general cuteness. But one of the major downsides can be the hefty price tag that often accompanies dog ownership. Before you run out and bring home a new best friend, it’s important to understand the financial responsibility of owning a pet. It’ll require more than just covering food and the odd squeaky toy here and there. From grooming, to training, to veterinary care, the costs of owning a dog can really add up. 

So before you take the leap, read our guide on what to expect when owning a dog so that you can budget and save for your new addition to the family.

How much does it cost to buy a dog?

First up, you need to find your ideal pooch. If you’re not sure what breed is best for you, consider your living situation, surrounding area, how much time you can realistically dedicate to looking after your dog. Some dogs—particularly smaller dogs like pugs or ciahuahas—can be happy spending most of the day inside. Other breeds like huskies or dalmatians will require longer walks every day. Once you’ve decided on the right breed for you, you need to decide where you will get it. Your basic options are: 

  • A breeder
  • A shelter
  • A pet store

Generally, a breeder will be the priciest option. Depending on the breed, the costs range from €500 to €5000 for a puppy. Keep in mind that a purebred dog will always cost more than a mix-breed one—for instance, the incredibly rare, pure-bred Siberian Samoyed can cost a staggering €11,500.

Adopting from a shelter will cost you considerably less—roughly €300—plus you’ll be saving a pet in need. There are some drawbacks to adoption, though. Rescue dogs sometimes have behavioral issues, and these can require more costly dog training fees. Or, your pup might turn out to have some unexpected health problems as a result of his earlier care.

You might be able to pick up your dog from a pet store depending on where you live, but many countries have banned these stores from selling dogs. These laws went into effect to discourage illegal breeding and general abuse taking place there. If you decide to go with the pet store option, make sure you do some research on where you’re buying from. 

No matter where you decide to get your furry friend, there are certain necessities you’ll have to provide. Consider these one-off initial expenses that you’re bound to incur: 

  • Vaccinations—€24–€95
  • Microchip—€40–€50
  • Supplies (e.g., bowl, crate, leashes, toys, tags, etc.)—€50–€150
  • Initial supplies of dog food and treats—€30–€40
  • Neutering/spaying—€50–€390 for male puppies; €100–€560 for female puppies

All in all, you should expect to spend between €220–€800 in the first few weeks of owning a dog, depending on where you live and the vet you choose. The good news is that once these one-time costs are covered, the total monthly expenses will go down. It’s been estimated that the first year with a new dog can cost twice the typical annual expense of subsequent years. Once you know that, you can plan and budget more accurately for the future.

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Annual expenses for your dog

After those initial expenses, there are other recurring costs associated with having a pet. Get ready to build those into your budget for the rest of your dog’s life expectancy.

How much does a dog cost per year? It’s easy to estimate annual expenses of dog ownership when we break down the ongoing monthly costs. Generally, you’ll need the following:

  • Dog insurance—€15–€50 per month, depending on the breed
  • Food and treats—€40–€80 depending on the size of your dog, food brand, etc. 
  • Training—€11–20 per hour, mostly in the first year
  • Routine vet care—typically free with insurance or €50–€60 per visit
  • Toys and supplies—€10–€12
  • Teeth care and dental chews—€10–€15
  • Poop bags—€3–€10

The bottom line is, the monthly cost of owning a dog will depend on breed, size, and age. Different breeds can have dramatically different vet bills. If you choose to go with a breed that historically experiences major health problems, such as British bulldogs, then you should get ready for those extra costs. Planning ahead and getting your doggo insured should help you cover any unexpected bills that may come up.

Hidden extras of dog ownership 

From grooming, to travelling, to dog walking, several extra expenses hay occur now and then. It’s easy to overlook them, but to keep your furry friend safe, happy, and cared for, you should factor them into your annual budget. 

  • Grooming—€13–€60 per session
  • Dog sitter—from €8 per day
  • Pet boarding—from €10 per night 
  • Travel—a valid EU pet passport costs €70
  • Unexpected costs—some pet health expenses may fall outside of routine checkup territory—think allergies, injuries, ear, and dental care. It’s best to set aside a separate emergency fund to cover these unexpected costs when they arise. 

3 tips to save on dog costs  

As you've probably realized by now, owning a dog is a significant investment, both emotionally and financially. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t look for ways to save a little money along the way. 

With these three wallet-friendly tips for dog owners, you can keep your bank account intact without sacrificing your pup’s health or happiness.

1. Groom at home 

Instead of going to the groomer, you could try washing your dog and clipping her nails at home. If that’s not an option, try to opt for hair styles that are easier to maintain and don’t require monthly visits.

2. DIY toys 

Super-deluxe-heavy-duty toys are great, but you can’t be buying them every month. With a little bit of creativity, you can create your own versions of your pup’s favorite toys. For instance, you could stuff an old sock with a scrunched up water bottle to create some sensory fun for your curious canine.

3. Home-baked dog treats 

Making your own dog treats is a great saving tip for dog owners. There are dozens of simple dog treat recipes online to get you started. Plus, you’ll never have to wonder about the ingredients that go into these doggy snacks. 

Armed with these saving tips and general budgeting advice, you’ll be well prepared for the adventure of pooch ownership. 

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Save for your new best friend with N26

Whether you own a pet or are thinking of getting one, unexpected costs can derail even the best laid plans. However, saving and budgeting can help you prepare — and we make it easy with N26 Spaces! These handy sub-accounts sit right next to your main account and help you save towards any goal — or create a solid rainy-day fund. And with smart budgeting tools like Income Sorter or Rules, N26 makes saving money as easy as walking your dog!


How much does it cost to board a dog?

The cost of boarding a dog varies across Europe, but you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of €15 to €40 per night. There are a number of different options, including luxury dog hotels or staying in people’s homes. Make sure you research the establishment, as you often get what you pay for.

How much does it cost to microchip a dog?

The procedure may cost around €40–€70, depending on the vet practice you choose. If you’re looking for an international chip, this will cost more. Microchips are really important in case your dog runs off during a walk or someone leaves the front door open.

How much does it cost to adopt a dog?

The adoption fee will vary based on the shelter policy, whether the dog is vaccinated and sterilized, as well as its age. On average, expect to pay €80–€300, especially if it’s already received medical care.

How much does it cost to neuter a dog?

The cost to spay or neuter your dog can be pretty high. For instance, in France, it ranges from €200 to €800 per procedure, depending on the region where the vet is practicing. It is also between 40–70% more to neuter a female dog, as it is a more complicated surgery.

How much does it cost to fly a dog?

If you want your pet to travel in the hold of the plane, it will cost around €120 per flight for flights within Europe and about $300 if you’re flying to or from North America. Make sure you have the right documentation for travel or your pooch could be held in quarantine on arrival.

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