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The Cost of Owning a Dog: What to Budget For

Blog Home Nov 15, 2021

The cost of owning a dog

Getting a new dog is a huge deal and as exciting as it can be, it’s a decision which needs a lot of consideration.

The PDSA estimates that the cost of owning a dog could end up around £30,000 over their lifetime. So it goes without saying that adding a new furry family member is a massive commitment! It’s a good idea to do some financial planning beforehand to make sure you’re able to support your pooch, in the short term and long term.

There are some areas where you can make savings. For example, as long as your new best friend has a loving forever home, plenty of exercise, a healthy diet, lots of mental stimulation, and a safe, cosy place to rest, they probably won’t care if you spent £20 or £200 on their lead.

If you’re thinking of adopting or buying a dog, here’s a round-up of some of the things that you’ll need to budget for.

Getting started: the initial cost of owning a dog

Purchase or adoption fee

One-off adoption fees range from around £135 to £250. The cost includes spaying or neutering, microchipping, initial vaccinations, and up-to-date flea and worm treatment

If you’re planning on buying a puppy, it’s worth doing your research as there are sadly lots of puppy mills posing as reputable breeders. Look for a breeder that is a member of the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme and check out The Puppy Contract which was developed by the Animal Welfare Foundation and the RSPCA to help people buy and breed dogs responsibly.

You’ll usually have to pay at least £400 for a puppy. However, some pedigree pups and designer dog breeds can cost up to £3000 per pooch (and sometimes even more)!

Neutering & spaying

According to Blue Cross, spaying your dog costs from around £130 to £365 and castrations from around £110 to £300.

Several animal charities offer low-cost neutering for those who are struggling financially so contact some in your area to find out more.


Microchipping costs about £15 to £20. It’s required by law and you can be fined £500 if it isn’t done!

Rehoming centres microchip dogs for you and dog breeders are also responsible for ensuring puppies are microchipped before selling them.

Animal charities including Blue Cross and Dogs Trust microchip dogs for free!

They may be tiny, but a microchip can be worth its weight in gold if your pup goes missing.


Vaccinations protect against some potentially fatal diseases, like parvovirus, canine distemper, leptospirosis and infectious canine hepatitis.

Costs vary depending on the vet practice, but you can usually expect to pay around £60 to £70 for the first and second set of vaccinations – far less than treatment for diseases they protect against.

Annual boosters tend to cost around £35 to £40.

For those who meet certain means-tested benefits eligibility criteria, low-cost dog vaccinations may be available from the Blue Cross, RSPCA and PDSA charities. 

Doggy gear

Some costs are trickier to average out. These include leads or harnesses, collars, toys and bedding. It’s definitely possible to provide your new best friend with everything they need to be happy without going nuts, but if you want them to live in the lap of luxury then designer harnesses and memory foam beds will set you back a pretty penny.

Some of these items may also need to be replaced now and then, and could add an extra hundred or two onto your annual bill.

Collar: £5-£50

Lead or harness: £5-£70

Dog bedding: £10-£100

Crate: £20-£200

Winter or waterproof coat: £10-£100

Poo bags: £5-£15

Pee pads: £5-£15

Grooming gear (shampoo, brushes, nail scissors): £5-£50

Ongoing care: the day-to-day costs of having a dog

Food & treats

Dog food is likely to be your biggest expense and according to the Money Advice Service can cost between £200 to £400 a year, depending on the size of your dog. Feeding your dog a balanced diet packed with high quality nutrition will go a long way to keeping them healthy and happy.

Worm & flea treatments

Fleas and worms can wreak havoc on your pupper’s health so keeping the little blighters at bay is a priority.

Itch’s double-action, spot-on flea treatment destroys fleas at every stage of their lifecycle, as well as ticks and lice. Treatments cost between £7 and £8.50 depending on the size of your pooch.

Worming tablets which kill common intestinal worms and prevent newly hatched larvae from growing and multiplying are also available as an add-on product to your Itch flea subscription for £2.95 to £9.90.

Treatments are fully personalised to meet your pet’s precise needs and are delivered through your letterbox when it’s time to do the deed, so you’ll never forget to treat again! 

Dog experts

They say it takes a village, so once in a while you might need the services of a dog expert or two to help train or preen your pooch, or possibly look after them when you can’t be around. 

Prices for these services vary significantly and are usually dependent on the size of your dog, the area you live in, and time of year.

Puppy training classes (per session): £15-£80

Dog walking (per walk): £10-£25

Dog boarding (per night): £20-£60

Dog grooming: £20-£80

Routine vet visits

Ideally, your dog should have a complete physical check-up at the vet at least once a year – more frequently when they’re very young or over the age of 7. 

Annual check-ups cost around £40 to £80. And if your pooch needs medicine, that’s another expense to factor in. 

A professional dog teeth cleaning (scale and polish) ranges from £149 to over £500 – the older and larger your dog is the pricier it gets. So invest in some doggy toothpaste and get into the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth every day.

Pet insurance

Vet fees can be eye-wateringly expensive and while you don’t want to think about anything bad happening to your buddy, unfortunately our pets aren’t invincible. Some medical treatments run into the thousands, so it’s a fantastic idea to get some insurance. 

To make life super simple, Itch offers one lifetime pet insurance policy with everything your furry friend may need. You can choose your vet fee cover to match your needs and you’ll have 24/7, unlimited access to a wide range of vet specialists. All on hand, exactly when you need them.

That’s one less thing to worry about!