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The Costs of Owning A Dog in 2023

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

UPDATED 12 October 2023

Poppy Labrador x Golden Retriever, Finn and Luna Samoyed x Golden Retrievers

Owning a dog - what is the approximate financial cost?

I wrote this initial post in 2017 and have now updated it to reflect 2021 and this latest iteration reflects 2023. First you need to get a dog - this can be costly in itself. If you decide to buy a dog from an Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) Breeder - that is a registered breeder - you will get a pure bred dog and one where its lineage and genetics are monitored.

Expect to pay around $3000.00 to $4000.00 Then there are the dogs that are 'designer dogs' ie pomskys, beagliers, groodles, schnoodles etc - these are also around $3000.00 each (updated to reflect 2021 prices now which is around $6000 or more) but do not come with genetic testing etc.

You could get a dog from somewhere like the RSPCA - or other shelters/rescues.

As a guide, the RSPCA Adoption fees are as follows: Included in their fees is desexing, microchipping, vaccinations, health and behaviour checked

  • Dogs - $400

  • Puppy (under 6 months) - $440

  • Senior dog (10yrs+) No fee

Also worthy to note: If you get a dog "free to good home" it won't be free really. You will have to register it, maybe desex it, vaccinate it, pay to train it etc.

Poppy Labrador x Golden Retriever

Do you know how much it costs to feed your dog per year?

Or how much it costs to feed, upkeep and actually own a dog?

I didn't. Really. Regarding their food, I just bought it whenever I needed and doled it out to them on a daily basis (lucky hey?). It was only when I was looking after another dog who ate the same food as mine that I worked it out as it was easier for me to prepare for three instead of her owner preparing it and me storing it.

**Disclaimer - my dogs are fed what I consider, a premium diet. It is, of course, MUCH cheaper to feed a dog of their size (around 30kg each) on supermarket canned and dry food but the health benefits of a RAW diet they eat far outweigh the unhealthy fillers, colours, preservatives that they contain.

So here's what I worked out: I buy the 15kg bag of Vets All Natural Weightloss Mix at $210.00 per bag

Each meal, each dog gets around 250g of this mix, then the same amount of protein - either kangaroo mince, pork, veal, chicken, beef or lamb. If I work it out on the kangaroo - I buy human grade - it is $12 per kilo.

So, a 15 kilo bag = 15,000 grams. Divide that by 250grams and that equals 60 meals of Vets All Natural so for the Weightloss mix - it costs $3.50 per day per dog. (I am soooo good at maths - not!)

For the meat component it costs $3.00 per day. The total cost of the meal is around $6.50 per day per dog ($13.00 for 2 dogs.) That equates to $45.50 a dog each week (2 dogs - $91.00 a week); $182.00 per month (2 dogs - $364.00) ; So per YEAR it costs $2184.00 for one dog (2 dogs - $4368.00).

Plus I get them a big bag of kibble - Meals for Mutts - 20kg - $153.00 but I only feed this to them on the weekends so two meals a week so I won't add it in to my totals because I have allowed for 7 meals above. (Great way to skew the results hey?) Add other items such as Turkey Necks, Chicken Frames, Goat Horns, Lamb Ribs, Sardines, Eggs and treats - well it would cost in excess of $800.00 per year to feed one dog that weighs approximately 30 kilos. (2 dogs - $1600)

That's a lot.

Isn't it?

Then there are other ongoing costs of course - for example Vet costs - ie vaccinations, flea prevention. So a vet consultation is around $88. Let's work on 4 visits a year = $352.00 for one dog (2 dogs - $704)

According to Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance, vaccinations can cost the following: C3 vaccination around $100 - $150, C5 is around 100 - $150 and C7 can be $200. So, let's work on a total of $300 per dog (2 dogs - $600.00)

All in one Flea/Worming treatment for 6 months is around $97.00 (per dog) - I only use these products seasonally (read here - as needed) and in fact, I don't use an all-in-one but that is another story for another day. $194 for 2 Dogs)

Council Registration for a desexed dog (Bayside Rates) is $84.39 (we pay the most here in this council that any other in Victoria!) so by 2 that is $168.78

There are items that you need for a dog but don't purchase regularly like a bed (unless you have a destructo dog then extra bad luck for you!) - approximately $150, 2 bowls - $40, Collar and Lead - $30, Brushes/Combs - $30, Toys - $50, Winter Coat - $70

Sub total: $370.00 - let's make it an even $400.00

We also can talk a little about Pet Insurance here - I went to the Bow Wow Meow website and I got a quote for my dog. One without standard consultations and one that includes accident and illness but not routine care - $712.02 per annum with an excess of $200.00

The other is $828.82, excess of $200.00 but covers routine visits as well.

I won't go into the ins and outs of what is and isn't covered as that is not the point of this article but lets add $750.00 to the total of non-standard extras (however I HAVE my two 13 1/2 year old dogs insured - one costs over $1,592 a year and the other costs $2299. (Started off at just over $650 each in 2017!!) I have now dropped the rebate I get back from insurance to 60% per dog. Still don't pay excess.

Non Standard Extras:

Maybe you do Doggy Day Care once or twice a week? $50 per day. Let's say you just do it once a week - there are 52 weeks in the year (some weeks you may do it more and some none) so let's work on 52 weeks at $50 a week - $2,600.00

Grooming - allowing for your dog to be groomed every 6 weeks at $80 a groom - that is $640 for one dogs



Food - Meals: $2184.00

Food - Extras: $800.00

Vaccinations/Standard Vet Visits: $652.00

Flea/Worming All in One - $97 (6months)

Council Registration Fees - $84.39

Standard Extras - $400.00

(not adding the $750 pet insurance here as the vet costs without insurance doubles up)

Sub total yearly costs - $4217.00 - this is basically the minimum amount you pay per year per dog. Then there are extras:

Doggy Day Care (can substitute dog walker here too) - $2600.00 that's 1 day a week for a year at $50 per day

Grooming - $120 x 6 visits a year per dog - $720 Training - $85.00 (if you sign up and go to Moorabbin Dog Obedience Club)

Seat Belt Harness - $25.00

Surf Dog Robe - they need it I promise!! - $90.00

Water Bottle and Travel Bowl - $30.00

Dog Sitter (if you go away on a 10 holiday without them) - $55 per day = $550

and you know there will be a lot more extras - that cute bow tie, paying to get photos taken (mandatory in my opinion!), santa hat, reindeer ears, jumper and more!! Much more!

Sub total - $3,500.00

Far out - do we really need to allow around $7,717.00 in the first year NOT including the initial price? Desexing not included in this either. Oh my goodness.....

What are your thoughts on this? I have given myself a coronary working this all out!!!

Yes, I know - the love they give us is priceless but woah!

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