Pets can be expensive. I would hate to calculate how much I spend on mine! But it is sensible to budget for your pet’s daily needs and the unexpected. Our guest blogger Alex Khan has done just that, calculating the cost of owning a dog and you might find the results interesting… (Let us know what you spend on your dog – if you know!)

(The following costs are in Aussie dollars A$)

The Cost of Having and Caring for a Dog

Dog ownership is an extremely rewarding experience. It’s a big commitment, too. Not only must you be dedicated, you must be prepared also for the cost of having a dog. There’s the ongoing costs you’d expect, such as food. There may also be medical costs that hit you hard in pocket out of the blue. These unexpected costs are impossible to predict. The Australian Veterinary Association’s “Family Pooch Index” is nevertheless extremely helpful for those thinking of getting a dog. It puts the average cost of a dog throughout its lifetime to be approximately $25,000.

Take a look at our helpful cost breakdown for owning a pooch, below.

The cost of having and caring for a dog

Initial costs

These are costs you only have to pay for once

  • Purchase of the animal itself. This can cost between $0 and $25,000, with the average amount spent being $592.70.
  • A microchip costs $60-80 and should be purchased prior to the sale.
  • A lifetime council registration varies in cost from state to state. In NSW, you’ll need $49 if the animal is desexed, and $182 if not. This must be paid for by the time the animal is six months old.

Preventative healthcare

Throughout a dog’s lifetime, there are certain medical costs that are unavoidable, even if you pooch is in perfect health.

  • A general health check with a vet every six months will set you back around $65 per visit.
  • Vaccinations are required for puppies at 8,12 and 16 weeks. Thereafter, your pooch will likely need one either every year, or every three years, dependant on breed and risk factors. Jabs usually cost between $70 and $105.
  • Worming is essential and costs about $7 per month.
  • Flea prevention costs around $10 per month.

The cost of having and caring for a dog

Essential items

Factor in the below items, as these are essential for dog owners to buy.

  • A dog bed, the cost of which can vary widely, from about $20 to $200.
  • A collar, lead and tag, averaging at about $50.
  • Food and water bowls, which should cost no more than $20.
  • A good brush, which again, should cost no more than $20.


  • If your dog requires professional grooming, expect to pay between $40 to $100 each time.
  • Dog shampoo and conditioner will set you back about $30 per year.


Food costs can vary dependant on the brand and of course, the size of your four legged friend. Average costs are as follows:

  • Basic dietary requirements on average are $1213 per year.
  • Expect to spend about $100 per year on treats.
  • For dental chews add another $100 per year to your budget.

The cost of having and caring for a dog


Vet Bills

How much you spend with your vet can vary widely, depending on the health of your dog, and your luck. The Australian Veterinary Association estimates a yearly average spend to sit at $450, including worming and flea medication. See below for the average cost of treating common ailments and conditions.

  • Desexing costs about $200 for a male and $350 for a female, but may be as much as $500. This varies dependant on dog size.
  • Dental treatment is between $400 and $900 depending on the severity of the issue.
  • Consultation for allergies will cost between $150 and $200.
  • Treating vomiting or diarrhoea varies hugely depending its severity and cause – between $200 and $3000.
  • An ear infection costs around $90 to get cleared up.
  • Expect to fork out between $1500-$5000 for knee surgery.

The costs of caring for a dog


About Alex Khan

Tips written by Alex Khan and the team at Spoilt Rotten Dogs. Alex Khan is a pet lover, environmentalist, and a marketer. In spite of a toxic schedule he finds time to write poetry and take film photographs to document the things that interest him.

The cost of having and caring for a dog by Spoilt Rotten dogs

One comment

  1. The Suncorp Bank Cost of Pets Report puts these numbers even higher! They estimate that it now costs $5,000 per year to own a dog, with healthcare expenses as the largest component of these expenses.

    While this breakdown of costs is really helpful, it would be great to start a discussion on how you can save a bit on caring for your pooch. A few tips to kick off the convo:

    1. Stay on top of preventative care! It not only will help your pooch stay healthy and happy, it can help avoid costlier problems later.
    2. Get pet insurance before you need it. It can be easy to procrastinate on insurance when your pup is young and healthy, but wait too long and you risk missing out on coverage when you need it most. Insurance plans are notorious for excluding pre-existing conditions, and very few options are available once your dog turns 8 years old.
    3. Shop around for better prices on medications. Buying them at the vet is certainly convenient, but you can probably reap substantial savings by shopping around at your local pet store and comparing prices online.

    What are your strategies for saving on pet care costs without sacrifice?

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