Although the cost of raising a dog can vary greatly, Raising Spot calculates that the first year of ownership costs anywhere between $660 and $5,270, with the annual cost tapering off to $360 to $2,520 afterwards. If a dog lives 12 years, Raising Spot estimates that adopting and caring for a dog its entire life costs $4,620 to $32,990, barring medical emergencies.
Raising Spot's calculations seem steep, but the expenses associated with dog ownership are not limited to merely food and toys. Pet Education points out that dogs must not only be fed and groomed regularly, but require vaccines and check-ups. Owners who plan on traveling or vacationing without the family pet must find a boarding service, while people who work long hours need to find dog walkers to exercise their pets.
These estimates also consider the initial purchase price; puppies bought from an ethical breeder range anywhere between $500 to $1000. Alternatively, cheaper puppies or free dogs from shelters may come with undetected health problems that can cost thousands of dollars in the future. Dog ownership is also an emotional investment, with Raising Spot cautioning that caring for an elderly or dying dog is a draining and sometimes traumatic experience.