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The Cost of Raising a Dog

Updated: Oct 10, 2023



Raising a dog properly is expensive. It just is. You’re bringing another species into your home, it’s going to need the correct diet, training, equipment etc. Below is a breakdown of everything we spend/have spent on Mars, with a rough annual total at the end. Important to add: For a long time now my disabilities have affected my ability to work and earn so we are incredibly price-conscious with everything we buy. Every item we buy and recommend is the cheapest price point there is for the quality of the item necessary. (I.e there might be cheaper, but the quality is not good enough). For example, we got a £20 collar, when £3 collars exist because the £20 is well made and has features like an easily accessible handle that we need. Our list isn't expensive because we're rich and boujee, it's expensive because that's what dogs are.


Food

We raw feed and contrary to popular opinion, raw feeding is no more expensive than feeding a high quality kibble. Actually, in most instances, it can be cheaper. Raw food portion sizes are based off weight and this is where we lost out- Mars is huge. He needs a whopping 1kg of raw food per day. This currently equates to about £3.75 per day- and it’s so worth it. We also spend about £10 per month at the raw food shop buying extras like big meaty bone chews and raw fish.


Training

Obviously we are trainers so we didn’t need to hire one but let’s work out the cost for a puppy and a rescue. My 1:1 sessions are £40 and I’m going to base this off you following my advice to the letter without going rogue.


For a puppy I’d recommend the following sessions:

8 weeks, the day after you bring puppy home

16 weeks, to work on introducing the lead and outdoor expectations

6 months, to look at any problems that have popped up and work on how to finish raising the perfect adult dog


For a rescue I’d recommend the following sessions:

The day after you bring your rescue home, so you can settle them in with great training from the beginning

Two weeks after the initial session, so you can look at problems that may have arisen as they get more comfortable

A month in I would probably get them out on some kind of neutrality walk with dogs if you’re dealing with reactivity


So roughly £120 minimum, assuming there’s no severe issues that need lots of sessions, assuming you’re training with me and not someone who charges much more and assuming you follow my advice perfectly and don’t require more sessions because you thought I was being dramatic about letting them play with every dog they see and now they’ve become reactive.


Vet Bills

The ones you can’t claim on insurance for. Flea treatments, worming treatments, puppy vaccinations, neutering/spaying, titre tests or booster jabs etc. For example with Mars we’ve spent:

£75 – 1st and 2nd vaccines and microchipping

£35 – Painkillers for his teething

£40 – Urine analysis for UTI

£35 Antibiotics for UTI

£35 Cream for ear wound

£30 Fecal worm count test

£75 Titre test

£150 Neutering (he hasn’t been neutered yet but it will cost this)


We use a non-profit vet that doesn't charge an appointment fee but they're incredibly rare so add £35 minimum to each of those costs if you use a regular vet. We don’t use regular flea and worming, we regular test them for worms to ensure they’re clear and we treat fleas as and when they pop up. When they do pop up, we spend £15 on flea spray for the whole house and £30 for a 3-month supply of flea treatment.


Insurance

If you’ve been with us for a while you’ll know that Mars was recently diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy and I have been incredibly vocal about how having pet insurance helped us during this process. Mars is a healthy dog from two fully health-tested parents and we believed he would be fine. We got pet insurance for him because he’s not always the most surrounding-aware and we figured him injuring himself was an inevitability but when we faced a £2000 vet bill and monthly £200 test and medication bills, that insurance really saved us.


Our insurance for Mars is roughly around £40 a month, for a lifetime policy and for a £7000 limit. I say roughly because we have a 15% multi-pet discount and Loki and Cucumber are also on the policy. (They’re around £15 a month each). At the time of writing this, his policy hasn’t renewed since the epilepsy diagnosis and I am anticipating that it will.


Treats and Toys

We actually use Mars’ food for training most of the time but we do use JR Pet Products Pate for reward when we’re out on a walk and we usually will buy some chews from there while we’re at it. I buy lots of pate for work but for Mars’ personal use we probably spend around £15/month with them.


Toys are a tricky one. If given any kind of soft toy Mars will instantly destroy it and often start to consume bits of it- not safe. So we give him chews instead, seeing as that’s what he wants to do anyway. We have tug toys that we use during set play sessions only and balls that we take on walks although again, we have a lot of these things for our business anyway. For Mars’ personal use we spent £30 on tug toys and £2.50 per ball.


Pet Sitting

Like training, I’m going to use our pricing. Let’s say you book a 2 week summer holiday, and we pet-sit in your home at £45/night, that’s a £630 bill to factor in to your holiday costs. Add in a few of weekend breaks, maybe a wedding, at £100 each and you’re getting up to £1000 a year- and that’s assuming you opt for in-home sitting and not the much pricier board and train.


Miscellaneous

Then comes all the other bits and pieces that add up! I have a recommended item list that I send to all my clients and I will summarise the price costs here:

Flat Collar £20

Y-Front Harness £25

I.D Tag £10

1.5m Biothane Lead £19

2.5m Biothane Lead £30

Treat Pouch £3

Crate £60

Place Bed £20

Disposable Gloves £10

10m Longline £28

Nail file £30

First Aid Kit £30

Crash tested car crate £300


The total amount so far? Almost £4,500. And that doesn’t include if you need a regular dog walker, replacing broken leads and worn out toys, the extra freezer we needed to store raw food, the containers we bought for portioning raw food, the pill tray we got for Mars’ medication, his training tools like his prong and e-collar, the £10 fee to update microchip info when we moved house etc. Dogs are EXPENSIVE and too many people forget to factor all the hidden the costs in. And don’t even get me started on the mental cost that raising a dog can take on you!


This blog post is not a recommended item list – you can find all my product recommendations on the “Recommendations” highlight on our Instagram page.


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