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How Much it Costs to Own a Dog + Money-saving Tips

How Much It Costs to Own a Dog | Vanillapup

Bringing up a dog is costly. It’s crucial to set aside a budget for monthly expenses and also rainy days. Here’s a guide on how much it costs to own a dog + money-saving tips!

Following my post on choosing a dog, mama wanted me to share with all of you how expensive it is to bring me up. Just to be clear, I’m worth every dollar she spends ;D But yes, I don’t see why I can’t let the world know how much it takes to maintain a super dog like me. Brace your tails!

First Few Months

These were the things mama had to spend on when she first got me:

  • Food, supplements, and treats
  • Medical checkup and vaccinations ($100 onwards)
  • Dog licensing ($50 – $80. I was already microchipped, so she saved on that)
  • Sterilisation (approx. $200 – $600)
  • First grooming session
  • Food and water bowls
  • Collar and leash
  • Baby gates for potty training
  • Dog bed
  • Dog carrier
  • Toiletries, such as pee pans, pee pads and shampoo
  • Grooming tools, such as scissors and brushes
  • Toys
  • Basic training workshop ($500 onwards for group classes)

Mama spent more than $2,000 in my first two months home! You can ask her how she managed to do that.


Monthly Expenses

  • Food & treats
    • Ranges from $60 – $200 a month for a dog my size (6.5kg). I’m currently on a raw diet.
  • Supplements 
    • $20 – $100 a month
  • Prevention medication
  • Full Grooming: $60 – $150 / session for a dog my size
  • Pee pads: $22.50 for 100 pieces, approx. $12 per month
  • Fun stuff, such as toys, clothes, and accessories: approx. $30 per month
  • AVA dog licensing: $15 per year for sterilised dogs or dogs below five months old. It’s $90 per year for unsterilised dogs and $180 the 4th dog onwards. From March 2018, dog owners can apply for a 2 to 3-year licence at a cheaper fee + 10% rebate if payment is made via GIRO, online, or AXS stations.
  • Pet health insurance: $350 onwards

Total per month: Approx. $300 per month

Vet Visits

  • Consultation: $50 onwards per session depending on the vet’s seniority
  • Vaccinations/Titer test: Approx. $50 to $60 each time
  • Routine medical checkup and blood tests: $200 onwards
  • Surgery: Approx. $1,000+. It cost mama $763.60 for my luxating patella surgery
  • Total cost per visit (for minor conditions such as allergies, diarrhea, vomiting): $100 – $600

I’m considered a small dog in most situations, so that helps reduce costs. Can you imagine how much more it would cost to raise a bigger dog? Owning a dog is not cheap, especially if it gets sick. You have to be ready for that from the first day you bring your pup home.

Money-saving Tips

  • Shop online: There’s a reason why mama spends so much time in front of her silver machine. She always tells me that everything is cheaper online (see her favourite online shops)
  • Don’t buy from the clinic just because your vet prescribed it: Things are usually more expensive at the clinic. Do a quick price comparison on your phone before giving your money away! My supplement mix was selling at $65 at the clinic while mama can get it at $35 online
  • Join online communities: Online communities are great! You can get valuable advice that would help you save money, and ask fellow mamas and papas to share samples or donate things they don’t need to you
  • Purchase pet insurance: If you are not ready for unexpected big medical bills, you should consider buying health insurance for your dog
  • Join a membership that saves you money: Look out for memberships that offer discounts and subsidies on pet expenses. With a small annual fee, you may enjoy significant savings

If you have any tips to help mama out, please share so she can use the money she saves to buy more toys for me instead!

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Latte is the happy Westie behind Vanillapup, a website for dog lovers. Discover latest products and services, dog-friendly hangouts, helpful tips and advice, and exclusive perks.


  1. Marils

    December 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Hello! May i know where you purchase your meat? I’m feeding a combination of venison,lamb and pork to my mini schnauzer and it goes up to $100+ a month!

    • vanillapup

      December 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Hi! Mama buys the meat from Foodie Market Place. The frozen section’s price is really reasonable! They don’t sell venison though 🙂

  2. Belle

    December 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Ok! I got it! Thanks a lot for your reply Latte (:

  3. Belle

    December 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Latte!

    Thanks for the prompt reply! Ok, I will probably get that for my dog, Bungee (: However, Bungee is currently on 50% Kibbles and 50% Primal. Would you still advise me to feed him calcium supplement? Or is it only necessary for dogs on homemade meals?

    Thanks in advance! (:

    • vanillapup

      December 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Oh then I don’t think he needs either supplement actually. Unless your vet recommends it! Commercial food should already be balanced and complete. Feeding too much supplements may not be good for Bungee too 🙂

  4. Belle

    December 5, 2014 at 12:26 am

    Hello Latte!

    Just happened to chance upon your blog! I notice that you are on Life extension dog mix and natural pet calcium powder. How are the reviews for these two supplements? I intend to get the dog mix but not sure if the natural pet calcium powder is needed to add on with it. Would love to hear your review!

    Thank you!

    • vanillapup

      December 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Belle!

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂 Life extension dog mix has been working well for me. Mama likes the fact that she only needs to feed me a tiny scoop of it daily. She doesn’t want to feed me more supplements than real food! As for calcium, mama has switched to grounded egg shells. About half a teaspoon is sufficient for a small dog. You can read more about it online! Calcium is very important to add if you are feeding homemade meals to balance out the high phosphorous content.

  5. cottonthemaltese

    August 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Wow $2000 in two months? 😛 I thought that amount in 6 months was bad enough hahaha! Lucky pup you are, Latte! Kudos to your mum for writing all these down, I shudder to recall how much I’ve spent on our smelly girl hehe. Btw, for the life extension dog mix, you could try iherb instead it’s approx USD15 for 100g too. it’s out of stock now but they restock pretty quick! $4 for shipping for up to 8lbs if I’m not wrong (receive within 1-2 weeks) so if you combine with other stuff it’s more worth it! Oh and what’s the de-wormer for? 😀

    • vanillapup

      August 23, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      Hehe I am very high maintenance! Thanks for the tip, mama will go check it out. The dewormer is used to prevent worms such as tapeworm but mama just realised that the interceptor heart worm protection I just started using does the job too!

  6. meisi

    August 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Sarah, you can try to get interceptors. It is a heartguard and de-wormer. $77 for 6 months.

    • vanillapup

      August 23, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      I am already using it! Didn’t realise that interceptor is 2 in 1. I won’t need to buy more dewormer tablets anymore 🙂

  7. somewhitecookie

    August 18, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Totally agree! They are so expensive to maintain

    • vanillapup

      August 18, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Yes! Mama keeps telling herself at least I am cheaper than raising a kid. Poor mama and papa… You are so diligent, mama gave up after the first few months!

      • somewhitecookie

        August 18, 2014 at 10:09 am

        Yes! And it’s much more enjoyable raising dogs than kids. Bleah.

        I’m still in the first few months of recording! Maybe I’ll give up after awhile too

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