How Much It Cost To Have a Dog For a Year

A Personal Finance Blogger Tracks Her Annual Pet Budget

By Desirae Odjick

Preparing for pet ownership is a big investment, of both time and money, and is not a decision to be taken lightly. We’ve often discussed how to determine the right breed for your lifestyle, the benefits of adoption, and how to dog-proof your home, but what about the financial preparation? Guest contributor Desirae Odjick, a personal finance blogger of Half Banked, based in Ottawa, Canada, has shared with us her monthly budget during her first year of pet ownership. Read below as she outlines the costs of adding adult rescue dog, Jacob to her life.

To this day, one of my most popular blog posts – at least according to my Google Analytics – is the one where I broke down how much it cost to have a dog every month. So of course, when I hit the one-year mark of tracking my spending, I couldn’t wait to take a look and see if my calculations, which were based on six months of data, held up over the year.

Before I dig into the details, let’s get one thing straight: I would have literally no idea how much it cost to have a dog for a year if I hadn’t been tracking my spending.

The First Step: Tracking My Spending

On a whim last year (and ok, in an attempt to come up with things to write about on the blog) I started tracking my spending as part of a monthly challenge. I kicked things off in September 2015 with a really simple spreadsheet to track my spending, my income, and my savings. It also served as a really great way to see how far I was from hitting my 50% savings goal in real life.

As of this September 1st, 2016, I’ve officially got spreadsheets detailing my spending on everything for an entire year, since I kept the challenge going well past that first month. So I did what any personal finance nerd would do, and tallied up my spending on different things to share with you.

Hopefully, this series will give you useful information about how much it really costs to do things like own a used car or have a dog for an entire year – instead of just best-guesses and feelings.

Now, Onto Dog-Related Business

So ok, dogs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, which is fantastic – but let’s be real, that also impacts how much they cost. To give you some context on my particular dog, who I can say without any bias is the best dog, here are his trading-card stats.

  • He’s an adult rescue dog we got from the pound about two years ago, and he’s what we affectionately call a labra-mutt. Decidedly not a purebred designer puppy.
  • He’s rumored to be about 4.5 years old, based on the information the pound had about him.
  • He weighs 75 pounds when I’ve been good about his diet, 85 pounds when I have been… uh… lax with the treats.

Those factors (size, age and breed) will account for a good chunk of the variation in how much a dog costs to own for a year. Another good chunk of the cost variation comes down to how much self-control you have about buying your sweet puppy all the dog toys.

Let’s just say I’m working on that one.

Desirae Odjick | Half Banked

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