I know most of us would love a cuddly canine companion in our home. In fact, did you know that 3.5 million households in Canada have a dog? That’s 35 percent of all families!
The truth is that, with dog ownership, there are usually lots more to think about than daily walks and feeding schedules. Dogs can be quite expensive.
How expensive? Your yearly cost might range somewhere from $1,700 to $4,000. This is in addition to any upfront costs that you might have to buy your dog and get it set up in its new home, which can cost somewhere between $1,660 and $6,905.
In today’s post, we’re going to break down the cost to own a dog in Canada into three categories: initial costs, monthly costs, and vet costs.
I’m also going to discuss the adoption of dogs, how much it costs and whether I think you should go this route.
Let’s get started.
1. How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Dog in Canada?
Depending on the breed, a dog from a local pet store or a breeder can cost you somewhere between $600 and $5,000. The additional one-off costs associated with getting a dog, such as vaccinations, licenses, and accessories, can be another $2,000, potentially bringing your total to $7,000.
My research shows that costs will vary with the need of each dog (the bigger the dog, the bigger the costs!). Either way, expect your first month as a pet owner to be the most expensive by a mile. Here is a breakdown of potential costs in the first month of getting yourself a new furry friend.
- Cost of dog: $600-$5,000
- Vaccinations: $400-$600
- Spay or neutering: $250-$500
- Pet license: $25
- Collar and leash: $25-$70
- Bed and crate: $100-$250
- Toys: $10-$80
- Food and water bowls: $10-$20
- Flea/tick/heartworm prevention: $100-$150
- Microchip: $50-$70
- Poop bags: $5
- Shampoo and brush: $25
- Potty pads (puppies only): $10-25
- Dental chews: $5-15
- Stain and odour removers: $5-$20
- Pet insurance: $40-$50/month
Total initial costs of getting a dog: $1,660-$6,905
Do keep in mind that puppies are usually much more expensive than grown dogs. If you’re planning things on a budget, it might be useful to consider getting a grown one instead – though I completely see the temptation of getting a puppy!
1.1 Adoption Costs of a Dog in Canada
Adopting a dog in Canada (instead of buying it from a breeder or pet store) will cost you less than $500. Thus, adoption can significantly bring down the initial costs of getting a dog.
You may have heard the phrase “adopt, don’t shop” before. I’m personally all for this sentiment. Many dogs out there already need a home, and if you can potentially save thousands of dollars in the meantime, why not?
By adopting a pet, you are also steering away from potentially supporting unethical breeding procedures that might occur in puppy mills/breeders. It’s a triple-win.
2. What is the Monthly Cost of Owning a Dog in Canada?
So you’ve weathered your first month as a new dog-owner. What will your expenses look like on a monthly basis going forward, now that most of your hefty one-off costs are out of the way?
On average, the monthly cost of owning a dog in Canada is somewhere between $100 and $250. However, this can rise significantly based on your choices.
Like I mentioned earlier, having puppies or large dogs (large in size, not necessarily age) tend to cost more. Whether it’s their food, vet fees or the necessity to buy things more often, the costs will add up relatively quickly for these types of dogs.
Other than that, monthly expenses for dogs will look relatively standard across the board unless your pet has specific health issues they are dealing with (if that is the case, I highly recommend pet insurance!).
The breakdown below highlights annual expenses for dog ownership rather than monthly. This is because you won’t have all of the expenses below each month (such as grooming and buying certain products that last more than a month).
In the end, we’ll take the average for the year to see how much it will cost you each month.
- Food*: $420-$1500
- Pet insurance: $480-$600
- Poop bags: $50
- Grooming: $150-$250
- Flea/tick/heartworm protection: $150-$300
- Dog walker**: $100-$200
Total (annual): $1350-$2900
Average monthly costs: $112-$240
Food is a highly, highly variable expense based on the size and eating habits of your dog, as well as how fancy you want to go. Just like humans, it’s possible for our pets to eat fresh, organic, high-end food, which will cost you a pretty penny.
If you’re planning on splurging and treating your dog, expect this cost to go up as high as $2,500 per year.
Dog walking costs are also highly variable depending on your needs. You may also need to consider dog boarding if you are going away or travel expenses if your dog comes along with you on your journeys!
3. Vet Costs for Dog in Canada
The last thing to take into consideration as a dog owner in Canada is vet costs.
On average, the annual routine vet cost for a dog in Canada will be somewhere between $150-$500.
Beyond the routine vet visit, however, you should take into consideration teeth cleaning, obedience training, and emergency vet bills as well. These can cost up to an additional $500 each year.
Are Dogs Expensive to Own?
Yes, dogs are expensive to own.
From our calculation above, you saw that having a dog in Canada will cost you an average of $1,700 to $3,900 per year. And that is in addition to the initial costs of getting a dog, which can be anywhere from $1,660-$6,905!
Owning a dog in Ontario will cost a similar amount to owning a dog anywhere else in Canada. However, much like other provinces, Ontarians must pay an annual pet license fee for each of their dogs. The costs are broken down below. Note that the license must be renewed online each year.
- Dog (Spayed or neutered): $25.00/year (regular fee), $12.50/year (senior citizen rate)
- Dog (Not spayed or neutered): $60.00/year (regular fee), $30.00/year (senior citizen rate)
In conclusion, dogs are indeed quite expensive to have. Once they’re in our home, they’re a part of our family and will have expenses just like the rest of us.
Many friends I know will say that having a dog is worth every penny. Depending on the person, I’m sure many can agree.