Advice for Dog Owners: Costs, Responsibilities, & Pet Insurance Options

Getting a dog is a big deal – this cuddly ball of fur will quickly become a beloved member of the family. Before you make the leap to dog ownership, though, make sure you’ve thoroughly planned for the financial responsibilities of giving your pet a good home. You’ll need to make sure you have enough money to provide your pet with food, health care, training if needed, and insurance.  

pet insurance

Responsibilities of a Dog Owner

Dogs need plenty of love, but animals can’t survive on only that. They’ll need much more, and as their owner, it’s your job to supply everything they need to grow and thrive.

You may be surprised at how much your dog eats and how much top-quality dog food can cost. You’ll also need to consider grooming, and if you have a puppy or an untrained dog, you might want to have them trained. If you don’t have the money to hire a trainer, you can do it yourself by reading articles and being willing to put the time and effort into it.

Your dog will have to be walked – they need plenty of exercise. You must have your pet on a sturdy leash in public places and take supplies with you to clean up after them when they need to relieve themselves. 

You might also want to give your dog some toys. That can provide a lot of entertainment for both you and your dog. 

The Basic Costs of Owning a Dog

Wondering how much pet ownership will cost you? It’s more than simply paying for their food, so you’re wise to consider money ahead of time. It shows you’re willing to put in the effort to be a responsible pet owner.

Some of the things you’ll have to pay for may include dog walking, collars, leashes, beds, food, treats, medical care, etc.

Let’s look at four of the basic costs in more detail:

  • Medical care preventatives: This varies quite a bit depending upon your dog’s health and conditions. It’s important for dog owners to recognize the differences in policy coverage restrictions before selecting the best pet insurance. The average starting premiums for dog insurance coverage is roughly $32.
  • Food: This is going to depend upon how energetic your dog is, the quality of food, and what size your dog is. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $60 per month for one dog. Food cost can be as much as $100 per month if they require certain diets.
  • Grooming: Dog grooming will vary in price depending upon your location, the scope of the grooming, and the size of the dog. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $90 per session. 
  • Dog walking: If you can’t do it yourself, you’ll have to hire someone. Depending upon where you live, expect to pay $10 to $30 dollars for a half hour of walking. A daily walk could add up to $70 to $210 on your budget per month. 

Here’s a good infographic on this topic…

Source: InfographicsShowcase.com

Pet Insurance Costs and Coverages

Pet insurance is optional, but with the rising cost of veterinary care, it may pay off big time. Not only will It help protect your dog, but it will also guard your wallet. 

Basic Costs of Pet Insurance

Pet insurance works primarily like your own healthcare plan. You’ll pay a monthly premium, which will cover certain things under the plan. For moderate coverage, you should expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $60 a month. To get the best plan available, for certain breeds, you may pay as much as $100 per month.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

Usually, things like annual wellness checks, screenings, and preventatives are included, but it will depend on your plan and the company you buy insurance through. 

pet insurance

Types of Pet Insurance

You’ll commonly see companies offering different types of pet insurance plans. Some common ones are:

  • Wellness plans: Wellness plans cover things like annual exams, vaccinations, heartworm prevention, flea control, and more. 
  • Accident and illness: You might see this one referred to as a comprehensive plan because it’s your most complete and expensive option. It covers accidents, like bone breaks, and illness like infections or cancer. Though it won’t cover pre-existing conditions.
  • Accident only: This coverage won’t cover illnesses but will cover accidents such as bites from other dogs, accidental poisoning, or injuries from car accidents. 

Bottom Line

Before becoming a pet owner, you should take a look at your budget and time. While you don’t need to spoil your dog, you should provide them with their basic needs and properly budget for pet ownership. 


About the Author

ThatHelpfulDad.com is pleased to feature the work of ANDY KEARNS in this guest post. Here’s a bit more about him…

Andy Kearns is a Content Associate for LendEDU and works to produce personal finance content to help educate consumers across the globe. When he’s not writing, you can find Andy cheering on the Lakers, or somewhere on a beach.


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