The Annual Medical Costs Of Dog Ownership: Can You Afford A Dog?

For those who’ve been dog owners for the past years, you know that dogs can be great stress relievers and teach families how to be responsible, especially those who are still young and learning of such things. Even so, ownership demands fiscal responsibility as well. At times, our canine friends will become sick from various diseases or injuries throughout the years of ownership. Medical cost can be quite hefty for dog owners, and if you’re not prepared or made of aware of such things, it could lead towards you paying a hefty sum that you couldn’t possibly afford.

That’s why this article shall go into the finer details of medical cost dog owners should become aware of. Keep in mind this is not intended to make both current dog owners and future dog owners to turn down the adoption of a canine companion, this is meant to prepare owners with the kind of medical bills they will have to deal with once their pet requires their vaccination and so on.

Medical Costs

Routine Check up

The average price for a routine checkup at the veterinary office in the US averages to $50. Some places can have their own prices and have gone as high as $250, especially if it’s for specialists or emergency hospitals. Although, most general veterinarians tend to price their check ups somewhere between $25 and $75. The place I personally visit for my pups check up charges a total of $46 for a simple routine check up and $15 for brief examinations. The vet office also charges extra $30 for a consultation on your dog’s needs. This might not seem fair, and most would agree, but what can you do.

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Keep in mind, that it is a good idea to shop around and call various veterinary office near you to gauge what kind of prices they are offering for routine check ups, as mentioned before, each office has their own prices and learning which is within your price range will help you save up money for future visits. Just make sure you ask for full physicals and not brief ones if you’re going to the office to get the dog checked, some places will require paying a fee for a brief look over, it best to simply get a full physical just to make sure your canine friend didn’t get themselves a serious ailment.


While this may seem like a hassle to pull off keep in mind that routine veterinary care is a large part of keeping your best friend healthy. Make sure to make plans on wellness checkup at least twice a year, which can cost somewhere between $200-300 yearly, depending on the offers of the place you’ve chosen to take the pup. Annual Lab work can also include another estimate of $100-300 and shouldn’t be skipped on as it’s another important layer of preventive health care.


Vaccine Boosters

Vaccine boosters are shots administered after the initial dose to keep the vaccine effective. Your pup will at times require a booster to go alongside their vaccinations, but that won’t always be the case. Even so, there a chance you’ll see your dog get a somewhere between 2-4 booster shots each year. The cost for a booster shot averages between $18-25.

Fecal Exams

Fecal exams are very important to perform, it allows you to identify if your dog has acquired any gastrointestinal parasites. Most dog owners have witnessed the importance of this testing and have made it a part of their annual check-ups as each year passes. The average cost for this examination is estimated to be around $25-$45.

Pet Insurance

Keep in mind that a dog’s age also needs to be factored into the medical cost, as they age they will become more susceptible towards various health problems and will require more health care. Consider purchasing pet insurance for your dog, which will cover a percentage of vet expenses. Which according to the ASPCA cost for pet insurance estimates at $225 per year.

Dental Cleaning

Dental cleanings will most likely be recommended to you during a visit to the vet. Cleanings will help the vet check for gingivitis in your dog’s mouth or take notice of any bleeding during brushing Plenty of dogs have their teeth cleaned at least once a year during their annual check-ups. This procedure has been estimated to be around $70-$500.

Allergy Test

Just like us human beings, dogs can develop allergies and will exhibit various symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and licking. If you become suspicious of your dog suffering from some sort of allergy, your vet will suggest taking an allergy test. The test has two different methods which can be done, with an intradermal skin test or blood tests. There is a cost difference between the two, with skin testing estimated between $200-$250, and blood testing estimating $200-$300.

Emergencies and Surgery

The cost for an emergency vet hospital visit has been estimated to cost between $500 to $1000 and can sometimes go beyond as $2000 to $5000. If your pup requires advanced surgery, the cost is estimated to be somewhere around $2000 to $5000 and possibly more. Furthermore, if the dog requires staying in the ICU, you shall see your bills rack up $200-$500 per day.

Small Dogs VS Large Dogs

The size of the dog can also affect how much you’re going to spend on your medical bills. Generally smaller dogs are much cheaper compared to larger dogs. This is mainly due to them require less maintenance when it comes to taking care of them, such as daily exercise that helps your dog maintain its health.


Larger dogs have a much shorter lifespan compared to their smaller brethren, which can lead towards medical cost increase due to their old age making them more susceptible to various symptoms and disease. An increase in weight has shown that a dog life expectancy will decrease during each month, this gives larger dogs a disadvantage due to how much heavier they are compared to their much smaller counterparts.

ASPCA figures a dog’s annual cost at anywhere from $580 for smaller dogs to $875 for big breeds.

Either way dog lovers around the world still continue to care their dogs as best as possible regardless of the cost. If you’re someone who’s looking towards adopting a dog, don’t be too discouraged by the numbers shown here, dogs are a great addition for any family home and will improve the mood for everyone in the family.

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