dog ownership cost

Cost of Owning a Dog in Canada

Dog – a man’s and woman’s best friend. The love they give is unconditional and their companionship is, if you ask most dog owners, priceless. But as we all know, owning a dog isn’t actually priceless. In fact, it’s pretty costly. But how much does it cost to actually own a dog in Canada? Let’s dive deeper and break down the costs.

What does it cost to own a dog in Canada?

Before we dive into the individual costs of owning a dog, let’s talk about averages. According to a  report by, it costs an average of around $3, 934.00 to own a puppy in the first year of life.

Of course, this is just the average which means that the cost of owning a dog can be significantly more, or less, depending on the age, breed, and needs of each individual dog. Within the first year, the total cost of a new puppy can range anywhere from $1, 500 to $10, 000. 

Dog Ownership Cost Considerations 

Whoa – $1,500 to $10, 000 is a lot of money! Where does that money go? Well, it’s divided up among a number of things:

  1. The Initial Investment

Depending on which type of dog you buy, you’re looking at a significant investment to begin with. Puppies can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on breed.

A purebred Chihuahua, for example, will probably cost somewhere around the $400 mark. But other breeds, like the French Bulldog, can go upwards of $6,000. 

Where you purchase your dog from also makes a difference. If you are looking for a purebred dog with papers, you’re going to pay top dollar. You can save yourself some money by rescuing a dog from a shelter or by seeking out dogs that are not purebred. 

The good news is, the initial investment for the purchase of your dog is just a one time fee. You won’t have to worry about including this within your budget after the first year (unless you intend to buy a second dog). 

  1. Food and treats

Obviously, you will need to feed your new dog. Again, the cost of food throughout the year will largely depend on which breed of dog you own. Larger dogs require larger amounts of food, and will generally cost more to feed.

With that being said, some breeds of dog may have intolerances to certain types of food and may require premium, top brand foods which will ultimately cost you more. 

Generally speaking, you should expect to pay anywhere between $250 to $750 per year for food and treats. 

  1. Toys

If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know it’s in your best interest to keep them entertained. Dogs that are bored can become destructive, tearing into your furniture, doors, and baseboards.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune on toys. Most dog owners spend between $25-$50 per year, but if you are active and can provide your dog with ample exercise, you won’t even have to spend that. 

  1. Veterinary Care

For a healthy dog, routine veterinary care will cost somewhere between $700 to $2,700 per year. This will include things like checkups (which should be done 1-2 times per year), annual lab work, vaccinations, and preventative medicines like flea, tick, and heartworm. 

Most veterinarians will also recommend regular teeth cleaning to prevent oral hygiene issues. This will cost anywhere between $300 to $800. If you want to have your dog spayed or neutered, this will cost an additional $100-$300 depending on your veterinarian. 

Remember, however, that this is the average cost of veterinarian care per year for a healthy dog. If your dog runs into any health problems, you could be looking at a significant amount more. 

If your dog needs any type of surgery, you could be looking at thousands of dollars. Cataract surgery, for example, can cost upwards of $5000, and bone fractures average around $3, 700 (source: Finder). 

This is why it is so important that you research a breed of dog before you purchase. Some breeds are more prone to certain conditions than others, which means their vet bill can add up more quickly. If veterinarian bills are a concern, you definitely want to do your research first. 

  1. Grooming

Depending what type of dog you own, grooming can also add up in expenses. If you have a low maintenance dog, you might only need to perform small maintenance tasks like nail trimmings.

If this is the case, you can probably get away with $50-$100 per year on grooming. If you have a dog with long fur that is higher maintenance, this bill will increase significantly. 

Poodles, for example, need to go to the groomer every 6 weeks. Bichons need to go every 4 weeks. And the list of high maintenance dogs goes on and on. So if you are looking to lower your costs for owning a dog, grooming is definitely something you’ll want to take into consideration. 

Other costs

In addition to the costs above, there are other things you may want to or need to purchase for your pooch too. Dog beds, collars and leashes, obedience training, and unexpected expenses should all be factored into your doggy budget.

Depending on what your lifestyle is like, you may also want to consider costs for things like dog walking or boarding services. 

In conclusion, the cost to own a dog in Canada is not low. You can reduce the costs of owning a dog by searching for healthy, low-maintenance breeds, but there will always be basic necessities that you need to provide for them.

For this reason, you’ll want to make sure there is room in your budget for a new furry friend before you go ahead and make a commitment. After all, if you take good care of your dog, they’ll take good care of you!

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