Puppy Ownership – Considering The Costs

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As most of you already know, I’m a 26 year young guy looking to start a family. Ana and I are working on our wedding fund and planning for babies after we get married. It’s incredibly exciting to say the least. One thing that we’ve wanted since we moved in together about 3 years ago was to get a puppy.

We Finally Decided To Get A Puppy

About 6 months ago, we finally found ourselves in a position where we would be comfortable with puppy mother and fatherhood. Our search for a puppy started at the pound; where we found beautiful little border collie, husky puppies. Unfortunately huskies are known as a dangerous breed and our apartment at the time didn’t allow this breed. I almost cried as I watched the tears roll down Ana’s face. It just wasn’t fair! We spent a few hours getting to know this puppy, had the money and the time needed to be good puppy parents, and were told we couldn’t have our new baby! I’ve honestly never seen Ana so upset.

The Search Was On

On the way home from the pound, I made a promise to Ana. We would find a puppy that would be just as sweet, cuddly, and adorable as our puppy that got away; no matter what. So, I went on the hunt. A few days later, we found ourselves driving 3 and a half hours to get a baby border collie from the breeder. On the way home we were so worried because our new puppy (Sweetness Honey Rodriguez) was drooling excessively. Of course, we called the breeder and found out that it was nothing more than puppy car sickness and Sweetness would be fine.

Our Lives As Puppy Parents

A lot has changed in our lives since the day we decided to get a puppy. We bring Sweetness almost everywhere we go. When we leave for extended periods to a place she can’t come, we have to really weigh the options; and sometimes, we decide to stay home with our baby. One thing we really didn’t think about when we got Sweetness was the money that it costs to raise a puppy. So, today, I’m going to share with you some of the costs that you’ll have to be prepared for should you decide to get a puppy. Preparation definitely would have helped in our case. Anyway, lets get right to it…

Cost To Consider When Thinking About Puppy Parenthood

Food – Food is one of the biggest expenses in any household. It’s also one of the biggest expenses we experience as puppy parents. You see, Sweetness doesn’t have your average eat anything in sight type of dog stomach. Nope, her stomach is picky. If we get her the cheap $20 for 40 pounds of food dog food, she gets sick…and we can’t have her getting sick. So, instead we pay $53 for 20 pounds of her food. It’s made of the finest ingredients and keeps her happy and healthy. She also goes through that in about a week, so if all she needed was food, we’d be just over $200 to own our puppy.

Comfort – In my opinion, dogs are family members too, and they have just as much of a right to have a comfortable place to sleep as I do. The only problem is, Sweetness likes to eat her beds. We started out with a nice puppy bed from PetSmart; that was gone in a week. Eventually we reverted to giving her pillows. They’re cheap, and the funny thing is, she doesn’t chew them up…again, Sweetness has expensive taste!

Toys, Toys, Toys – Because Sweetness is a border collie, she’s incredibly active. She was bread to herd cattle; and she loves to run! So, we have to keep her busy or she gets a bit ornery.  Although we have a back yard, if there’s no toys for her to play with, she’ll make her own. You know, by digging the roots of trees out of the ground and chewing on them….not a good thing! Anyway, we’ve learned that like any other kid, Sweetness needs her fair share of toys.

Sweetness After ChewingFurniture – Nope, I’m not talking about doggy furniture, we’ve already covered that. I’m talking about people furniture, and shoes, and anything else the puppy can reach. You know, before we got a puppy, I heard about them chewing, but thought it was easily manageable. Well, there I went thinking again…I was wrong. As a matter of fact, yesterday we left the house for about 5 minutes to go to the local corner store. When we got back, my beautiful leather ottoman was damaged beyond recognition. Although this is the first time a piece of furniture has been destroyed beyond repair, and it’s the first time she’s chewed in a while (We’ve been doing extensive training.) it was incredibly upsetting to come home to. At this point, I’d say Sweetness has eaten at least $500 in non-food items around the house.

Training – Luckily for me, I have a buddy that’s incredibly good at training dogs, and he’s given me tons of pointers. As a matter of fact, at 6 months, Sweetness was already sitting, giving paw, and rolling over! Teach em young…they’ll know the tricks forever! Anyway, if I didn’t have a friend that knew dogs so well, training would have been crazy expensive. We’ve seen plans ranging from $150 a month to $300 per month. However, it would have been worth it if we needed it.

Medical – Dogs get sick too, and when they do, they need to see a doctor. You can go about medical in 2 ways. Either you can get insurance, or you can just pay for the vet visits. I’ve set aside money for vet visits and will replenish the funds as needed. However, if you don’t have at least a thousand dollars laying around for the next vet bill, you may want to consider insurance. Although, a thousand dollar vet bill is rare, it’s important to be prepared for everything!

Final Thoughts

Sweetness is one heck of a dog. She’s expensive, she’s hyper, and most of all she’s sweet! No matter what it costs to raise her, we love our puppy and wouldn’t trade her for the world. Although, we would have liked to have been more prepared for the expenses of owning a puppy, we’ve done pretty well so far. Nonetheless, if you’re considering puppy parenthood, we’ve learned that it’s important to consider your finances as well! Thanks for reading everyone!

Great Posts From Around The Blogosphere

How To Make A Career Change – Natalie, one of our PF MVP nominees for this week writes yet another awesome post. Learn a great strategy for making a career change here!

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About The Frugal Woods Family – I’m getting more and more into the Frugal Woods blog. Learn more about the family behind the blog in this post!


  1. Pets can be crazy expensive…but they do bring tons of joy to life. We recently had to get rid of one of our two dogs because we simply couldn’t care for both of them the way we should, it was too much.

    • Hey Brian, I’m sorry that you had to go through getting rid of one of your dogs, that had to be a rough decision. Thanks for swinging by!

  2. Thanks for the love, Josh! But more importantly, congratulations!!!! How exciting! Please keep the puppy photos coming. And I think it’s really great that you’re talking about the financial cost of your puppy on your blog. I know a lot of people who won’t consider finances when it comes to animals, and I think that’s a huge mistake.

    • Hey Natalie, no problem, you deserve it! Thanks, Sweetness is an awesome puppy, but she’s definitely not free to keep up. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Pets, like children are emotional financial choices we make and when there is emotion involved, the costs can certainly get out of control. I fully support my clients becoming pet owners, but before they do, just as they would with kids, I have them prepare financially in advance. It is amazing how much a puppy can run you (as you shared) so it is better to have money in advance to cushion the blow.

  4. Thank you so much for the shout out! We really appreciate it! And, I’m so glad to hear that things are going well with your pup. They certainly are a financial responsibility, but so very worth it. We love our Frugal Hound and wouldn’t trade her for anything! Thanks again!

    • I wouldn’t trade Sweetness for the world, she’s worth every penny I’ve got if you ask me! And as far as the shout out goes…you deserve it. Keep up the great work guys, gals, and pup!

  5. Congrats! Must be exciting to have such an active new member in the family!

    Didn’t know pets could be this expensive though. Good thing they give so much back! For now I think I’ll stick to my fish tank… A five euro box of fish food keeps tens of them fed for months.

  6. Our puppy is turning 1 next Tuesday and we estimate that he has probably cost us around $2000 (not including the cost of the puppy himself). We’ve included food, boarding at Christmas time, toys, vet bills (regular), vet bills (one emergency visit…oops), grooming, toys, etc.

    However, I love him and I can’t imagine our lives without him. I think the joy and happiness he brings to our family is worth that money.

  7. We brought a puppy into our home about 2 years ago, and it has been a wonderful experience. The costs of ownership don’t really seem to bother me all that much, EXCEPT when we have to take her to the vet or the groomer– both of which we have to plan for.

    With that said, I would recommend pet ownership to just about anyone. A dog’s job is simply to give you love, all day, every single day. It is just awesome to have someone like that around.

  8. Well done on getting a puppy (and, you may have noticed you don’t own dogs, they own you). We have a nine months old border collie and they are notrious about ruining your house and life. Ours has been wonderful – she has caused no damage so far. In fact, when she was teething (this is when they chew most) she will sit infront of me crying and asking for hew chewy toy rather than going off and having a nibble at something in the house. We made sure she is bonded though and she sleep in a crate which she loves.

  9. Congrats on the puppy! My parents and sister have Golden Retriever brother and sisters which are both just over 1. Super cute like Sweetness.

  10. Pet medical expenses are a major reason why my wife is hesitant on getting a pet.
    My wife’s cousins’ dog has like a hip displacement that will require surgery once the dog has stopped growing.
    My friend’s dog somehow tore it’s acl and needs major surgery.
    Both of these are over $1,000 easily for the procedures… we decided, although a pet would be nice, that we would rather put our financial efforts towards reducing debt and starting a family.

  11. Dogs are so awesome! They are a lot of work and more expensive than you think, so you definitely need to have a pet budget. In fact, this is one of the reasons we have not got another standard poodle since our beloved Fergus passed away January 2013. We keep looking at the rescue standard poodle sites but still not the time yet. Sweetness is a lovely dog but I’m sure she’s a handful. Border collies are the most intelligent dogs – they call them rocket scientists. My sis has one and he knew how to open the fridge and take out food and eat it. Crazy! BTW, standard poodles are up there in intelligence too!

  12. Congratulations! Last time I had a pet was about 14 years ago. The emotional attachment to my dog was priceless. He brought me happiness and so many memories. When he passed away it was devastating. Now that I have my boys and we have been lucky to dogsit for family and friends we are talking about welcoming a puppy to our home. Not sure when this will happen but I think I’m finally ready. Congratulations again.

  13. Congrats on your new bundle of joy! 🙂

    We have geriatric cats – much easier pets than dogs, in many ways – and let me tell you, we’ve spent thousands of dollars on one of them in the past year. As you pointed out, there are plenty of regular costs associated with pet parenthood, but they really ramp up with they get sick. Our dear Tony has inflammatory bowel disease, which we’ve figured out how to manage with cheap meds and expensive food, but it cost us an arm and a leg getting him diagnosed. Hopefully Sweetness has a long and very healthy life. Enjoy; pets are great!

  14. Congrats on the dog! Such a cutie. I got my first one before I was financially ready for him and had no idea how much time and money he would require. He’s been worth every bit of it and has brought me so much joy over the years. I guess some good came out of my financially irresponsible days…but I still should have waited.

  15. It’s funny that I read this today as I applied for a rescue lab puppy!! I currently have a 13 yr old lab mix so it’s been a long time since he was that young. It’s easy to forget all that goes into it!! I love your dog- she is so sweet and I know she will bring you much joy 🙂


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