So you really want a dog? You’ve wanted one for as long as you can remember – your very own furry best friend to love and cuddle. They don’t answer back, love you unconditionally and can join you for long countryside walks, hey…you don’t have to convince us the joy they bring is immense –  you may be ready –  but is your bank balance?

Everyone talks about how much owning a horse costs but not really dogs, loads of people have them… it can’t be that expensive surely?

Seriously, dogs can be expensive, in the article below we’ve broken down all of the things you need to know about the cost of dog ownership, and how much it might set you back over their lifetime. We think you may be surprised, but forewarned is forearmed right?

So firstly, and here’s a bit of legal info – to look after a dog properly, you need to make sure you meet the 5 freedoms of animal welfare, in the UK these are laid out by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the animal welfare act 2006 and they are:-

  • Space – Need for a suitable environment 
  • Food – Need for a suitable diet and access to water 
  • Happiness – Need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • Home – Need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
  • Health – Need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

So the answer to ‘How much does it cost to own a dog?’ is probably ‘more than you think’! 

puppy on a hammock
Photo by Michael Kucharski on Unsplash

How much does a dog cost over their lifetime?

So, here’s the nitty gritty ….. 

  • Small dog breeds: At least £4,600 up to potential lifetime cost of £25,000 
  • Medium dog breeds: At least £7,000 up to potential lifetime cost of £27,000
  • Large dog breeds: At least £5,700 up to potential lifetime cost of £30,800

The estimated figures above are a minimum cost, and you could easily end up spending a lot more, depending on what you buy them and how much you spend on their ongoing care.

We’ve broken it down for you below into all the areas of expense you might need to consider when owning a dog.

Firstly – how much does it cost to buy a dog or puppy? 

Purchase cost can be split into two groups, whether you buy a puppy or dog from a rescue and rehoming centre, or if you buy a puppy from a breeder.

Puppies and dogs from rescue centres typically cost around £200, and most will come vaccinated, microchipped, and either neutered or with a voucher for neutering. You can see our article on the cost to neuter a puppy.

Purebred puppies vary wildly in price, depending on the breed, and also where you are geographically.

We’ve created a list of the top 10 dog breeds in the UK 2020 as well as the range of prices you’d expect to pay for a puppy:

BreedAverage Cost of a Puppy UK Average Cost of a Puppy USA
1. Labrador Retriever£1,948$800
2. French Bulldog£2,389$2800
3. Cocker Spaniel£2,230$800
4. British Bulldog£2,995$2500
5. Dachshund (Miniature Smooth Haired)£2537$850
6. English Springer Spaniel£1602$850
7. Golden Retriever£1578$1000
8. German Shepherd£1589$800
9. Pug£1001 $1175
10. Staffordshire Bull Terrier£1316$2000

What else might I need to buy or pay for when I buy a puppy?


As of 2015 all dogs sold in the UK must now be microchipped, and puppies sold must be microchipped before they leave their breeder. The exception to this is very small toy breed puppies who may need microchipping at a later date due to them being too small to chip.

If you have to factor this in then microchipping will cost between £10 and £20, or roughly $15-30.


Vaccinations help protect your dog from: parvovirus, canine distemper, leptospirosis and infectious canine hepatitis, and are important preventative healthcare. It means your dog won’t be at risk of catching this disease and they also won’t pass them on, 

You can also have your dog vaccinated against rabies and kennel cough.

Your puppy vaccinations will take place from around 8 weeks of age, the first round at between 8-12 weeks and then a follow up set 2-4 weeks after the first.

Puppy Vaccinations cost anything from £35-65 for both sets, depending on where you live and your vet’s fees.

Your dog will need booster vaccinations, Annual boosters around £35-40, some vaccine makers are now suggesting dogs receive boosters every 3 years after the initial puppy course.

You can also choose to titre test your dog, if you don’t want to vaccinate so frequently, this is where a blood sample from your dog is checked for antibodies against the core vaccines; parvovirus distemper and hepatitis.

Titre testing costs around £90.

Whether you titre test or not it is still advisable to give your dog the leptospirosis vaccine annually as this does not last longer than 12 months.

puppy asleep in owners arms
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Other puppy essentials costs

Well let’s have a run through of essentials you’ll need to welcome a happy and healthy puppy to your home

  • Collar and ID tag – it’s UK law that all dogs must wear a collar with ID tag. The ID tag should have your name and address on, and a telephone number is always useful. 
  • Lead – you’ll want to be able to walk your dog and keep them safe right? We created a handy review of the best puppy training leashes
  • Crate or playpen – Really useful to have especially for puppies, but not easy on the purse strings. By the way, here’s our review of the best puppy crates.
  • A Harness – not totally essential but far kinder for your puppy to wear than just a collar, we’ve listed a few of our favourite puppy harnesses here.
  • A bed for your dog – or perhaps a throne? Our dogs love these raised beds by HiK9. We’ve also got a handy review of other favourite beds for you.
  • Food and water bowls – these can be as fancy as you like, with a simple set of ceramic or stainless steel bowls, or a swish drinking fountain if that’s more your bag.
  • Toys – the list is endless. We compiled a list of our favourites here, including best puppy chew toy, interactive toys and training toys.
  • A car harness, pet carrier or tailgate guard – these will keep your dog safe when travelling, as well as prevent any distractions for the driver.
  • Wormers and flea treatments – At first your puppy will need frequent worming. Want to learn more about worms, I mean, who wouldn’t? Read more in our guide on how often to worm your puppy. 
  • Vaccinations – as described above, you’ll want your puppy to at least have the initial vaccinations, and then consult with your vet as often you’ll need boosters.
  • Professional training advice – hey we have an app for that! You may also want to take your puppy to in person puppy classes, we have an article about finding a good puppy training class, as well as finding a good trainer.

We’ve also got an article on everything you should need for your puppy.

Ongoing costs of owning a dog

Because it isn’t just a one time set up fee!

Monthly costs also need to be factored in when you think about how much your new bundle of joy is going to have a dent in your finances – these include:


Whether you choose to feed a dry kibble, wet food, raw or home cooked. This can vary in price depending on what you want to feed your dog, and what your dog likes to eat. We have a nutrition article here for you, and don’t forget our dog food calculator in the Zigzag app. 


Essential for ongoing training and teaching your puppy all of the things you’d like them to do. Read all about why we use treats and rewards when training our puppies, oh and if you’re stuck for ideas of which ones to buy we’ve got some pointers for you in our healthy puppy treats article.


Puppies chew a lot, and even adult dogs will need to chew. Choose safe chews such as cereal or vegetable chews that don’t splinter and won’t hurt your puppy. If you have a strong chewer we love buffalo horns and yak chews.

Pet health insurance

Prepare for the unexpected. 

No matter how careful we are with our dog’s safety, they can get into all kinds of mishaps. Certain breeds may also be prone to certain health conditions, so it’s a good idea to get pet health insurance. It means you don’t need to worry about racking up huge bills at the vets, and gives you peace of mind that if your dog becomes sick you’re covered.

Voted as Pet Insurance Provider Of The Year in the 2021 Moneyfacts Consumer Awards, Bought By Many also offers lifetime cover, meaning your pet is covered for life, and you won’t get conditions not covered in the years after a claim.

This is especially useful if your pet develops a condition such as Diabetes or Allergies, for which they may need ongoing treatment for.

Bought by Many provides tailored and personalised plans to suit all budgets – they cover medical care as well as training and behaviour help – because your dog’s health should also include their mental wellbeing.

New toys

Have you seen the size of the dog toy market, it’s huge! Why? Because dogs LOVE to play, so treat them to some new toys every now again. They adore novelty and exploring new things – don’t we all love nice things? 🙂 

Poo bags

Doesn’t need too much explanation, we think you get the idea, what goes in must come out. 

You’ll also want to think about all of those other things you might want for your puppy such as new blingy collars, winter coats and even doggy life jackets!

Kennels and dog sitters

You also need to consider your lifestyle and how this will affect the cost of your dog. Who will look after your puppy while you go to work? Who will look after your dog when you go on holiday? Unless you have very accommodating friends or relatives, these are all costs that need to be thought about ideally, before you bring your puppy home. To give you the jist kennels while you go on holiday can be £30 per night (or more), that’s a whopping £420 on top of the cost of a 2 week holiday! 

fluffy puppy lying down in the grass
Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

For help with training, lifestyle, nutrition and more, why not download the Zigzag app – we have a team of qualified experts to answer all of your questions about raising your puppy.