Staci and Seeley sitting in a field. Staci is hugging and kissing Seeley.

Day job: investing. Passion: dogs. What do they both have in common? They’re both expensive and key to my longterm happiness. So before you decide whether or not to adopt a cute little ball of joy, be sure you’re considering your budget – especially in today’s high inflationary environment! 

How much does it cost to adopt a dog? 

The cost will vary depending on where you’re adopting from and the fees involved. From personal experience, Seeley, who travelled from Bahrain to the UK, was over £800. Some adoption fees may include some of the big first-year costs, such as neutering, which could help you save. 

How much will the first-year set you back? 

This will naturally vary greatly on your taste but you’ll need basic start-ups like a bed, toys and food. You’ll also need to book vaccinations, pet insurance and a small fee to register your dog’s microchip. You’re looking at anywhere from £1,000 to £2,500 for the first year and that doesn’t include the cost of adopting the dog itself. 

Ok. So what are the ongoing costs?

After the first year, you’ll need to continue to leave room in your budget for your new addition. You’ll also need to adjust your budget as the dog gets older and requires more vet visits and medication or simply as the cost of living (aka pet food) continues to rise with inflation. 

Food is probably the biggest ongoing cost. Prices will vary greatly depending on the size of your dog and the type of food. Seeley and Kendall eat a lot! They also eat Butternut Box, a premium dog food, which averages about £75 a month, per dog. 

Even if you have pet insurance, you’ll need to have a budget to cover medical expenses. (Most policies offer reimbursements, not direct payments to the vet.) And if you’ve adopted an older dog with pre-existing conditions, they may not be covered by insurance, meaning you’ll have to shell out for those too. Kendall, for example, as she’s gotten old has gone from about £20 a month to today, £100 a month. As she’s aged, our budget has been forced to grow. 

Looking good doesn’t come cheap either. Don’t forget about regular grooming for your new dog. This again will depend on the breed. Seeley is groomed every 3 months while Kendall can go 4 or 5 months between groomings. 

Want to take a holiday with your new dog? That’ll cost you too. Better factor in hotel pet fees to your travel budget. Want a solo holiday? That’s fine but make sure you account for pet sitter or boarding expenses or find a really good friend! 

Let’s talk numbers. How much do we spend a month? 

We have two large dogs who are completely and utterly spoiled so our budget is on the higher end. Kendall is also a senior with no pet insurance as I never bought it will I first moved, not knowing how long she’d be here and well it’s too late. So keep this in mind. In a year we spend, on average, just over £5,000 on both dogs!! And I only expect this number to go up in the coming months/years. 

So how do pay for it all?

Budget. From a practical point of view, I opened a credit card with a £3,000 limit. We only spend about £500 a month but I like knowing we have a higher limit should an emergency happen – and it did! Seeley needed surgery that cost over a grand and again two weeks later!! And I didn’t have to worry. 

I call this card the “dog’s credit card” all their bills and regular costs go through this account so I know exactly how much we’re spending. We pay off the card each month and bonus, we’re collecting points on their spending! 

If you don’t want to open a credit card, I’d recommend opening a separate account and setting up an automatic payment that will, at a minimum, cover your monthly expenses. That way the money is budgeted for up front and you don’t have to worry about whether you get to add that cute new toy to your cart!

All in all, pets should not be an impulsive buy and they’re certainly not temporary. If you want to add a dog to your family but are unsure about the long-term costs, you could consider fostering. You’ll be helping a dog in need, getting a cuddle in the evening and at a fraction of the cost!