What to budget monthly if you become a dog owner

If you want a friend, get a dog, people who love dogs like to say. Their tail-wagging companionship can brighten a hard day at work and make the gloomiest evenings easier to bear. But this new friend comes with a hefty price tag. As a new Rover.com survey of 1,500 Americans found, we underestimate how much this furry addition to our lives is going to cost us.

Dogs cost a monthly average of $153

While most people thought owning a dog would simply cost them $25-76 dollars, the survey calculated that the average monthly expense was $153. To prevent yourself from getting sticker shock, it’s good to research how much maintaining a dog is going to actually cost you. Citing the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, Cozy.co, Chicago Tribune, among others, here’s what the survey calculated what average monthly expenses for your dog will be:

  • Food  — $40-$60
  • Toys — $10/toy
  • Flea and tickworm prevention — $40-200
  • Heartworm prevention — $24-120
  • Treats —$6
  • Poop bags —$6-20
  • Tooth care/dental chews —$10

And those are just monthly expenses. One-time costs like adoption fees, which can cost up to $600, or spay and neuter surgery, which averages about $200-800, according to the report, can put a hole in your wallet before you even meet your new pet. But for people who want a dog, this is all worth it. The survey participants said they would be most willing to give up alcohol, takeout and coffee to have their dog.

And once they have their pets, these committed owners are willing to make more financial sacrifices to keep them happy. Dog lovers enjoy showering their pets with expensive gifts. One in three dog owners saying they would spend more than $250 on a special gift for their dog, and one in four admitted they had bought a massage, not for themselves, but for their dog, suggesting that for some of us, self-care comes from what we can give our beloved pets.