I am so incredibly grateful to have 2 amazing dogs. My family had a dog while I was growing up, but I never had dogs as an adult until my husband and I adopted our Abigail about 4 years ago. We made the “mistake” of continuing to look at dogs online and adopted our Scarlet 2 years later.
Two Dogs Chillin'
When we were preparing to adopt a dog, I tried to figure out how much it would cost to care for her. I figured in food, vet bills, maybe treats, but I would have never guessed how much the actual cost would be.
I blame it on my not researching enough, and, well, adopting the second dog. (Had I read about Frugalhound’s care from the Frugalwoods, I would have been more prepared).
Following is a list of all costs (in US dollars) for 1 dog (note that there are various time periods from once a month to once every 3 years):

  1. Rabies vaccine done once every 3 years with registration paid to my county: 65
  2. DAPP vaccine per year: 20
  3. Exam per year: 55
  4. Fecal test (testing for worms) per year: 21
  5. Bordatella vaccine (a shot so the dogs can board when we are away), once every 6 months: 20
  6. Bravecto (for flea and tick prevention), once every 3 months: 60
  7. Heartguard (for heart worm prevention), for 3 months: 25
  8. Food (California Natural at a locally owned pet store) per month: 31
  9. Anxiety medication (for my older dog) per month: 15
  10. Treats: 15

Abigail resting on the couch


After writing down all these costs, I multiplied, divided, and rounded up (when it was a fraction) to figure out the cost per month, which are as follows:

  1. Rabies vaccine with registration: 2
  2. DAPP vaccine: 2
  3. Exam: 5
  4. Fecal test (testing for worms): 2
  5. Bordatella vaccine (a shot so the dogs can board when we are away): 4
  6. Bravecto (for flea and tick prevention): 20
  7. Heartgard (for heart worm prevention): 9
  8. Food (California Natural at a locally owned pet store): 31
  9. Anxiety medication (for my older dog): 15
  10. Treats: 15

So without boarding and emergencies, it costs 105 a month to care for my Abigail.
Scarlet doesn’t need the anxiety medication and her Heartgard is just a tad less expensive, so it costs 88 per month to care for her.


Per year, then, it costs 1,260 to care for Abigail and 1,056 for Scarlet.
The grand total for both dogs per year: 2,316.


My main problem in estimating costs for the dogs before adopting them is that I didn’t realize they’d need monthly preventatives. I also didn’t plan on the food costing so much.
When we were adopting Abby from the Humane Society, my husband were first told not to purchase the lowest cost foods–as they weren’t the best quality. Any food beyond the cheapest would be OK. So we were probably spending about 30 a month to feed both dogs.
A trainer we hired to help us with some of Abby’s nervous behaviors suggested we purchase higher quality food, which doubled the price.
Scarlet chewing a stick


My husband would like to adopt a third, but I do most of the walking and I only have 2 arms, so I’m happy with our 2. After figuring the financial cost as well, though, now I know we’d have to have to be able to spend at least another 1,000 a year for a third dog, which is another reason the answer is “not now.”