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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Looking for a new family member and not sure what costs might be involved? How much does a dog cost? In this article you can find all information about how much a dog will cost you when buy and keep it. You can also read about the unexpected costs you have to expect.   

How much does the dog cost at purchase?

There is of course a difference between buying a dog from a shelter or foster home and buying one from a breeder. Yes, even animal shelters usually charge a so-called nominal charge, which depends on the age and size of the dog. Nominal charges serve to maintain the shelter and in most cases do not cover the costs of local care of the animal. It is best to enquire at the animal shelters of your choice, but on average you can expect to pay between 150 and 300 Euros for a dog.

In comparison, breeders charge much more. How much a dog from the breeder will cost depends on the breed and the rarity. The costs for a purebred dog start at about 500-1000 Euros. It is difficult to set an upper limit, but the price for some purebred dogs can easily reach five figures.

Important: You can find dubious advertisements of purebred dogs on the internet, which are offered clearly below their “value”. Here you should be suspicious, because it could be dogs that come from miserable conditions. Mostly the so-called puppy mafia is behind it. 

How much does the keeping cost?

This includes all those costs that have to be spent regularly. Dogs do not only cost time (and sometimes nerves ;)), but also your wallet is repeatedly asked to pay.

The initial equipment: Dogs have needs that should be met in a species-appropriate way. In terms of price, there is hardly a limit (designer articles), but for the basic equipment you can count on several hundred (200-400) Euros, if you pay attention to quality and animal welfare. In TOBALIE’s species-appropriate online shop you will surely find what you are looking for.
The most important things for the initial equipment should be:

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The right food: There are different types of food and different ways of feeding dogs. A nutritionist will be happy to help you. There are significant differences in price, as the amount of food depends on the size of the dog. Higher quality food, as well as special dietary food or allergy food are of course also correspondingly more expensive.

Important: A healthy, high-quality nutrition for your dog is essential for his health. Saving money here would be counterproductive, as the money saved usually has to be spent quickly back at the vet.

As an approximate guideline (not only the size, but also the activity, metabolism and many other factors play a role), here are three examples:

These are purely the feed costs, without treats and other additives.

Dog tax and animal insurance: In austria there is an annual dog tax, which varies depending on the province. In vienna for example, a dog costs 72 Euros (as of 2020), each additional dog 105 Euros. Discounts are available for holders of a mobile passport, exemptions for assistance dogs.

Unfortunately, even our pets are not immune to illness and accidents. Therefore it is recommended to take out a private dog health insurance. This is not obligatory, but it pays off quickly, because going to the vet can be quite expensive. The costs depend on the state of health, the age and the size of the dog, but on average you can calculate between 15 and 40 Euros per month.

A dog liability insurance is also advisable in case your pet causes damage to others. With some household insurance policies, your dog is automatically covered. If not, the average cost is between 40 and 80 euros per year. 

If it is your first dog or you haven’t had one for a long time, you will have to pass the certificate of competence in some federal states. For list dogs you also have to get a dog handler’s license. 

Preventive examinations and vaccinations: Most dog health insurances unfortunately exclude annual preventive medical checkups and vaccinations. On average, you can expect between 100 and 300 Euros per year.

What unexpected costs could I face?

Special Needs: Just like us humans, dogs have different needs during their lives. An older dog, for example, has an increased need for rest.  Various aids are also used in old age, such as a ramp to get on the couch, diapers for incontinence or orthopaedic dog beds.

Illnesses, accidents, medical interventions: As mentioned before, visiting the vet can be very expensive. Especially chronic diseases of the animal can be a permanent financial burden. But also an accident, such as a break with subsequent surgery, can cost several 1000€. Financial reserves for various veterinary visits are therefore always recommended. Some veterinarians also offer a social rate.

Castration/sterilisation: If not medically necessary, such operations are excluded by most insurance companies. Interventions on female dogs are usually more expensive, as the operation is also more complex. The size of the dog also plays a role in the price. Here you have to calculate with about 150 and 500 Euros.

Dog school/training: A single training is usually more expensive than a training in a group. The prices vary here too and it is difficult to give a guide value.  But on average you can expect to pay about 40 to 80 Euro per hour for individual training. The prices for dog schools can be found on the respective pages.

Dog boarding/animal sitter: There is also a quite large price range here, which also depends on the duration of the care. However, it is important that you choose a reputable boarding house or person. You can find tips for this under the following link: Finding the right pet care.

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As you can see, how much a dog costs depends on several components. Apart from regular expenses (e.g. food), you also have to expect unexpected expenses (e.g. vet, accessories). So before you decide to buy a dog, you should get an idea of your financial situation.