Thinking of adopting a dog? Here are some costs to consider

November 2, 2020

Welcoming a new member to the family can be very exciting, but are you ready to cover those first-year costs?

You lay eyes on a French Bulldog and it's love at first sight. His price tag? Two thousand dollars, and that's exactly what you budgeted for a new puppy. But did you give any thought to how much you'll have to spend in his first year? The Association des médecins vétérinaires du Québec recommends setting aside approximately $6 a day to cover your puppy's basic needs. By our calculations, you'll easily spend $2,050 during your dog's first year, and maybe more depending on how big he is. Here are some costs you'll want to consider.

Food: $240 to $960 or more
Choose a quality brand food made especially for puppies. It should contain the right amount of minerals, calories and nutrients to foster growth. Expect to pay $20 to $80 a month, depending on the size of your dog.

Treats: $60 to $180
Biscuits and other dog treats are an excellent training tool for your new best friend. But be careful not to go overboard and be sure to find a brand that is not too high in calories. Treats should account for no more than 10% of the recommended daily calorie intake.

Veterinary visits, vaccinations and parasite prevention: $450 or more
Expect to take your dog to the vet for routine health checks at least twice in that first year. Each visit will run you $60 to $80. Your dog will also need two sets of vaccinations, costing somewhere between $15 and $30 each. In addition to the basic vaccinations, your vet might recommend protecting your puppy against other diseases, such as Lyme disease, depending on his lineage and lifestyle. The vet will also run a fecal test (approx. $50) to make sure your pup doesn't have any parasites and will prescribe monthly preventive treatments (approx. $20 per dose) until your dog reaches 6 months of age.

Spay or neuter: $200 or more
Depending on your dog's weight, you'll need to spend between $200 and $300 to neuter a male, and between $300 and $400 to spay a female. That cost can increase to $600 for large breeds.

City license: $30 or more
Some cities require that all dogs have a municipal license or tag. In Montreal and Toronto, a license costs $30 for a fixed dog and $60 if the dog is intact. Vancouver charges $40 for dog licenses.

Microchip: $35 or more
If you think your puppy is likely to stray from home, make sure you'll be able to find him by fitting him with a microchip. As of January 1, 2020, all dogs living in the Montreal area will have to be chipped.

Collar and leash: $30 or more
Go for an adjustable collar and keep in mind that you'll likely have to buy a bigger one in a few months. If you live in Montreal and own a 20-kg dog, you'll need to buy a harness running you $50 or more.

Crate: $100 or more
A crate can be an excellent tool for house-training your pooch (and to stop him from chewing your sofa during the night). Select a crate that will be big enough for him when he is fully grown, and use the separators provided to make the crate just big enough for him while he is still a pup (if he has extra room, he's likely to soil the crate). Be careful not to use the crate to punish your dog. You want it to be his personal cozy corner!

Insurance: $455 or more
Your dog will be with you for many years to come and surely you want him to live a long and healthy life. To avoid any hassles and to be ready in the event he should need medical attention, it's a good idea to purchase pet insurance.

Training: $100 or more
Take full advantage of your dog's socialization phase by enrolling him in puppy training. He'll learn how to behave properly, and you'll learn how to become a good master!

Other costs: $350 or more
Don't forget grooming costs (brushes, nail clippers, toothpaste or dental chews, trips to the groomer's, etc.) and of course, a comfy bed and some toys! Also think about boarding costs (over $25 per day) if you think you might leave home for a vacation without your dog.


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