How much is your dog really costing you?

Will your 4-legged friend cost you an arm and a leg? We calculate the true cost of owning a dog.

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Many dog lovers will readily agree that dogs offer more than just companionship; having a dog in your house does a lot to enrich the lives of the occupants. But this enrichment does come with a cost.

From the necessities such as food and vet visits to the slightly less necessary but almost unavoidable purchases including toys, treats and more toys, there are a bunch of things your pooch needs. All of these costs add up and sometimes come as a bit of a surprise to a new dog owner. So, how much will your new dog really cost you and can you really afford it?

What can you expect to pay when you get a dog?

Owning a dog has numerous benefits, but it does involve several one-time and ongoing expenses.

It is worth noting that these figures are purely illustrative. In addition, this is not an exhaustive list of expenses either.

Based on the figures given below, the first year of owning a dog could set you back by up to $2,000 or $4,000. This is over and above the amount you pay for purchasing the dog in question.

A detailed cost breakdown is included below:

ItemsCosts
Purchasing the dogUp to $25,000, but usually below the $5,000 mark
The microchip$60 to $80
Council registration$40 to $150 (depending on whether the dog is desexed or not)
Vaccinations$170 to $250
Prevention for worms, fleas and heartworms$120 to $300
Desexing$200 to $500 (depending on the size, age and gender of the dog)
Food and bowls$800 to $1,000 (depending on the size, breed and quality of the dog)
Toys and treats$150 to $400
Bed and kennel expenses$100 to $200
Collars, leashes and harnesses$40 to $100
Puppy training$170 (depending on the size, age and gender of the dog)
Grooming$70 to $90
Car restraint$30 and above

How much your pooch will cost long-term

Owning a dog involves incurring regular expenses too. The annual expenses for looking after a dog amount to around $1,500. This figure could be higher depending on the dog’s breed, size, age and illness or accident history.

It is worth noting that the average dog has a lifespan of approximately 15 years.

Some of the recurring expenses could include the following:

  • Food: $800 to $1,000
  • Toys and treats: $250 and above
  • Regular worm and flea treatment: $120
  • Annual health check-up: $90
  • Grooming: $70 to $90 (depending on the breed and the frequency of grooming)

Using the numbers given above, you’ll find that the average annual expense of owning a dog in the first year will be $3,000, followed by $1,500 every subsequent year.

This amounts to $16,500 over 10 years.

If you purchase pet insurance with an annual premium of $1,000, this shoots up to $26,500.

Include additional expenses such as the cost of the dog and visits to the vet for treating any injuries or illnesses and you could well be looking at a bare minimum expense of $40,000 to $65,000 over a 10-year period.

Compare your options for financing a dog
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
OurMoneyMarket Personal Loan

From 5.45% (fixed)
6.07%
$2,001
1 to 7 years
From $250
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 5.45% p.a. to 20.99% p.a. based on your risk profile.
A personalised loan from $2,001 to $75,000 that varies based on your credit history and financial situation.

⭐ Finder Exclusive: Apply before 31 January 2022 to secure a discounted rate of 5.45% p.a. (comparison rate: 6.07% p.a.) for the first 12 months on loans over $35,000. T&Cs apply.
NOW Finance No Fee Unsecured Personal Loan

From 5.95% (fixed)
5.95%
$5,000
18 months to 7 years
No Establishment Fee
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 17.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $7,999 with loan terms between 18 months and 3 years or borrow $8,000 to $50,000 with loan terms between 18 months and 7 years.
Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan

From 5.35% (fixed)
6.14%
$2,000
3 to 5 years
$575 ($275 for loans of below $5,000)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.35% p.a. and 19.09% p.a. based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $70,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 years terms.
Symple Loans Personal Loan

From 5.75% (variable)
6.47%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
from 0% to 5% of the loan amount
$10

You'll receive a variable rate from 5.75% p.a. to 25.99% p.a.

Borrow up to $50,000 and earn 1 Qantas Point for every $1 borrowed.

⭐Special Offer: Earn up to 50,000 Qantas Points with a personal loan from Symple.
Wisr Personal Loan ($5,000 to $30,000)

From 6.49% (fixed)
6.49%
$5,000
3 to 7 years
$0 - Waived Establishment Fee
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.49% p.a. and 20.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 that charges no fees for extra or early repayments. Keep in mind security is required in some cases.

⭐Special Offer:The $595 establishment will be waived for unsecured personal loans between $5,000 and $30,000. Offer ends 31 January 2022. T&Cs apply.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed

From 6.99% (fixed)
7.91%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. (7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan

From 6.45% (fixed)
6.45%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
from $0 to $595
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.45% p.a. and 20.49% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.
Latitude Personal Loan (Unsecured)

From 7.99% (fixed)
9.24%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$250 (Loans under $5000 - $140)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.99% p.a. and 22.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for what you need from $3,000 and use it for a range of purposes. Repay weekly, fortnightly or monthly. You can check your interest rate before applying with no impact to your credit score.
Wisr Personal Loan ($30,001 to $64,000)

From 6.49% (fixed)
7.11%
$30,001
3 to 7 years
$595
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.49% p.a. and 20.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $30,001 that charges no fees for extra or early repayments. Keep in mind security is required in some cases.

⭐Special Offer:The $595 establishment will be waived for unsecured personal loans between $30,001 and $64,000. Offer ends 31 January 2022. T&Cs apply.
MoneyMe Personal Loans

From 6.25% (fixed)
7.64%
$2,100
1 to 5 years
from $295 to $495
$10
You'll receive an interest rate between 6.25% p.a. and 19.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 with no hidden fees or costs. Application process usually takes 5 minutes to complete and is done fully online.
NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Variable Rate

From 6.99% (variable)
7.91%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. (7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 to 7 year loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.
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Matt's new best friends

Personal loans publisher Matt bought his two labrador retrievers after walking into a pet store. "I saw them and said I wouldn't leave without the puppies." And he didn't, he bought them both for about $1,000 each and said he wasn't overly surprised at the cost. "I was able to get both dogs on interest-free finance deals, so we only had to pay a minimal outlay each month."

He didn't have a monthly budget organised, but knew he could manage the ongoing repayments. He also admits that the other up-front costs he hadn't budgeted for such as vaccinations, desexing, food and bedding, were quite a shock. "It's easy to get carried away with spoiling them – after paying back their finance, I spend between $20 and $50 a week on them now, depending whether or not toys or dog treats are on sale."
Labrador retriever dogs looking at camera while they are chewing a rope toy in backyard

His advice for would-be pet owners? "Know how much you can afford and only get a pet if you can manage it." There are ways you can save by looking into interest-free finance deals and also pet care plans through vets.

For Matt, "you can't really put a price on the unconditional love you get from a dog... If you can't afford vets, you can't afford pets," he said.

Is pet insurance worth the cost?

Pet insurance is optional. Yet, it is worth noting that vet treatments can be expensive and insurance can help keep you covered for larger expenses down the track. This is why you’ll need to evaluate the premium that's payable, the exclusions in the policy and the coverage offered before you purchase the policy.

Pet insurance policies will typically cover the following:

  • Accident only: This policy will cover vet expenses in case your pet has an accident. The monthly premium ranges from about $15 to $30 per month.
  • Accident and illness: This policy covers vet expenses for accidents and illnesses. The monthly premium will usually range from $30 to $60.
  • Comprehensive cover: This policy covers vet costs for accidents and illnesses. In addition, it covers routine vaccinations and worming treatments. The monthly premium typically ranges from $60 to $80 per month.

Pet insurance policies will specify certain exclusions as well. Policies differ, but the following exclusions are common:

  • Illness or injury from pre-existing conditions (including conditions affecting a body part such as the ears, the eyes, etc.)
  • Vet expenses for elective treatments such as desexing, orthodontics and so on
  • Treatment of illnesses suffered during the waiting period
  • Treatment of diseases for which a known vaccine exists such as kennel cough
  • Dental cover

If you feel that pet insurance is expensive, consider setting aside a saving of about $100 a month, if possible. This fund could help you in times when your pet needs medical treatment for illnesses or injuries.

What pet insurance is right for your pet?

How to reduce the cost of owning a dog

While the cost of your pet will vary based on the breed, age and size of the animal itself, there are a number of ways to reduce how much you pay, many of which will also improve your pet's life.

  • Adopt your pet or get it from a shelter. Not only are you potentially saving the life of an animal by getting it from a shelter or the RSPCA, the animal will often already be desexed, wormed and vaccinated, meaning you will save yourself the time and money from doing this yourself.
  • Register your pet. If your pet ever gets lost, it will be easier to be found if it is registered. You may also have to pay a fine if your pet is found to not be registered.
  • Protect your home from pet-related damages. This includes keeping expensive or fragile items out of the reach of your pets, especially if you have a puppy or particularly adventurous animal.
  • Make sure your pet is healthy. By giving your pet regular exercise and a good diet, you can help prevent expensive health problems later in life, as well as improve their quality of life in the meantime.
  • Perform grooming and training yourself. It can be very expensive to outsource your pet's grooming and training needs, so take the time to learn how to do it yourself.
  • Shop around for food/medicine. You can find some great deals on dog food, including locally made dog food, as well as viable low-cost pet medicines if you shop around and do your research.
  • Buy food in bulk. Buying your pet food in bulk from a wholesaler, rather than simply adding it to your weekly shop, can save you a considerable amount of money. Alternatively, if your pup's favourite brand is reduced at your local pet or grocery store, stock up when you can.

Financing options for your dog

As mentioned before, owning a dog can lead to various planned and unplanned expenses that could make a mess of your monthly household budget. In this scenario, you could consider the following alternatives for funding these expenses.

  • Unsecured personal loans. These give you the option of financing without needing to use an asset as security. As there is no security involved, the interest rates for these loans tend to be higher than their secured counterparts. Compare the terms offered by various lenders before selecting the most favourable one.
  • Low interest credit cards. If you have a credit card, you could consider putting some of the costs, both up-front and ongoing, on this card if you don't have the money available. If you don't plan on paying off your total balance straight away, a lower interest card might be a better option as it won't see your interest charges build as quickly as they would on one with a higher rate.
  • Short term loans. If you require a short term loan for meeting unexpected expenses or if you have bad credit and can't access traditional forms of credit, a payday loan might be an option to consider. These loans cover you until your next payday and will usually feature more flexible eligibility criteria than is applicable on other kinds of loans. Keep in mind the fees and rates are much higher with this type of credit, so work out if you can afford the repayments before you apply.

How does it work?

Getting finance for your pet works in the same way as getting finance for anything else. You apply (online, in branch/store or over the phone) and are either approved or rejected based on your personal circumstances and financial credentials. If approved, you can use the funds to either purchase your pet or finance their needs (vet bills, ongoing costs, etc).

It is worth noting that pet personal finance will usually be unsecured. This is because, unlike with products like car loans, you cannot use a pet as asset security on a loan. However, you can use a different form of asset security if you prefer a secured finance option. Viable assets for this type of finance will include things like your car, home equity or other assets as discernible value. This form of finance could be considered as risky, as you could face losing your asset if you are unable to meet the repayments. That being said, secured personal loans do tend to be lower-cost than unsecured personal loans.

Alternatively, your breeder might offer their own form of payment plan, which may be lower-cost than a standard personal loan. However, most dog breeders do not offer this option.

Pros of financing a dog
  • Buying a dog on finance could allow you to purchase the breed of dog that you want, which may be a more expensive option than opting for a shelter dog or a cheaper breed.
  • You can pay for your dog in incremental instalments, rather than all in one go. This can help to mitigate the overall cost of a dog.
  • If you make your repayments on time, you could improve your credit rating.
  • You can apply for more than the cost of the dog in order to cover extras like vaccinations, toys and dog beds, etc.
Cons of financing a dog
  • You may struggle to qualify for a secured personal loan when purchasing a dog, which are often cheaper than unsecured personal loans.
  • Your dog will end up costing you more in the long term with a personal loan than they would if you paid in full up-front.
  • If your circumstances change and you find yourself unable to repay your loan, you may also not be in a financial position to keep your dog well cared for.

Eligibility criteria and documents needed when financing a dog

The eligibility criteria will differ between loans, but the following are some basic requirements you will need to meet:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have a good credit rating
  • Be an Australian citizen or permanent Australian resident

The information you will be asked to provide will depend on the loan you apply for. You will most likely need to provide the following:

  • Personal details including your name, contact information and proof of identification
  • Name and contact details of your employer
  • Details of your employment, including income amount and how you're employed (full time, part time, etc.)
  • Financial details including your assets, liabilities and any other active credit accounts

You can check the eligibility criteria on each individual loan on the Finder review page. If you have any concerns, make sure you reach out to the lender directly before you apply.

Is owning a pet dog worth it?

Becoming best friends with your new canine companion can be a fulfilling experience in many people's lives. That being said, owning or adopting a dog takes a lot of time, money and commitment – so whether it's worth it for everyone is completely down to the individual.

In the year 2018-19 alone, a total of 33,863 dogs were turned over to the Australian RSPCA, with just 38% of these being successfully rehomed. Many of the owners who turn these dogs over to shelter are those who have not properly considered what owning a dog means, and whether or not it's suitable for them. Therefore, it is wise to make your decision about adopting, rehoming or purchasing a dog, and whether it is worth it for you, extremely carefully.

Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, but owning a dog does not come cheap. In any matter involving your finances, it is best to examine the potential implications of any decision that you make. While there are several benefits to having a furry friend at your side, it is important that you estimate the financial costs of owning a dog before taking the plunge.

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Personal Loan Offers

Important Information*
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Harmoney Unsecured Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.35% p.a. and based on your risk profile.
Apply for a loan up to $70,000 and repay your loan over 3 or 5 years terms.

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ANZ Fixed Rate Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.99% p.a.
Apply for up to $50,000 to use for a variety of purposes without needing to add security. Available to self-employed applicants.

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NAB Personal Loan Unsecured Fixed

You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 18.99% p.a. ( 7.91% p.a. to 19.83% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
Borrow from $5,000 to $55,000, with 1 years to 7 years loan terms available. This loan comes with no fees for extra repayments and no early exit fees.

Logo for SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan
SocietyOne Unsecured Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate between 5.95% p.a. and 19.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
A loan from $5,000 to use for a range of purposes. Benefit from no ongoing fees and no early repayment fee.

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