How much is your dog really costing you?

Will your four-legged friend cost you an arm and a leg? 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.

How much does a dog cost

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

From the figures given above, 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.

A detailed cost breakdown is included below:

How much your pooch will cost long-term

Owning a dog involves incurring regular annual expenses too. The annual expenses for looking after a dog amount to $1,500 approximately. This figure could be higher as well, based 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. You could well be looking at a bare minimum expense of $40,000 to $65,000 over a 10-year period.

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."
Ben & SophieHis 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 quite expensive and insurance can help keep you covered from 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 pet

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.

Financing options for your pet

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.
  • 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.

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.

Compare your loan options

Click through the tabs below to compare loan options from a range of lenders.

Citi Personal Loan Plus

Citi Personal Loan Plus

From

8.99 % p.a.

variable rate

From

9.67 % p.a.

comparison rate

  • Loan amounts from $5,000
  • Offers a reusable credit facility
  • Repay over 5 years
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100% confidential application

Citi Personal Loan Plus

A reusable credit facility of up to $75,000. Receive a tailored interest rate between 8.99% p.a. and 17.99% p.a. (9.67% p.a. to 18.6% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile.

  • Interest rate from: 8.99% p.a.
  • Comparison rate: 9.67% p.a.
  • Interest rate type: Variable
  • Application fee: $0 ($199 establishment fee waived)
  • Minimum loan amount: $5,000
  • Maximum loan amount: $75,000
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Use the funds from these loans however you need to.

Updated August 18th, 2019
$
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comparison Rate (p.a.) Min Loan Amount Loan Term Application Fee Monthly Service Fee Monthly Repayment
From 8.99% (variable)
9.67%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$0 ($199 establishment fee waived)
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 8.99% p.a. and 17.99% p.a. (9.67% p.a. to 18.6% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
A credit limit up to $75,000 that you can continue to draw down over terms up to 5 years. Note: The establishment fee will be waived if you apply before 30 September 2019.
8.99% (fixed)
9.13%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
$100
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.99% p.a.
Benefit from no ongoing fees, no early repayment fees and flexible loan terms on amounts up to $30,000.
From 8.95% (fixed)
10.56%
$5,000
18 months to 7 years
$495 (Based on $10,000)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 8.95% p.a. and 16.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for loans from $5,000 and get a dedicated loan manager. No security required.
From 5.99% (variable)
7.55%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
from 2% to 5% of the loan amount
$10
You'll receive a personalised interest rate from 5.99% p.a. to 25.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Borrow up to $50,000 to pay for what you need.
9.89% (fixed)
10.14%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate of 9.89% p.a.
An unsecured loan from $5,000 with flexible repayments and no monthly fee.
From 6.99% (fixed)
7.69%
$5,000
3 to 5 years
$500 (Upfront fee)
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 6.99% p.a. and 28.69% 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.
From 5.85% (variable)
7.84%
$2,001
6 months to 5 years
$299
$0
You'll receive a variable rate from 5.85% p.a. based on your risk profile
A flexible loan with amounts from $2,001 and terms starting from 6 months. Interest and comparison rates calculated for a loan term of 3 years.
12.99% (fixed)
14.14%
$4,000
1 to 7 years
$250
$12
You'll receive a fixed rate of 12.99% p.a.
Benefit from the security of a fixed rate with the flexibility of additional repayments. Existing Westpac customers may qualify for discounts.
From 10.69% (fixed)
11.58%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 10.69% p.a. and 18.69% p.a. ( 11.58% p.a. to 19.53% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes and pay off over up to 7 years. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
From 13.99% (fixed)
15.19%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$250 (Loans under $5000 - $140)
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate between 13.99% p.a. and 29.99% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for what you need from $3,000 and use it for a range of purposes. Flexible repayments options.
From 7.93% (fixed)
8.77%
$1,000
1 to 5 years
$500 (from $100 to $500)
$10
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.93% p.a. and 18.87% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan with a low minimum borrowing amount and flexible repayment options.
10.99% (fixed)
12.21%
$20,000
1 to 7 years
$250
$13
You'll receive a fixed rate of 10.99% p.a.
A secured or unsecured loan available to homeowners with a large minimum borrowing amount of $20,000. Benefit from flexible repayments and fast approval.
From 8.05% (fixed)
9.06%
$2,000
1 to 7 years
1.5–6% of your total loan amount
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate from 8.05% p.a. based on your risk profile
A personalised loan from $2,000 to $50,000 that varies based on your credit history and financial situation.
From 12.99% (variable)
16.42%
$3,000
1 to 7 years
$200
$10
You'll receive a variable rate of 12.99% p.a.
Apply for up to $50,000 and benefit from features such as fast approval, free online redraws and no penalties for early repayment.
10.89% (variable)
11.15%
$30,000
1 to 7 years
$175
$0
You'll receive a discounted variable rate of 10.89% p.a.
Borrow over $30,000 and receive a discounted interest rate. No monthly fees and a redraw facility also available.
From 10.69% (variable)
11.58%
$5,000
1 to 7 years
$150
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 10.69% p.a. and 18.69% p.a. ( 11.58% p.a. to 19.53% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan up to $55,000 you can use for a range of purposes. Benefit from fee-free additional repayments and a redraw facility. Note: Majority of customers will get the headline rate of 12.69% p.a. (13.56% p.a. comparison rate) or less. See Comparison rate warning in (i) above.
From 7.88% (variable)
8.72%
$1,000
1 to 7 years
$500 (from $100 to $500)
$10
You'll receive a variable rate between 7.88% p.a. and 18.82% p.a. based on your risk profile
An unsecured loan with flexible repayment options and a low minimum borrowing amount.
From 7.5% (fixed)
9.51%
$5,000
2 to 5 years
$3
$0
You'll receive a fixed rate between 7.5% 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.

Compare up to 4 providers

Sunshine Short Term Offer

Sunshine Short Term Offer

  • Bad credit applicants considered
  • Fast approval service
  • Borrow up to $2,000
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100% confidential application

Sunshine Short Term Offer

A short term loan with a fast and easy application available to those with good or bad credit. You can apply today and get approved for up to $2,000.

  • Loan amount: $2,000
  • Loan term: 9-12 weeks
  • Turnaround time: 30 minutes (conditions apply)
  • Fees: 20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
  • Income requirement: 50%+ of income cannot be from Centrelink
  • Bad credit borrowers OK
  • Quick and easy Approval
  • No Credit Checks
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Short term loans comparison

These loans are designed as emergency stopgaps when you're caught short before payday.

Updated August 18th, 2019
Name Product Maximum Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround time Costs Fortnightly Repayment (for $1500 Loan)
$2,000
9-12 weeks
30 minutes - conditions apply
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
$396
A small loan up to $2,000 that you repay over 9-12 weeks. Loans approved and funded in as little as 30 minutes. Centrelink must not be your primary income
$2,000
Up to 2 years
3 hours - conditions apply
47.8%
$316.70
Apply for up to $2,000 and be able to access your approved loan as a convenient line of credit.
$2,000
62 days to 1 year
1 hour - conditions apply
20% of loan amount + 4% of loan amount each month
$396
A loan up to $2,000 with terms up to 62 days to 1 year. Centrelink cannot be your primary source of income.
$2,000
6-12 months
Same day - conditions apply
20% of loan amount establishment fee + 4% of loan amount monthly.
$396
Credit24 offers this loan up to $2,000 and gives you 12 months to repay.
$1,900
up to 6 months
Same day - conditions apply
20% of borrowed amount + 4% of borrowed amount each month
$396
Borrow what you need with loans starting from $500 and approval in minutes.
$2,000
up to 12 months
Within 48 hours
20% establishment fee + 4% monthly fee
$396
Cash Converters offers this loan from $400 that gives you up to 12 months to repay.

Compare up to 4 providers

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Logo for Citi Personal Loan Plus
Citi Personal Loan Plus

You'll receive a variable rate between 8.99% p.a. and 17.99% p.a. (9.67% p.a. to 18.6% p.a. comparison rate) based on your risk profile
A credit limit up to $75,000 that you can continue to draw down over terms up to 5 years. Note: The establishment fee will be waived if you apply before 30 September 2019.

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ING Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 8.99% p.a.
Benefit from no ongoing fees, no early repayment fees and flexible loan terms on amounts up to $30,000.

Logo for NOW FINANCE Personal Loans
NOW FINANCE Personal Loans

You'll receive a fixed rate between 8.95% p.a. and 16.95% p.a. based on your risk profile
Apply for loans from $5,000 and get a dedicated loan manager. No security required.

Logo for Westpac Unsecured Personal Loan
Westpac Unsecured Personal Loan

You'll receive a fixed rate of 12.99% p.a.
Benefit from the security of a fixed rate with the flexibility of additional repayments. Existing Westpac customers may qualify for discounts.

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