how much will a large dog cost per year
March 25, 2009 11:13 PM   Subscribe

How much does it cost annually to keep a large-ish (50 - 80lb) dog?

I'll be looking for a dog of a breed that is not known for health issues

I plan to feed it a healthy diet (but not steak).

I'd be grateful for any level of information about your experiences, and all types of costs.
posted by sponge to Pets & Animals (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have a greyhound that is about 70lbs. The annual vet visit and shots cost about 100 (in ny) plus we give her heartguard monthly and flea and tick during the summer. These total around 100 a year also. We feed her nutro that comes in 40lb bags. I think we buy about one a month at about 40 each. Tack on toys and treats. I'd say on the cheap side 500 a year total and 1000/year on the expensive side. It really comes down to if you have a sick dog or one that gets hurt a lot.

My mom had a Dalmatian that had numerous surgeries that totaled like 3 grand each.
posted by nuke3ae at 11:32 PM on March 25, 2009

My daughter has a boxer that weighs about 75 pounds. He goes through a 20 lb. bag of Iam's dog food monthly. At Walmart, the bag costs $18.88 so I'll round that to $20 per month for a yearly total of $240 ($20 x 12 months). His city license is $7 a year. His yearly vet checkup (including vaccinations/boosters) is $50. Flea treatment for the summer (we only treat in the summer because that's peak flea season here) is approximately $90. He was neutered last year at a cost of $95 but that's not something that will be an ongoing cost so I'm not including it in my final calculation. Also, things like collars and leashes and grooming tools (brushes and nail clippers) are not an ongoing cost if you buy ones that last. So here's my total:

$240 (food) + $7 (license) + $50 (vet) + $90 (flea treatment) = $387 yearly

Add in the cost of various treats, chewies and toys which will vary depending on how much you want to spend. As for hygiene, we just wash our dogs with mild human soap and water, so I don't consider it an extra expense.

There's always the chance of a medical emergency or an unexpected illness, but generally pets are not very expensive in the grand scheme of things, especially when you consider the rewards you reap emotionally from being a pet-owner. Best of luck to you and your future pet!
posted by amyms at 11:33 PM on March 25, 2009

I'd call a vet that a friend uses and ask them. (seriously!). They can guide you to breed and will be honest about what to expect. Certain breeds are cheaper, but then genetics of the dog also kick in. If you can't get a vet tech to spend time with you on this, go on to a different vet. Trust me, in this economy they want people that become responsible pet owners. You are doing your homework and I take my hat off to you. Vet offices appreciate your type!
posted by 6:1 at 11:50 PM on March 25, 2009

IAMS is a total rip off.

We have large dogs and they eat a cheapish brand of dry dog food regularly augmented with vegie scraps. They get chicken frames from the butcher as well as bones as well. $30 a year registration, and probably 60-100 a year vet bills.

But the money doesn't matter. Friends of friends spent over 10k in snake bite anti venom when their dog was bitten by a tiger snake- I wouldn't but that's me.
posted by mattoxic at 2:26 AM on March 26, 2009

make sure your landlord is okay with you not only having a dog but having a large dog or you may find yourself on the hook for damages and in need of finding a new place to stay pronto. a large dog will also need more exercise than a small one, which means you need to invest more time and energy.
posted by krautland at 5:48 AM on March 26, 2009

I have a greyhound that is about 70lbs....

I'd say on the cheap side 500 a year total and 1000/year on the expensive side.

Keeping in mind that having greyhounds is like having solar panels and selling the excess energy back to the power station. The 40 seconds on average ours are moving per day burns some of the food off, but the heat they generate while comatose the rest of the time is far more valuable.

Adopt a greyhound: They pay you!
posted by hoborg at 7:24 AM on March 26, 2009 [5 favorites]

When they become a member of your family, your spending can increase on their medical care to the point where you spend in the thousands. Last year I was spending $200/mo in drugs for my dogs, but I've managed to work it down to about $80/mo right now.

Food costs about $50 a month. If you feed a dog a raw/prey model diet, it's a lot of work and the benefits are questionable. A food like Ol' Roy from wal-mart is mainly filler and is similar to eating a diet consisting solely of potato chips... lots of empty calories, and you need a lot of ol' roy to make up the 1000-1500 calories a day that a dog needs. Purina Pro Plan at $30/bag has half the calories of the Innova I feed to my 75 lbs Ridgeback. My 55 lbs hound gets Wellness Simple hound, 1 cup morning and evening. (Innova and Wellness Simple have 580 and 480 calories per cup respectively) and spend about $60 per bag, which lasts about 2 months. Those are probably the two best kibble foods on the market. Avoid Science Diet like the plague, even if your vet recommends it. Doing the math, the Wellness and Innova works out better financially than the Purina Pro Plan did... and on the Wellness, there's almost no poop to pick up in the backyard.

Veterinary bills, like vaccinations &c, are minimal... $150/yr for me. But I've managed to find a really inexpensive veterinarian who operates an all species practice (large and small animal) outside of town. Since she sees mostly farm dogs for her large animal clients, she's much cheaper than a lot of her competition so that there's a low barrier to entry to her teaching all the rednecks that yes, their dogs DO need the same level of medical care their stud bull gets!
posted by SpecialK at 8:02 AM on March 26, 2009

Also, greyhounds can be blood donors for other dogs.

Regarding my costs? I've got a 50ish lb Boxer mix and a 135 lb Bernese Mountain Dog. I buy a large (40lb?) bag of Nutro Senior Large Breed about once a month for $40 and it feeds both dogs. They both get 2cups a day of food with frequent chunks of carrots or green beans added. A box of milk bones is about $10 for the large bone/large box and that lasts about a month. My vet bills are higher because of where I live and the fact that my vet practice charges more than others in the area. However, I really like them and will pay for it. I have checked out other vets that are less expensive in the area but hated them (personality conflict, a vet shared info with a third party on one of my dogs when that person called, etc.) Anyway, my annual vet visit for one dog's check up, vaccinations (rabies, lyme, etc.), and supply of heart worm and tick preventative averages me about $300. I cry when I have to buy supplies for both because it has gotten up to $700+. (The Berner is the real expensive one because he has to get double doses of most stuff just due to this size.)

So, comparing to the costs above, I'd say the Boxer mix is in the ball park of the $500 to $1,000 range. She's old enough that I can compare her current costs to her previous costs from when we lived in a different area. They were less then.

Additionally, now that she's 10 and most definitely a senior, I do allow the vet to do a blood profile on her every other year. They, of course, want to do it once a year. That profile is about $100 to $150 and gives us a baseline to compare later tests against if things go wonky. Maybe I'm a sucker, but since I get my own blood profile done on a very regular basis due to being immuno-compromised, I do see a benefit to having the profile done on my pets.
posted by onhazier at 8:16 AM on March 26, 2009

I currently have three (gulp) largish dogs, around 50 pounds each. I go through a 17 lb. bag of Lassie (it's hard to find but cheap AND good) @ about $20 a bag about every ten days (2.5 cups per day per dog.) I also split a can of Alpo among all three to make the kibble taste better; that's around .70 per day, so, say $80 a month in food. Vet bills after the first year or two and vaccines are minimal unless you have bad luck; my guys go to the clinic for rabies & booster shots, so that's $15 per dog per year. They're very healthy, knock on wood. I try to budget more so it's saved in case of bad luck. I spend a small fortune on chew toys and bones because I am a sucker and there is no dog toy they cannot bury or destroy. Flea stuff for bigger dogs is EXPENSIVE; I want to know where y'all are getting it so cheap! I spend about $30 a month on flea stuff from April - October; that will be more this year because of dog number three, the stray puppy for whom I am beginning to despair ever finding a home.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:56 PM on March 26, 2009

It's definitely worth planning for the unexpected when you bring a dog into your house, regardless of size. In the 2.5 years my 22 lb dog Lyle has lived with me, he's had about $5000 worth of medical treatment, none of it related to disease or overall health issues (he swallowed a bone, got stung by a bee and went into anaphylactic shock, and ate some chocolate). I've also spent some money on training, and that's a great investment you might consider as well.
posted by judith at 1:50 PM on March 26, 2009

Also, greyhounds can be blood donors for other dogs.

As can labs, collies, great danes, chows, setters, and mutts.

Oh, and chihuahuas, if you have lots of them.

Dogs only have one blood type.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:49 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Recurring annual expenses per dog:
$170 flea/tick/heartworm treatment
$200 for checkups, shots, license, and an odd vet visit or two
$180 for food, one of the $18 per 20 lb bag brands

Recurring but YMMV costs:
$1500 on, umm, doggy day care. When we just had one dog, and both of us were away from the house for really long hours, we'd drop her off 2-3 times a week.
$200-300 on dog beds and blankets. One of my dogs likes to chew on his bed. And his buddies' beds. Eventually I just got a sewing machine.

Seconding jamaro on the one-time expenses and boarding costs. I also bought a few books, $30-$50 bucks worth (and this one was my bible).

If you get a pup, budget for some damage even if you use a crate. Take the single most expensive item you have within three feet of the ground, including the carpet, and budget however much it would cost to replace it.

Also, I've read that mixed breeds are less prone to health issues than purebreds ("hybrid vigor"). That's been true for us. Our two pure labs - one from the pound but obviously purebred, one we got as a pup who whose sire and dam were OFA Good/Excellent - have had hugely expensive hip problems. Our lab mix from the pound is the oldest and sprightliest of the three.
posted by txvtchick at 9:10 PM on March 26, 2009

For us, besides the actual cost of caring for the animal itself, there has been:

$30 - new shoes, even though Dog only ate one of the pair (can't buy just one shoe)
$20 - sheets to cover couches where Dog likes to sleep
$100+ - new vacuum cleaner when old one crapped out due to excessive dog hair tumbleweeds
$20 - fancy broom like the ones used in human hair salons, to help with dog hair tumbleweed control
$100+ - emergency vet visit to repair cut above eye, due to Dog getting into scrape with Neighbor Dog, where N.D. tried to put entire Dog head in his mouth
$100+ - emergency vet visit to repair cut above other eye, due to Dog getting into scrape with Neighbor Dog, where N.D. succeeded in getting entire Dog head in his mouth because Dog is too stupid to remember previous incident
$700 - chain link fence to go around yard, to keep Dog and Neighbor Dog apart
$50 per visit - car detailing to clean out barf from car
$30 - giant bottle of Nature's Miracle and package of cheap washcloths for cleaning up barf, poop and other assorted mysterious stains and puddles.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:45 AM on March 28, 2009

You didn't mention if the dog would be a puppy or not, which would increase the cost a bit (vaccinations, neutering, training, more chew toys, and the cost of anything that could be destroyed by chewing, etc).

We've had our pup for about a year now, we got him when he was 11 weeks. Here are the costs. I will add that we've gotten some things that are not totally necessary but the cost has been much more than I expected.

-high quality dry food: about $25/month for my 40lb dog = $300/yr, so about $50/month for 80lb dog = $600/yr
-treats (mostly for training) - $50/year
-chewies - $50/year
-toys (kong, etc)- $50/year

Vet visits & Preventative:
-neutering (included pre-anesthetic tests, pain meds, lampshade collar) - $400
-vaccinations: $200 (puppy, includes 2 exams)
-bordetella shot (kennel cough) - $22 if ever need to board or kennel, but many dogwalkers require too
-other visits: about $265 (eye issue - $85, infected paw - $180)
-flea/tick - $10/month = $120/year
-heartworm - $5/month = $60/year
-tooth brush/paste - $10
-teeth cleaning - $50/year

-nail clippers - $9
-brush - $6
-furminator - $40
-any professional visits needed? - we have done a couple washes (groom yourself places) - $10 each, maybe $30/year
-hose/sprayer that hooks up to our shower & makes bathing very easier- $30
-dog shampoo - $5
-tick remover (tons of ticks where we are)- $5

-2 classes, $200 each

Pet sitter

Other stuff:
-license: $12/year
-microchip: $65
-harness: $30
-leash: $10
-collar: $30
-cleaning stuff (Nature's Miracle)- $20/year
-poop bags - maybe $15/year
-dog bed - $30
-crate - $80
-cost of anything destroyed by chewing -$50-?
-books -$40

If a puppy:
-puppy socials - about $50
-pen for when a puppy - $80
-puppy pads - $10

= For our dog, about $2600....about 1/2 the size and gotten as a puppy.
= For 80lb dog (not a puppy), without vaccinations, without neutering, without training, about $1500.

Personally, I don't consider training an option for puppies or full grown dogs. But, of course, the price of training could be minimal if you do your research and take the time and do it yourself.
posted by hazel at 8:00 PM on March 30, 2009

Response by poster: thanks everyone, this helps alot !
posted by sponge at 4:00 AM on April 1, 2009

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