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How Much Does It Cost to Own a Dog in Canada?

Cute corgi dog smiling on white background

Dog are known as humans' best friend, with good reason. They are one of the most loyal and affectionate choices one can make when getting a pet. The bond that owners share with their dogs is hard to beat, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of costs to consider. Thinking through the time, attention and financial implications of dog ownership is important and knowing where you stand ahead of time can prevent a bumpy ride down the line. 

Before we get into the finer detail of the costs of dog ownership we'd love to advocate for pet insurance for all dogs (and cats). Budgeting for unexpected costs like large veterinary medical bills can help bring predictability to household budgets and, most importantly, keep your dog or cat happy and healthy! Get a pet insurance quote from PHI Direct to protect your Canadian pet.

Without further ado, we’ve put together this handy article to put to rest the question of “how much is a dog going to set me back every year?” once and for all.

Dog price in Canada

The first time money will leave your bank account will be the process of actually getting your new furry friend. Rescue pets are generally very affordable and providing these dogs with a happy home can be a huge-win for dog and owner. If you are more particular about your choice then getting a specific puppy can cost you $500+. Please be sure to check that your new puppy or dog is in good-health and has been well-treated.

How much does a dog cost per year?

Once you’ve purchased your pooch, it’s important to know how much of your annual household budget to put aside for caring for your new friend. According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and Statista the total cost for owning a dog in Canada in 2021 averaged out at around $3,724 a year. This is of course not an insignificant amount of money, but when you contextualize the costs bit by bit, the figure makes sense. Remember to note that in the first year of owning your dog, when it’s still a puppy, your costs will differ significantly.

Women kissing her pet beagle

Average cost of owning a puppy

Owning a puppy for its first year of life will be more expensive than the average rate of expenditure going forward, but not without reason. In the first stages of a pet pooch’s life, there will be several “one-time costs” that you’ll have to bear, which you shouldn’t have to deal with again.

According to the OVMA, the average cost of raising a puppy falls somewhere between $4,589 and $4,666 in that first year. The main additional costs that inflate this price point include having your puppy neutered or spayed, which can cost between $761 and $831, while microchipping your puppy is also likely to set you back around $100. Your puppy's vaccination schedule should be followed closely too and these costs will occur more frequently in their life. Another dog-specific one-time cost that can be worthwhile comes in the form of training, which is best to tackle early in your pet’s lifetime, but will generally cost around $475. On top of all of this, things like a dog bed, bowls, and a leash will all have to be bought in the first year with your puppy, but hopefully, these should remain one-time costs.

Yearly cost breakdown - average price of dog food per month

One of your primary costs as a dog owner will be feeding your dog or puppy, and while different brands and styles of dog food will vary in price, the average yearly spend will come to around $1,132 (these things can EAT). When you do the math on that, you’ll be spending, depending on dog size and food choice, around $94 a month on feeding your furry friend.

Yearly cost breakdown - average yearly vet bills for a dog

Even if you were to buy a year's worth of food for your dog on January 1st, you’d still have around two and a half grand unaccounted for in your costs for the next 12 months. According to the OMVA, on average $1,350 of that money would be spent on veterinary care, with the breakdown of costs collated in a simple table below.

Treatment  Cost Per Year
Parasite Prevention $241
Exams & Vaccines $175
Heartworm/Lyme Test $96
Wellness Profile & Blood Work  $135
Fecal Exams  $51
Dental Cleaning  $652

Yearly cost breakdown - other essentials and costs

After paying off your food and vet bills, there are plenty of other unavoidable things that will cost you money when owning a dog. When it comes to collars and toys, you’re likely to be spending around $120 a year in total.

An additional expense will come in the form of pet insurance, with Canada's average costs leveling out to about $1,097 a year for dogs, according to the OMVA. Pet insurance policies are variable in price and coverage between different firms and companies, so you could end up spending much more or less, but on balance, $1,097 is about the figure you can expect to deal with.

Pet insurance is a great safety net for your pet and also household budgets. Inflation is impacting veterinary costs significantly leaving pet parents unprepared for significant unexpected costs. Choosing the right pet insurance policy can save lots of heartache when the unexpected happens to your pet. 

We at PHI Direct offer coverage that keeps costs low on pet insurance. Most pet owners can budget for smaller ongoing, and expected treatment costs (like prescriptions, annual check-ups, and vaccinations). PHI Direct is designed to help with larger financial hits involved in diagnosing and treating unexpected illnesses and accidents. You can get up to $5,000 or $10,000 of annual coverage from PHI Direct for unexpected pet medical expenses and at a truly reasonable price. 

Final thoughts:

If you’re still scratching your head and wondering “how much does it cost to own a dog every month?” then it’s just a matter of doing the math, which we took the liberty of doing it for you. With the average yearly rate landing at $3,724, you’d be spending approximately $310 a month.