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Our New Dog Expenses

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For the last few weeks, my wife and I have been visiting the local shelters and adoption shows to try to find a little guy to join our family. A few weeks ago, we met Tobey, a 7 year old Beagle who hasn’t had a “real” home in quite some time (I say real because he’s been a combination of fostered and kenneled, but treated very well throughout the whole process). This past weekend, we had a quick home inspection and we passed! We were a little surprised but they let us keep him that very day!

Fortunately, we were prepared. We already had a dog bed, which Tobey loved, and some Milkbone treats but we didn’t have the right sized collar or leash or even his food (since we didn’t know we’d be getting him or what food he’s been eating).

I’ve written about the total cost of owning a dog but projected costs are never the same as actual costs, anyone can tell you that. So we’re going to be keeping a tally of how much it actually costs us to raise Tobey. One thing to be aware of is that Tobey is already 7 years old, so we skip a lot of the puppy related costs (shots, microchipping, etc.), but this should still be a useful exercise anyway.

Acquisition Costs

Since we were rescuing/adopting Tobey, we only gave a $175 donation to the Partnership for Animal Welfare to help defray the costs of caring for him. The $175 is tax deductible, since PAW is a registered charity, so the real cost is closer to $130.

Fixed Costs

We had some fixed costs: his food and water bowl, leads, leashes, collars, and a dog tag. For the most part we went to Petco for these things and bought them before we adopted Tobey because we knew the general size of the dog we wanted. We had to exchange some things, getting a size larger, but all told the costs were around $30.

We also ordered a dog tag for $6 from a website online. It was the recommendation of the rescue volunteers that the ones from Petco are pretty much junk and don’t last. We’ll be using a temporary tag until the real one comes in.

Food, Treats

We’ll be starting him on Iams Lamb & Rice and trying out Blue Buffalo Lamb & Rice. We believe the cost per month will be around $20-30 but until we get on a routine I don’t want to be declaring any numbers for sure. The same for treats. He definitely knows a lot of commands, since he’s 7 and was well-cared for, but we’ll need to retrain him so the treats budget will be a bit difficult to budget.

Crate, Bed

We ordered a Midwest Lifestages Double Door Fold & Carry Crate (36″L X 24″W X 27″H) for $60 from and we bought a bed from Petco a few weeks ago for around $20 (I can’t remember for sure). We’ll need to get another one because we’d like to have one upstairs and downstairs (without having to move it each time).

Things I Didn’t Know About

Tobey has already been microchipped and so all we needed to do was activate his HomeAgain registration, which meant a $14.99 annual fee.


I’d estimate the fixed and acquisition costs at around $270 and the recurring monthly costs at around $30-40 at least in the beginning. None of this factors in any medical expenses, such as his Interceptor heartworm preventative medication or Frontline, so we’ll have to figure those out as they happen. How does that compare with our total cost of owning a dog figures?

Meet Tobey!

Enough of the numbers, here’s a short video of me waking up Tobey, talking like Yoda for a few seconds, grabbing his ears and then saying good-bye. He pretty much sleeps while I work and I wake him up for walks every few hours so he can sniff all the wonderful smells!

{ 23 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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23 Responses to “Our New Dog Expenses”

  1. Gretchen says:

    Congrats on your new family members. Two bits of advice – one financial, the other dog related. The financial: start a dog emergency savings fund. What does this fund do? It provides a backup fund for emergency medical expenses, as well as replacement costs if Toby goes a bit haywire and chews your shoes. Hopefully, you’ll never need the fund, but as Tobey gets older things can crop up. I adopted a 10 year old seeing eye dog and within a year, had accumulated over $1,000.00 in non-routine expenses.

    As far as the dog advice goes: never forget that Beagles are scent hounds. Be sure to keep Tobey on a leash or in a well-confined yard at all times. I do rescue work and we get a ton of beagles that had obviously just wandered away from home, but we can’t find their owners. Good idea to get him microchipped by the way!

    Have fun. He seems like a great dog.

  2. Eric says:

    Happy for you…I like the name Tobey. 🙂

  3. Congrats on the dog. My dog growing up was named Toby, and he was a basset hound. He was the best dog I ever had. Good luck.

  4. Kira says:

    WAY Cool! We adopted a Yorkie (named Toby, no less) from an animal shelter in November. He came from a foster family who had found him deserted in a parking lot. (In the wave of Phoenix foreclosures there have been a lot of animals deserted.) He was 6 years old they say.

    It’s now April and we’re really starting to see a change in him. I think he’s finally adopted us now. I second the dog emergency fund though… he needed a serious teeth cleaning, so bad that we had to put him under to do it. The guy has marked territory on almost every leg of furniture we own, but we can’t imagine our life without him now.

    Congratulations on your Tobey! 🙂

  5. That dog’s eyes are just saying, “Dear god, just leave me alone!”

    Always good to a see an animal find a warm, loving home.

  6. Congrats, one clarification though. You can’t deduct adoption expenses unless they exceed the “value” of the dog. Since you got something in return for the adoption fee it is not a donation and not deductible. I’ve adopted from 2 shelters and paid them far above the normal adoption rates, but I didn’t try to deduct those costs since I received a dog in return. Many people are confused by this distinction, you aren’t the first to think the cost was deductible. I hope Tobey gives you many years of love and friendship.

  7. Katrin says:

    Hi! Congrats!!! 🙂 He is adorable.
    One thought, we also paid for the first year of HomeAgain registration for Nova. When it expired, we were hesitant to resign up especially since she is an inside cat so we talked to our vet and they told us that if she got out, we can call HomeAgain that day and resign up w/ $15 dollars, and they would reactivate the account right then. So, maybe this is a way for you to save $15 dollars a year :).

  8. OregonKat says:

    Jim: congratulations on the new addition to your family! He looks like alovely dog! If I may give you a money saving tip about heartworm medication. My dog was given this medication for free for years because she was a blood donor at a local animal emergency hospital. When she became too old to donate I had to pay for it myself….it is VERY expensive. I found a source of generic heartworm medication made in Australia and approved by the Australain FDA and EPA. It is available at a website named The savings are incredible and I can vouch for its efficacy – we used it for years.

  9. It looks like you have a nice dog. Good for you. I’ll bet he really appreciates his new home. Enjoy your companion.

    I picked up a Boston Terrier 3 years ago from the animal shelter here in Cheyenne. He’s a great dog and a great companion. They told me he was a “humper” so that’s what I named him. Fortunately, he’s a well mannered dog that is full of joy, so he only lives up to part of his name.

    His full name is Humper Go-Play Lickerson (a.k.a. Dude). He loves to play and has a need to taste everyone he meets. We just got back from the car dealership where I had my oil changed. The Dude goes in with and sits in the waiting area and enjoys greeting passersby.

    For the last three years, I’ve been feeding him a raw food diet, supplemented by desiccated liver tablets. He’s buff and shiny, and he enjoys the natural food. It costs more to feed him chicken, pork and beef, but he is well worth it.

    To me, the Dude is much more than a family dog, he’s my buddy and we go everywhere together. At 88 cents a pound, I can feed him chicken for way less than any vet recommended corn or rice based food. And, he loves fresh vegetables and fruit. Even the vets want to know what I’ve been feeding him.

    Humper’s favorite places to go include the bank, the ranch store, the home improvement stores, and the UPS store. He’s never on a leash, and he responds well to voice commands. He brings joy to the shoppers and employees, and knows just where to go to get the treats. In the bank, he immediately dashes under the half-height door and goes back with the tellers to get a dog biscuit.

    He is perhaps the best $150 I ever spent, and the extra I spend on raw food has kept him a happy and healthy dog.


  10. Vee says:

    So cute! Congrats. 🙂 I got a dog last year and it has been one of the best decisions of my life. So much happiness!

  11. HuBu says:

    Kirklands brand dog food from Costco is really good and cheap compared to brand name dog food. Plus it does not contain by products.

  12. nexstudios says:

    Congrats on Tobey! I’m new to your blog via JD Roth & the Personal Finance Hour! Great job on the podcast! Love it…keep ’em coming!

  13. Lisa B says:

    I second the emergency fund … not just for when Tobey gets older. In a bizarre inexplicable accident (I didn’t see what happened, so I really don’t know) my 18-month old dog broke her leg in my own (fenced) backyard. The radius and ulna of her right foreleg both broke completely and required surgery to install a plate and some screws. The total so far is $3,666, and I’ll spend more at the rehab vet before this is all done.

    This dog came to me “for free” … but we all know there’s no such thing as a free dog!

    Here’s hoping nothing bizarre or catastrophic happens to Tobey, but if it does it’s so much easier to deal with if you have some money saved up.

  14. Scott says:

    Congrats Jim!

  15. Money Beagle says:

    Congrats! Beagles ARE the best!!!!!!

  16. Patrick says:

    Congrats on getting your new Beagle. It’s great that you chose a local adoption agency over buying from a pet store. There are so many dogs, even puppies, at local shelters that all need homes.

    I am glad you decided to start using Blue Buffalo. Using quality dog food will make a huge difference and make sure your dog stays healthy.

  17. pmoa says:

    dont forget about boarding for when you go on vacation without the dog! Or just have parents around that will watch him. we save mad loot by just having heidi’s mom watch Fenway….

  18. What a funny and mellow dog. Congrats on the new addition to your family. Dogs just make a household so much livelier and happier. 🙂

    One other thing I would recommend is getting him some good dental treats and chew toys. Dental health is very important because not only does it make hanging out with him more odorifically pleasant, but it can affect his overall health.

    Maintaining good dental health can save you a lot in the long run by preventing heart and kidney disease as well as tooth decay and periodontal diseases.

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