How Much is Too Much? Spoiling Your Dog Affordably

Can we really put a dollar amount on the things we love? We don’t love products for their prices, we appreciate them for the services they provide. Some products help us cultivate our style and other products help us survive in our day-to-day living. It’s the same situation for our four-legged companions. Our dogs need just as much care, pampering and love as we do; they may even deserve it more. Think about: has there ever been a time that you haven’t wanted to reward your dog simply for being cute? Whether you have a dog or are thinking about adopting one (#adoptdontshop), here are some things to ponder on your next shopping trip.

Ginger Grant the dogThe Cost of Owning a Dog

There are a lot of costs that come with owning a dog. In order to be a good dog owner, you must be able to provide through thick and thin. The website Companion Animal Psychology (a website that specializes in reporting the science and nuances of the relationship shared between human and animal) reports that of the 5-7 million pets that circulate through animals shelters across the U.S., half of them have been surrendered by their owners. One of the main reasons owners are having to give up their pets is money. Let’s take a quick look at some of the basic and necessary annual costs that come with owning a dog as ascertained by veterinary doctors Foster and Smith:

  • Food: $500
  • Vaccines: $150
  • Vet Bills: $400
  • Spay/Neuter: $200

Just for the basics, a potential dog owner is already looking at $1,250 just for one year. This does not include the dog’s crate, bed or toys. Here’s what doctors Foster and Smith estimate the cost of the “puppy goodies” would come to, if puppy parents were to purchase these toys and accessories on the expensive side:

  • Bed: $150
  • Bowls: $25
  • Collars: $20
  • Leash: $20
  • Treats: $100
  • Chew Bones: $150

This comes to total of $465 a year. Remember, this still doesn’t include grooming, vitamins, the heartworm pill, flea control or obedience training. In their grand total, Foster and Smith estimate that an owner paying for every full-priced expense (including products not itemized on the lists presented above) would pay a whopping $12,500 per year. You can still provide for and spoil your pet without going into debt. All you have to remember is, “less is more.”

Quantity vs. Quality

As a dog owner, you probably find yourself in a pet store or in the pet aisle every time you go out to run your errands. Think about the dog collars that you see for sale at brick and mortar stores. Don’t you go for the collar and toys that you think will get more bang for your buck? You buy cheap so that you can buy more, but what inevitably happens is the collar falls apart after your first few walks and the toys are chewed up into soggy little bits after an hour’s worth of play. This means you replace the toys and collar you bought every time you go out. These tacked-on expenses add up quickly. Of course everyone wants to spoil their dog, but there’s a better way to do it.

The truth of it is, your dog CAN have his biscuit and eat it too. There are affordable dog collars for sale online, sold by reputable establishments like HotDogCollars. These companies specialize in providing puppy parents high-quality and cost-effective (and customizable!) doggie merch and toys that are as affordable as they are well-made.

Does Sampson the sheep dog really need five busted chew bones when he can have three challenging tug-of-war ropes? Your dog will love whatever toy or collar you get for him, just get him a gift he can enjoy for weeks to come, not just an hour in the park.

About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving single mom into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!


  1. Thank you Henrietta for doing and showing the research. I knew pets were expensive, but $12500.. I just did the $1250 basic and then $500 for food until illness strikes or fur grew out of control and needed to be groomed.

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