When you think about the cost of owning a puppy, it’s not just the purchase or adoption fee that’s involved in the first year. You’ll also need to keep in mind such things as vet care, training, food, council registration, even toys and treats.
So how much can you expect to pay for a puppy, and how do the costs break down?
How much does a puppy cost to adopt?
Adopting a puppy can cost anywhere from $220 to $480, depending on the age of the dog, according to RSPCA NSW. The cost takes into account the cost of caring for the animal prior to adoption, and includes things such as microchipping, desexing, vaccinations and flea and worming treatments.
RSPCA NSW says that a puppy aged under six months is likely to cost you around $480, whereas a dog aged from six months to eight years will cost $440 and an older dog aged eight years plus will cost $220, although these prices can vary.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in record numbers of dog adoptions, with shelters emptying out as Aussies seek companionship while locked down or working from home, so increased demand may also affect dog adoption prices.
How much does a puppy cost to buy?
If you have your heart set on a particular breed of dog, then buying a puppy from a registered breeder in Australia can cost thousands of dollars. The COVID-19 pandemic has also driven up the prices of purebred dogs, with many breeders now having long waiting lists. Breeders have reported the cost of buying some popular breeds has tripled in price.
While there are many breeds, recent Canstar research shows that popular dog breeds such as cavoodles can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000, while french bulldogs and miniature dachshunds commonly sell for $5,000 and upwards.
If you want a border collie, then the ever-popular family dog breed can start at $1,800, while German shepherds start at $1,300. The price of a purebred pup can vary greatly depending on the breed and the individual breeder, though. Prospective buyers are urged to check if the breeder is registered as a member of the Australian National Kennel Council and to also check the genetic history of the puppy before purchasing.
How much do vet fees cost for a puppy?
Vet fees for a puppy in the first year can cost anywhere from $490 to $1,050 and up, depending on the dog and its specific needs, according to the RSPCA. These numbers take into account specific things that your puppy is likely to need such as:
- Desexing: $200-500, depending on the age, size and breed of the dog.
- Flea and worming treatments and heartworm prevention: $120-$300.
- Puppy vaccinations: $170-$250.
In addition to these expenses, microchipping can cost between $60-80.
The RSPCA notes that if you adopt a puppy from a shelter, it will already be desexed, treated for fleas and worms, and microchipped, and the cost of this will likely be built into the price of adoption.
How much does it cost to register a puppy with your council?
The cost of registering a dog in Australia can range from $23 to $201 per year, according to the RSPCA. This price depends on factors such as what your particular local council charges, the type of dog you have, and whether or not it is desexed.
In general terms, you are likely to pay more in registration fees if your dog is not desexed. Your local council may also give a discount on registration costs for dogs adopted through an approved facility, and many will also give pensioner or other discounts.
Typically, when your dog is registered, your local council will send out nylon or plastic identification tags to hang on its collar, and you may be able to buy a personalised metal ID tag for an extra cost.
What extra costs come with having a puppy?
There are many things you will need to buy for your new puppy, such as food and water bowls, leads and collars, and some that may be optional, including crates, new toys, harnesses and car restraints, as well as such things as training and puppy school. Extra expenses you may face when buying a puppy include*:
Food and water bowls
Stainless steel and plastic bowls can start from $7 at major pet retailers, while ceramic ones can cost $25 or more. Specialised dog bowls that come with ridges to stop your pup from eating too quickly can cost $15 to $20 and up.
Basic fabric dog collars can start at around $15, while more leather varieties and more decorative studded ones can cost $40 to $65. A harness for your dog, which can be used for travel in the car and for walking, can cost anywhere from $36 to $79 or more, depending on the size of your dog.
Classic dog leads, with a clip for your dog’s collar and a handle for walking, can cost from $18 to $45 and upwards, depending on the length and quality. A retractable lead, which can be clicked in and out to adjust its length as needed, can cost anywhere from $21 to $84, depending on the size you require and the quality.
While you will not be required by law to keep your dog restrained while in the car, the RSPCA recommends it. Dogs are prohibited from being in the driver’s area of a car, though, and it is an offense to drive with a dog in your lap. Police can likewise issue an infringement notice if your dog is jumping around the car and causing a distraction, hanging out a window or doing something that can cause you to not be in control of a vehicle. Adjustable car restraints can cost between $10 and $55, depending on the size and style.
Dog beds can cost anywhere from $60 to $200, depending on the size and the plushness of the material material. Small puppies are prone to accidents, so you may want to hold off on a more expensive purchase until your new furry friend is toilet trained, to avoid your purchase getting ruined.
Crates can cost anywhere from $55 to $280 and upwards, depending on the size of your dog. Paws says that crate training can be useful for house and toilet training new puppies, and can satisfy a dog’s urge to be in a den. If you plan on doing it, it is ideal to purchase a crate large enough for your dog to stand and move around in. Portable crates can cost between $129 and $209.
Crate mats can provide a soft lining for a puppy’s crate, and are more easily washable than dog beds if your dog has an accident. These can start at $25 and cost upwards of $100, depending on the size and material. Soft pet blankets, which can also be used for this purpose, cost between $15 and $30.
If your dog is going to be living inside with you most of the time, then you may decide you have no need for a kennel, but if you want one for outside, they will typically cost between $100 and $299. A portable, soft-top dog cabana could cost between $163 and $269, depending on the size of your dog.
The type of food you buy will depend on your dog’s particular needs; many dog food brands will make specialised puppy foods, some of them specific to a particular breed, with nutrients required for growing dogs, and smaller kibble than adult dog foods. The RSPCA estimates you could pay up to $800 a year for food, but it will depend on the type and quality you buy.
Puppys school can be fun for both pets and owners and can be a good way to learn about caring for your new furry friend, and teaching it to play nicely and bond with other dogs. OneFlare, which advertises dog training services around Australia, estimates that the average cost of puppy school ranges from $100 to $250.
The price of dog toys varies, and how much you spend may come down to how much you want to spoil your new furry friend. Smaller cloth and plastic toys can start from $6 to $10 and more expensive soft toys and plastic bones can cost $30 and up. In general terms, the most important thing is to make sure the toys you purchase will be safe for your particular breed of dog.
Treats are useful for training puppies and to give as a reward, and it’s up to you how many you want to dole out. The main consideration is to make sure that you’re buying treats that are appropriate for puppies. A small bag can start at $6 and you can pay up to $21 for larger bags.
There are many reasons you might choose doggy daycare – you might want someone to look after your pup through the workday, or you may want it to socialise with other dogs. Canstar research found that you can expect to pay between $55 and $70 per full day session for doggy daycare, and once your pup’s old enough, two to three days a week is recommended. Some centres also offer doggy taxi services from $20.
The annual cost of grooming can depend on the breed, frequency and size of your dog, and the RSPCA estimates it can cost between $70-$90.
*Source: To work out estimated costs, Canstar checked prices on items by two major pet supply retail chains offering online ordering to Australian residents. Estimates are correct at the time of writing.
How much does pet insurance cost for a dog?
If you’re looking for a good deal on pet insurance for your dog, then you can compare pet insurance with Canstar. Each year, Canstar gives out Awards recognising the pet insurance that gives Aussies the best value for money, in the categories of accident and illness cover, as well as comprehensive cover. We also give an Award to the pet insurance provider that has the most satisfied customers, so if you’re thinking about pet insurance for your new puppy, this could be the place to start.
Sub-edited by Milan Cuk. Cover image source: Sigma_S/Shutterstock.com