Bringing a dog into your family can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. They’ll think you’re the most awesome human on the planet—that’s pretty much their job. But feeding and taking care of a dog can be expensive. So if you’re thinking about adopting a new best friend, creating a dog budget to be sure you’re financially prepared is the first thing you’ll want to do. Here are key expenses to consider.

1. Initial costs

When you bring your new dog home for the first time, there are a few costs you’ll want to be prepared for:

  • Adoption fees: If you adopt from a shelter or rescue organization, expect to pay an adoption fee ranging from $50 to $500, depending on the dog’s breed and age. If you’re planning to get a dog from a breeder, that can cost a lot more—often into the thousands.
  • Initial medical expenses: Your new pup will need a veterinary checkup, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and possibly a microchip. Initial medical costs can range from $200 to $500. (If you’re adopting from a shelter or rescue organization, all of this has often already been done, so you’ll want to confirm that.)
  • Supplies: There are a few things you’ll need to buy for your dog, including a bed, crate, food and water bowls, a leash and collar, toys, grooming tools, and initial food. And treats. (Don’t forget the treats!) You’ll want to budget around $200 to $300 for these things.

2. Costs to plan for each month

Once your dog is settled in, you’ll need to plan for a few ongoing expenses:

  • Food: Just like us, a dog’s gotta eat. The cost of dog food varies depending on your dog’s size, age, and whether they need a special diet. Expect to spend between $30 and $80 per month for good-quality dog food.
  • Treats and toys: Keeping your dog entertained (so that they don’t get bored and eat your couch) and rewarding them for good behavior is important. Plan to spend about $10 to $30 per month for treats and toys.
  • Health and wellness: In addition to regular checkups, medications to protect your dog from heartworm (as well as fleas and ticks) are important. Plan on spending $30 to $50 per month on these preventive treatments. And don’t forget about pet insurance, which can be $20 to $50 per month depending on the coverage plan and your dog’s breed and age. To decide whether pet insurance is right for you and your dog, check out our list of pet insurance pros and cons.
  • Grooming: Some long-haired dogs need regular grooming to keep their coats healthy and clean. Most dogs also usually need to have their nails trimmed. If you have a breed that needs frequent grooming, or you need to have their nails trimmed regularly, budget about $30 to $90 per session. That can be monthly or bi-monthly, depending on your dog.

3. Yearly costs

In addition to monthly expenses, there are several annual costs to consider:

  • Veterinary visits: Annual checkups are essential to monitor your dog’s health and catch any issues early. These visits typically cost between $100 and $200, including vaccinations and routine blood work.
  • License and registration: It sounds like what the police ask for when you get pulled over, but you actually do need to have a license and registration for your dog in most counties. The cost varies depending on where you live, but it’s generally between $10 and $50 each year.
  • Dental care: Yep, just like humans, dental cleanings are important for your dog’s overall health and can prevent serious health issues down the road. Dog dental cleanings can cost between $300 and $800 annually. (Pet insurance generally doesn’t cover that.)

4. Prepare for the unexpected

No matter how well you plan, when you’re a dog parent you will run into unexpected costs from time to time.

  • Emergency veterinary care: Injuries and illnesses do happen, and emergency veterinary care can be very expensive. An emergency vet visit (especially after hours) can cost anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars. Having pet insurance or a dedicated emergency fund can help take the edge off these costs.
  • Training: Behavioral training is important, especially for puppies or newly adopted dogs. Training can cost between $100 and $300 for a series of classes (usually 4-8). You can also work with a private trainer, but they’ll generally be more expensive.
  • Boarding or pet-sitting: If you travel regularly, you’ll need to budget for boarding or pet-sitting services to care for your pup while you’re gone. Boarding can cost between $25 and $85 per night, and pet sitters (who can either stay at your house or stop by to feed and spend time with your dog) may charge $20 to $50 for each visit.

 5. Create a canine budget

Now that you have an idea of all the potential costs, here’s how to create a dog budget:

  • List all possible expenses: initial, monthly, annual, and potential unexpected costs.
  • Set up an emergency fund: aim to have at least $1,000 saved for unexpected veterinary expenses.
  • Review and adjust: regularly review your budget to account for changes in your dog’s needs as they age or if they develop health issues.