Without question, the biggest expenses over time for a dog will be vet bills. These could be unexpected (“My puppy ate a sock and needs surgery to remove it!”) or completely normal (“My senior dog needs a major dental cleaning.”) Embrace Pet Insurance says the five breeds with the highest vet bills, based on 2020 claims, were Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Flat-coated Retrievers, Bullmastiffs and Newfoundlands.
Karen Leslie from The Pet Fund, a nonprofit paying vet bills for those in need, tells NPR that 60 percent of their grants go to cancer treatments for pets. “The typical bill for cancer can go as high as $10,000,” Leslie says. The National Canine Cancer Foundation says in general, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds and Rottweilers are the breeds most prone to cancer.
No matter the dog breed, you’ll need to stock up on supplies when you first adopt or buy. Crates, leashes and everything in between will add up quickly. Luckily, these are first-time purchases you won’t have to make every year (unless your dog outgrows things or chews through them). Every few years your dog may need booster vaccinations or new medications if they develop illnesses or get colds. If you travel a lot, be prepared to spend money on pet sitters or boarding facilities. If you work a lot, paying a dog walker to get your dog enough exercise will add to your expenses.