Pero I can do it too

owning three dogs

Let’s talk about the cost of owning multiple dogs because you can often get carried away with cuteness overload! Dogs are expensive, and you need to know if this is a financial decision you can currently afford.


Let’s explore the costs of owning multiple dogs and what you must prepare for.


Initial costs of owning multiple dogs


  1. Adoption fee: Adoption fees can vary widely depending on the breed and age of the dogs and where you adopt them from. On average, adopting a dog from a shelter can cost $50 to $300 per dog. If you are getting a dog from a breeder, it can cost from $500 to $3,000 or more.
  2. Initial medical costs: Budget for veterinary visits, which include vaccinations, microchipping, spaying, or neutering. This can total approximately $300 to $1,600 per dog. Prices vary by location and breed. I suggest you call your local veterinary clinic and ask for quotes so that you are aware of the prices in your area before moving forward.
  3. Supplies: The essentials are necessary, such as leashes, collars, crates, beds, and bowls, which can cost around $300 per dog. Check your Buy Nothing Project page on Facebook for items other families are ready to pass on for free.


Recurring monthly costs of owning multiple dogs


  1. Food: The cost of food varies per breed, size, and dietary needs. The best you can do is research what food you would choose and how much the breed you are thinking of usually eats to estimate the cost. However, something you cannot predict is if your dog will have dietary needs, in which case the price will increase.
  2. Insurance: Insurance is a must! Trust me, your future self will thank you! The price varies depending on the tier of coverage you choose. Most insurance policies require you to pay a deductible, and they only cover a certain percentage. Ensure you ask what the policy covers so that you are not surprised down the line. It will definitely provide peace of mind.
  3. Vet visits: Regular vet check-ups, flea and tick prevention, and dental care are essential. Annual exams can add up quickly, depending on your dog’s health. Do know that vet visits are out-of-pocket expenses, and you file with your insurance to get reimbursed. An emergency fund for your dog is crucial to avoid accruing debt for unexpected vet visits.
  4. Grooming: The grooming price depends on size, breed, and location. Private grooming businesses tend to be more expensive—professional grooming costs between $40 and $120 per dog on average.
  5. Training and exercise: Investing in training can ensure your dogs are well-behaved and safe. In a perfect world, what type of training would you like to give your dog and do your research on costs?


Unexpected and miscellaneous costs


  1. Pet sitting/Miscellaneous: If you travel, boarding your dogs or hiring a pet sitter can add up. Boarding prices vary depending on location and how many dogs you have.
  2. Home and yard maintenance: With more dogs comes more wear and tear on your home and yard. Budget for potential repairs and maintenance.


owning multiple dogs
We are all matching for Venus's birthday! (left to right: Nova, Atlas and Venus)


Here are our costs for three dogs in the state of Washington


We have three dogs! We cannot imagine life without them; they brighten our day. Their names are Atlas, Nova, and Venus. Atlas and Nova are sisters from the same dog parents. Two years later, we added Venus, our final dog. She keeps Atlas and Nova on their toes, which I really love because Atlas and Nova can nap all day.


Going from no dogs to getting two was definitely an adjustment to our budgets and bank accounts. Yikes! After running the numbers for the third one, we realized we could comfortably afford it and moved forward.


Our initial costs


  1. Adoption fee: $3,000 for Nova, and I negotiated the fee for Atlas, which landed at $1,500. Two years later, from the exact location, I negotiated again, and the fee was $1,500 for Venus—a total of $6,000 for our fur babies.
  2. Initial medical costs: Atlas and Nova’s spay, microchip, exams, and vaccinations cost around $2,600. Since we had insurance from the very beginning, we received a 90% reimbursement. The total out-of-pocket was $260. Venus’s out-of-pocket was $1,345 due to her insurance being different from Atlas and Nova. The total was $1,605.
  3. Supplies: When we first brought them home, we spent around $400 for Atlas and Nova. Adding Venus, we did not need extra supplies since she started using much of what we had.


To start, our total cost was $8,0005 for three dogs.


Our recurring monthly costs


  1. Food: This has changed over the years because Atlas is now allergic to chicken. We switched to salmon, but her tummy did not like Salmon. She is now on a prescribed diet, and each bag costs $120. Thankfully, due to her insurance, we get 90% reimbursed due to her allergies. For Nova and Venus, monthly food is $180, and Atlas is $27. A total of $207 for monthly food.
  2. Insurance: As I mentioned, insurance is a must! Atlas and Nova’s insurance is $220 monthly, and Venus’s is $44 monthly. The total for monthly insurance is $264.
  3. Vet visits: Regular vet check-ups usually cost us around $500 for each dog. Flea and tick prevention medication costs $90 a month. A dental cleaning costs $950 per dog. The regular dog cleaning chewy costs $111 for three dogs. Costs add up very quickly, but the way we see it is that all of these check-ups add to the health of our dogs.
  4. Grooming: The highest-tier grooming for three dogs costs $260 in total. We schedule this once a quarter and do the rest of the baths at home.
  5. Training and exercise: We have not taken our dogs to training, but this can add up quickly. My husband and I have done all the training at home, watching videos and learning from other dog parents.


This brings us to a total of $932 a month, including all the numbers above, except for vet annual visits and dental cleaning, which are yearly costs.


Our unexpected and miscellaneous costs


  1. Pet sitting/Miscellaneous: We travel quite often, and this is an expense we have to budget for. Depending on our trip length, our dog sitter can cost us from $120 to $1,700. We hire a dog sitter to stay home with them and give them daily walks. Atlas, Nova, and Venus can be anxious outside the house, which works for our dogs. Unexpected trips to the ER are something I account for in their savings. Atlas ate something off the counter, and I had to rush her to the ER. The vet bill came out to be $2,100, but again, 90% of that was reimbursed, and it is times like these that I am so grateful all our dogs have insurance.
  2. Home and yard maintenance: We buy carpet brushes and cleaners in case of accidents. We get the carpet cleaned once a year, and that is $300.


I love all three dogs and would not change them for the world! If there is something I forgot or you have on your budget, add it to the comments below. It will help our readers best prepare for their new fur baby!


Owning multiple dogs is such a fun experience, but it comes with significant financial responsibilities.


This is your reminder to run your numbers when adding one or more dogs to the family to avoid stress in the future and provide a loving and healthy environment for your new family member.


When we work together:


  • I help you understand how to run your numbers every time you want to make a financial decision
  • I help you manage your money in a way that works for YOU
  • I help you enjoy your life now while you work on your financial goals and plan for your future


If this resonates with you, I invite you to work with me! I want to help you live on your terms without financial stress. It would be an honor to be part of your money journey. Book a sales call.


I cannot wait to be part of your journey!

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Orlenda Cortez

Welcome to my corner on the internet! I’m obsessed with using money as a tool because it led me to pay off $30K in consumer debt in a year and a half, helped me save $20K in nine months to have my dream wedding in Costa Rica and is helping me build the life I never saw my family experience. Now I want to help others do the same!

Orlenda Cortez
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