How much does a puppy cost?

Buying a puppy is extremely exciting, but it’s also a massive responsibility. It’s important to understand the financial obligations of buying and taking care of a puppy before you get swept away in the excitement. 

Read our guide to understand the real cost of buying a puppy.

Buying a puppy is extremely exciting, but it’s also a massive responsibility. It’s important to understand the financial obligations of buying and taking care of a puppy before you get swept away in the excitement. 

Read our guide to understand the real cost of buying a puppy.

Mubina Pirmohamed
Insurance expert
9
minute read
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Last Updated 18 JULY 2022

How expensive are puppies to buy? 

The prices of puppies can vary hugely, and we’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent loneliness of lockdown life can make puppy prices soar. In the UK, you can now expect price tags in the thousands for puppies from the most popular breeds, like Labradors, Dachshunds, Pugs, French Bulldogs, Cockapoos and Staffordshire terriers.

The price you’ll pay for your puppy depends on: 

  • the breed: the more in-demand breeds, like Labradors, cockapoos and French Bulldogs  will set you back more, while Jack Russell terriers, Whippets and Border Collies  tend to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
  • the heritage: if your pup comes from a prestigious line of pedigrees and their parents are award-winning show dogs, you’ll likely have to pay over the odds to take them home.
  • the reputation of the breeder: it’s not always the case (especially in times of such high demand), but if a breeder is charging a higher price tag, it suggests that they’ve provided their pups with higher quality care and may have already covered additional costs like screening tests for the parents (if they’re a breed prone to illnesses), de-worming and vaccinations. 

Be wary of any puppy prices that seem too good to be true. Low prices could indicate that the pups have received low-quality care, or worse, that they’ve come from a puppy mill. To try to protect puppies from the horrors of puppy mills, a new law passed in April 2020 called Lucy’s Law, means that anyone wanting to buy a puppy in England must buy direct from a breeder or adopt from a rescue centre. Puppy sellers must be licensed, and they must show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. 

Buying a puppy doesn’t necessarily have to be that expensive, though. If you’re not set on a particular breed, you can adopt puppies from a shelter or rescue centre instead, normally for a fraction of the price.

What other costs should I consider when buying a puppy? 

It’s so important to remember that buying the puppy is just the initial cost. There are lots of expenses on the new puppy checklist to account for in the first year, including: 

  • vaccinations
  • microchipping
  •  neutering/spaying
  •  puppy training
  • regular worming treatments
  • regular flea treatments
  • puppy insurance
  • feeding your puppy
  • dog-sitting
  • dog-grooming 

You’ll also need to buy lots of things for your new puppy. Here are a few new puppy essentials to add to the shopping list: 

  • dog bed
  • puppy crates
  • collars and leads/harnesses
  • water and food bowls
  • toys
  • poop bags 

The cost of these items could easily go into the hundreds of pounds. 

And that’s just the initial costs. When you’re considering buying a puppy, remember that you’re committing to take care of them for the rest of their lives, and that involves a substantial financial commitment. You’ll need to cover essentials like food, poo bags, toothpaste, regular check-ups, routine treatment and pet insurance for your dog each month.

And that’s not including the huge vet bills you may face if your four-legged friend gets sick or injured and you don’t have pet insurance.

How much do puppy vaccinations cost? 

Your puppy will get its first series of vaccinations when it’s between six and eight weeks old, and a second round one or two weeks later. In the UK, puppy vaccinations can cost between £30 and £60, depending on the vet. 

If you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder or rescue centre, these first set of vaccinations will already have been done before your new puppy comes home with you. When you buy or adopt your puppy, make sure you ask for details of any vaccinations or treatments that your pup has received so far and check if or when they need their second dose.

You’ll need to take the puppy in for a booster vaccination after a year.

How much will it cost to spay or neuter my puppy? 

If you’re not planning on breeding from your pup down the line, you’ll need to get it neutered (for a male pup) or spayed (for a female pup). The price can vary widely, but getting your male puppy castrated is normally a bit cheaper because, unlike spaying, it doesn’t involve any internal organs: 

  • Spaying a female puppy can cost between £130 and £365
  • Neutering or castrating a male puppy can cost between £110 and £300 

The cost to neuter or spay your puppy also depends on the breed of your dog and its size. Bigger dogs will need more anaesthetic and so tend to cost more. 

There is help available if you can’t afford it. Both the RSPCA and the Blue Cross offer more affordable veterinary care for those that are struggling to afford treatments that promote responsible pet ownership, like neutering, microchipping and vaccinations.

Is it expensive to train my puppy? 

It’s wise to get some professional help and guidance to train your puppy, especially if you’re a first-time puppy parent. Not only will it teach them (and you) the building blocks of good manners, but it will also help socialise your puppy and get them used to being around other people and dogs. 

The price of puppy training depends on where you live, the age of your puppy and whether you want private or group classes. 

You’ll normally get better rates if you sign up to a block of lessons or an intensive course.

How much does worming and other routine treatments cost? 

Puppies are most at risk of getting worms because they can be passed on from their mother in her womb or through her milk. Worming treatment normally comes in tablet form or as a powder to mix into your pup’s dinner. 

Worming treatment begins when they are just two to three weeks old and is repeated fortnightly until they're 12 weeks old. Treatment then drops to once a month until they reach six months of age. After that regular de-worming is recommended throughout your dog’s life at least four times a year.

Although your puppy will already have received some treatment when you take them home with you, it’s important to keep up the worming treatment to keep them well.

A treatment generally costs £10 to £15 each time. You can buy them from a pet shop, or direct from your vet, but make sure the one you buy is suitable for your dog’s breed and size. 

Your pup will also need flea treatments once a month to keep those horrible little pests at bay. Flea treatment cost around £4 to £5 a month from your vet or pet store. It can come either in tablet form or as a liquid solution that you drop onto your dog’s neck. And like with worming treatments, you’ll need to make sure the one you use is right for the size of your dog. 

There’s an increasing number of subscription services out there that will deliver regular flea and worming treatments direct to your door, if you’re worried about forgetting. Find out more about flea and worm treatments.

What costs will pet insurance cover?

Dogs are expensive. Even just providing them with the food, warmth and stimulation they need on a regular basis is expensive. But imagine if the worst should happen and your beloved dog gets sick or is hurt in an accident. You could end up facing huge bills to get your pup back on its paws. 

Depending on the level of cover you choose, puppy insurance may cover the costs of any treatment your puppy needs if they get hurt in an accident or fall ill. It could pay for emergency trips to the vets, medication and surgeries. Depending on the policy you choose, it may also cover things like dental work, kennel fees to house your dog if you fall ill, or even vet care for when you’re travelling abroad.

Pet insurance normally won’t cover you for things like regular check-ups or for the costs of the neutering/spaying surgeries, vaccinations and routine worming/flea treatments that we’ve discussed above. To cover these sorts of costs, you should consider a pet health care plan, which are commonly available through vets or other providers. Pet insurance normally won’t cover you for any pre-existing medical conditions either, so it’s a good idea to get puppy insurance from an early age.

How much does puppy insurance cost? 

The price of puppy insurance depends on the level of cover you choose, as well as the breed of dog you’re insuring. Breeds that are prone to hereditary health problems and diseases will be more expensive to insure. 

We found that 51% of people could achieve a quote of up to £140.52 per year for their dog insurance based on Compare the Market data for all cover types in June, 2022.

Find out how much it would cost to insure your paw-fect pup

Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to feed a puppy?

It can cost between £25 and £50 a month to feed a dog, depending on your dog’s size and whether you choose to feed them dry food, wet food, or a combination of the two. That means you’re looking at between £300 and £600 a year to feed your dog, although you might be able to reduce puppy food costs somewhat by buying in bulk. 

You’ll also need to factor in treats though, especially during puppy training, and that could set you back an additional £12 a month.

How much will it cost to microchip my puppy?

You’ll need to get your pup microchipped if it’s not already. Since April 2016, microchipping your dog has been required by law. You’ll need to go to your vet to get your puppy microchipped and it can cost between £15 and £30, depending on the vet.

How much will I spend on dog toys?

Dog toys are not a frivolous spend – they’re an important investment to save your furniture! Toys generally cost between £5 and £20, and you’ll need a good variety. Balls and rope toys are generally a bit cheaper, but don’t tend to last long. But let’s face it, no toy is likely to last long if your dog is a fan.

How much do puppy beds and crates cost?

Your puppy needs somewhere to nap and relax during the day. Dog beds can range from £10 to £100, depending on the size, style and quality. 

You’ll also need a crate for your pup to sleep in at night to keep them out of mischief while you’re catching up on sleep. You can find crates from as little as £25 or as much as £200, depending on the size of your dog and the quality you choose.

How much do collars and harnesses cost?

Your puppy will go through a few different collars as they’re growing. You’re looking at between £5 and £25 for a collar and between £15 and £100 for a harness. 

When you start walking your dog, you’ll also need to buy poo bags regularly. You’re looking at between £2 and £10 for degradable poo bags, depending on how much you buy at once. But that’s considerably less than picking up a fine for not cleaning up after your pup.

How much does dog grooming cost?

Not all dogs will need professional grooming, but longer-coated dogs might need a professional trim every now and then. You could pay anything from £25 to £70 per visit depending on the size of the dog.

How much will doggy day care or dog walking cost?

Puppies need a lot of care and if you work long hours, you may need to arrange for a dog walking service or even put your pup into doggie day care. You will normally be looking at between £10 and £20 per dog per walk for a professional dog walker. Dog day care services range from between £20 and £40 per day, depending on the centre and the facilities they offer.

Are there any seasonal costs I should consider?

Shorter-haired dog breeds can get chilly in the cold winter months, so you may need to invest in a dog coat or two to keep your pooch warm. Dog coats can cost anywhere between £15 and £50, with lighter fleeces being cheaper and waterproof wax styles often the most expensive.

During a hot summer, you may also need to splurge a little to keep your best friend cool. Cooling mats cost between £10 and £60. You could also buy a little paddling pool for your dog to cool off in for as little as £10, but make sure you don’t choose an inflatable version, as it won’t last long!

Looking for puppy insurance? 

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