Though you can’t put a price on cold puppy nose kisses, you’re probably sacrificing a large portion of your small budget to take care of your best friend. Checkups, food, pet sitters — they all add up fast. But have you ever wondered if you’re paying too much because of where you live?
According to a joint study completed by Redfin, Trupanion, and Rover.com, the total cost of dog ownership varies drastically across the country. Data analysts looked at the major expenses dog owners face across 116 major U.S. cities to determine how they ranked:
- San Francisco, California
- Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- Aurora, Colorado
- Portland, Oregon
- Chula Vista, California
The Least Expensive Cities to Have a Dog
- Phoenix, Arizona
- The Woodlands, Texas
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Detroit, Michigan
- Fayetteville, North Carolina
How did they figure all of this out? They took three big expenses of dog ownership into consideration:
Real estate analysts at Walk Score, a Redfin company, discovered that prices for dog-friendly rentals were typically 6% more expensive than the average cost of rentals in each respective city.
Out of the top five, owners spent as little as 11% more in Chula Vista, to up to 20% more in Aurora. What’s that in numbers? A normal rental in Aurora is $1,363, but a dog-friendly one was $1,638. Big difference.
Dog friendly rentals in the least expensive cities were cheaper than average. Compare a normal rental in Phoenix ($1,400) to a dog-friendly one ($1,101) and you’ll notice a 21% decrease.
Don’t forget that it’s also harder to find affordable pet-friendly housing. Across all cities, only 16.5% of rentals even allowed dogs!
Using a health plan with a $250 deductible for a mixed breed dog, Trupanion, a medical insurance provider for dogs, checked on the average monthly payment for medical coverage. They learned that owners were paying $69.59 in Ft. Lauderdale versus $32.45 in Detroit.
To check on the costs of dog sitters and doggie daycare, Rover, a network of dog sitters for hire, weighed in on the costs associated with both. The average daily rate for a dog sitter in an expensive city like San Francisco was $34.75, while in a more affordable city like Fayetteville, it was only $17.97.
And doggie daycare tuition in Portland was $29.17/day, compared to just $21.14/day in Nashville.
Do keep in mind that whether your dog is neutered or not can affect options (and costs). Many doggie daycare facilities will not allow intact (unneutered males) to attend day care, so that could bring your dog care costs to another higher bracket if you require a private sitter. Also, intact dogs are usually nominally more expensive to get required municipal licenses and tags for, so there are some financial as well as health and temperament considerations for getting your dog “fixed.”
As the American Humane Society says, “Hundreds of thousands of people relinquish their pets to animal shelters every year simply because they cannot easily find pet-friendly housing.” Dogs are also frequently abandoned due to the rising costs of ownership.
Whether you’re thinking about adopting a new best friend, or moving to a new city with your old buddy, don’t forget to check the cost of living for your dog when you’re crunching the numbers.