Discover the True Cost of Keeping a Dog in the UK

Are you thinking about buying a dog but would like an idea of how much they cost to keep?

We think you might be surprised at how much it all adds up to but we’re confident all dog owners will agree; they’re so worth it!

As no two dogs are the same and different breeds have different needs, we’ll base our research on the Miniature Schnauzer, which is the breed of puppy shown in the photo below:

Miniature Schnauzer cost

On this page, we’ll cover:

  • purchase price
  • immunisation and first veterinary check-up costs
  • follow up booster vaccines
  • insurance/vet bills
  • worming, flea treatments, spaying/neutering
  • microchipping, rabies jab and the Pet Passport
  • puppy training/obedience and socialisation classes
  • equipment, dog bed, bowls, toys, collars, leads
  • food including treats and special diet food
  • grooming, nail clipping and dental work
  • kennel fees

In a hurry? Skip to the end of this page and see the cost here.

Cost to Buy a Miniature Schnauzer

Responsible owners buy from caring and professional breeders and while you’ll pay more, we suggest you do the same.

Not only does this mean your puppy is likely to be healthier and live longer but your cash won’t be used to fund puppy farms where animals are mistreated.

According to the Kennel Club in 2017, 41% of puppy owners never saw their pet with its mother.

Of course, you could hunt around and find a cheap puppy but we think it’s best to go with a registered and responsible breeder.

You’ll probably save on future vet bills if you do, a sick dog could cost you many thousands of pounds in vet bills.

Based on our research in 2018, the cost to purchase a Miniature Schnauzer from an approved breeder is around £800, although we found variations depending on where in the UK the breeder is based.

Pro tip:

Our guide can help you identify a bad breeders advert but there is still more you can do to ensure that you aren’t funding the cruel puppy trade and to ensure that you’re buying a healthy, happy puppy.

RSPCA puppy buying guide

Immunisation and First Veterinary Checks

Puppy immunisations not only protect your pet from common illnesses and diseases, they also protect other dogs from illnesses your dog could be carrying.

A first veterinary check is where your puppy will be weighed and its ears, eyes, nose, throat, teeth, gums and heartbeat will be checked.

A full set of immunisations will be given over two visits.

The first dose is usually given at 8 weeks and the second 2 weeks later.

Puppy vaccinations cost around £60 and when combined with a first veterinary “check-up”, which is recommended, the final cost will be around £100.

This page has more detailed information about dog immunisation costs.

Pro tip:

It is best to try to establish a good relationship with your vet so that he/she is always familiar with your dog. You could potentially be visiting them for the next fifteen years so establishing a good relationship now will often make things easier further down the line.

– The Kennel club

Booster Vaccines

Immunisation booster vaccines are usually given on your dog’s first birthday and then every 2-3 years.

The booster is a weaker variant of the initial vaccine and is often slightly cheaper.

If you fail to give your dog its booster injection within 4 years since its last treatment, you may need to pay for the full treatment again.

Booster injections cost around £40.

puppyInsurance and Vet Bills

This is the big one.

The cost of insuring a puppy pedigree Miniature Schnauzer with a plan for one year is around £278 (Petplan checked May 2021)

Unfortunately, as your puppy grows older, the annual cost goes only one way.

The level of cover also decreases with age as most insurers won’t cover existing illnesses.

At age 10, the cost shoots up to £540 per year. (Petplan checked May 2021)

All these prices are for basic cover, expect to pay more for lifetime cover that includes the ongoing treatment of illnesses beyond the 12 months of cover.

Our research suggests you’ll pay around £5000-£7000 for insurance and vet charges during the life of your pet.

Don’t forget that every policy has exclusions and policy excess charges.

Spaying/Neutering, Worming and Flea Treatments

Worming and flea treatments need to given throughout your pet’s life. We suggest you budget £10 per month for a small dog like a miniature schnauzer.

Spaying is a surgical procedure where the ovaries and uterus are removed to prevent pregnancy.

Neutering is a procedure carried out on male dogs, the testicles are removed.

Both procedures are recommended for first-time dog owners or those who do not intend to breed their pets.

The cost of spaying/neutering will depend on the size of the animal. For a small dog, our research suggests around £200 is the going rate, perhaps slightly higher for spaying as this is a more invasive procedure.

Pro tip:

Like teenagers going to the prom, when dogs with raging hormones get together at the wrong time, you could have undesirable consequences.


Rabies, Microchipping and the Pet Passport

Rabies is an infectious disease that’s found in most countries, including many within the EU.

Fortunately, the UK has eliminated this illness but you will need to give your pet dog the rabies vaccine if you plan to take it abroad.

You’ll also need proof of up to date immunisation boosters and rabies boosters, a microchip (now mandatory even in the UK) and a Pet Passport.

Rabies jab – £35

Microchip – £20

Pet Passport – £100


The world’s first photo booth specifically for pet passport photos has opened in London.

RSA Group

Puppy Training and Socialisation Classes

If you think dog training lessons are all about teaching your dog, you only know half the story.

They are actually designed to train the owner so he or she knows how to reward and punish the dog appropriately, this ensures the pet is well behaved and follows its owners’ instructions.

Socialisation classes are an important step for any puppy, especially if you don’t have any other dogs in your home. Without appropriate socialisation at a young age, your dog can become overly defensive, aggressive, possessive and may pose a threat to other dogs, animals and even humans.

Group puppy training and socialisation classes usually cost around £10-15 per hour and we suggest a minimum of 5 hours spread over a few weeks.

Dedicated and specialist one-to-one help for troublesome dogs will cost far more than this and take much longer, so early socialisation and training are recommended practices.

Pro tip:

Socialisation has a big influence on your puppy. It teaches them about the world they live in and how they should react to normal, everyday events. A well-socialised puppy is more likely to grow up to be a friendly and outgoing dog.

Dogs that haven’t been socialised can have serious behavioural problems. They are more likely to be aggressive towards people or other dogs, suffer from anxiety and fear, and develop behaviour problems.



A sleeping cage with a dog mat will cost around £40 for a small dog.

A travel case to put in toys, dog food, poop bags etc when travelling will cost around £15.

Dog leads and collars need to be replaced as and when needed, so budget for £15 per year.

Harnesses, GPS dog trackers and winter jackets are optional, we won’t include their cost here.

A good quality and sturdy bowl will last for several years, if not the entire life of your pet – £20.

Toys are another costly expense for some playful dogs. You can easily spend £100 per year on toys.

Pro tip:

Check out our list of essential equipment for your new puppy

The Kennel Club

Food, Treats and Specialist Diet Items

Dog food varies in price and quality but if your dog develops an allergy or illness, you may need to feed it special diet food which can be surprisingly expensive.

The prices below are for regular off-the-shelf food that a small dog would consume per month:

Wet food – £10

Dry food – £10

Treats – £10

Grooming, Nail Trimming and Dental Care

Some dog owners will cut their dog’s hair and nails while others will get a professional to do it. How much hair your dog sheds will depend on its breed, fortunately for us, Miniature Schnauzers shed very little.

Emergency dental care is usually covered by insurance policies but there is a caveat, the policies we looked at all required the dog to have a full dental examination by a vet at least every 12 months.

We’ll assume that your dog has two grooming sessions per year along with one dental examination. Any subsequent haircuts will be done by you – at least £100 per year.

Explore our research into dog grooming costs here, you’ll probably pay a little more than £100 per year, but it depends on the breed of dog.

Pro tip:

Many dogs exercise on softer surfaces like grass fields, dirt paths or even indoors. Those surfaces don’t provide a great deal of friction for nails to file down as they play.

Dogs that get a lot of exercise on hard surfaces such as concrete sidewalks or rough asphalt roads may get enough filing that their nails wear down naturally, but they may still need them trimmed on occasion.

– Canidae

Kennel Fees and Dog Walkers

If you go abroad and decide not to take your pet with, you’ll either need to ask a friend or relative to look after it or use a kennel.

If you don’t like the idea of your pet staying in a cold kennel, dog hotels are the answer:

Luxury dog kennels

Luxury dog hotel at Westlodge

Kennels for a two week holiday – £300

Dog hotel for two weeks – £550

Dog walking fees vary and not everyone will choose to use this service so we won’t include the cost here.

Check out this page for more info about dog kennel costs in the UK.

Pet Cremation

Pet cremations are becoming more and more popular but the traditional method of burying the dog in the garden with its own little headstone is still an option.

You can legally bury your pet provided that:

  • The animal lived at that address.
  • You own the property and aren’t renting.
  • The pet’s remains don’t contain anything hazardous such as chemicals used in euthanasia or remnants from chemotherapy.

Cremation currently costs around £175 for a small pet, including an urn and small nameplate.

Pro tip:

Pet home burials are still popular despite an increase in pet cremations. Home burials are private, personal and less expensive than other alternatives.


Total Cost to Keep a Small Dog in the UK

Based on our research, we think the cost of keeping a small dog for 14 years to be around £21500.

If you think that figure is high, do consider that we have been conservative with the cost of many items found on this page.

In January 2017, the Guardian newspaper suggested a lifetime cost of between £21000 and £33000 for a pet dog, depending on breed and health.

What’s Not Included in This Dog Cost Guide?

  • dog walking fees
  • harnesses, winter jackets and other clothing
  • gates or barriers for in the car and home
  • insurance excess fees
  • injuries and illnesses not covered by the insurance
  • special diet food
  • home or garden alterations, i.e  fences, walls or anti-digging devices
  • GPS trackers (don’t forget the subscription fees)

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