Sure, those pugs on Instagram are cute. But they're expensive, too.
Most people estimate that owning a dog costs between $26 and $75 a month, according to pet-sitting app Rover, which surveyed some 1,500 U.S. adults in July.
The reality? More like $150.
"When most people get a dog, they think of basic expenses," said Andrea Woroch, personal finance expert and Rover.com Dog People panel member. "But they overlook those reoccurring expenses that add up." For example, she's slapped with a $90 bill once every few months when she has to bring her goldendoodle into the groomer. "Their hair grows really long and it gets matted," Woroch said.
Dog owners should anticipate the cost of annual exams for their dog, which typically come to around $250, along with pet insurance that can run up hundreds of more dollars a year.
Then there are emergency vet bills, teeth cleanings and pet-sitting expenses when you're on vacation.
The first year of owning a dog can be particularly pricey. Adoption fees can be up to $600, and the surgery to spay or neuter your dog can cost you another $800. Then there's vaccinations, toys and food to buy — in all, the average annual price tag of getting a new dog is around $3,400, according to Rover.
Consider getting pet insurance, to get ahead of emergencies, Woroch said. Plans typically cost around $35 a month.
You might also want to maintain a pet emergency fund, she said. "Set up a weekly transfer of small amounts of money you won't miss — $5 or $10 a week," she said. "That'll build up quickly over time."