Having a dog in Washington isn’t cheap

Adorableness will cost you in the D.C. area. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)

A lot of people have gotten dogs during the pandemic, either by way of a shelter adoption or from a pet store or breeder, and the cost of dog ownership adds up.

The average adoption fee in the D.C. area is about $383, according to research by pet supplement maker Veterinary Naturals. Average annual food costs are $228. The startup costs of pet supplies averages $350, and the annual cost of toys and treats averages $217.

For those who choose a purebred, the cost to buy the dog averages about $2,000 in the Washington area, and much more for very popular breeds.

The most popular breeds in the Washington area are Jack Russell terriers, beagles, Yorkshire terriers, pit bulls and Maltese.

“Jack Russells and beagles tend to have a pretty high purchase price, because of health issues within the breed as well as breed standards,” Rebecca Wright at Veterinary Naturals said.

Veterinary bills can also add up, especially for serious but common conditions.

“For diabetes, you can expect to pay about $100 a month to manage the chronic condition,” Wright said. “For a hernia, you can expect to pay somewhere between $700 and $2,000. For an ear infection, it is actually very expensive, anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000. And for hip dysplasia, which is common in shepherd breeds, you can expect to pay anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 per hip,” Wright said.

Pet insurance averages $20 to $80 a month, depending on coverage. But it will not cover everything.

“Pet insurance doesn’t typically cover regular office visits, exam fees from regular office visits or pre-existing conditions,” Wright said.

The total annual first-year cost of a dog in the D.C. area averages more than $3,500, including food and vet bills, according to the Veterinary Naturals study.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

This content was republished with permission from CNN.

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