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Just owning a dog costs money no matter how thrifty you are. Training a service dog adds extra costs for equipment, ongoing health testing and care, training and ongoing training maintenance costs.

Fundraising before you get your dog saves you stress and makes sure you are ready for planned costs. Don't forget to have an emergency fund ready as well. It sits there until it's needed for unexpected veterinary bills or behavior modification training.

Even if you are very thrifty and can get items donated, it still costs money to raise and train a functional dog! You dog may need to have medical procedures done. Even my otherwise healthy dog needed a $1500 surgery to remove a lump from her leg. It was not optional as it interfered with movement and would have eventually burst. The previous two lumpectomies were not as expensive ($700 & $900) but it adds up. As a 3 year old she broke a molar on a toy and got a slab fracture. If left untreated, her jaw would have got infected. That was another $800.

Costs of Owning a Service Dog

Table 1 - Estimated Costs of Owning a Service Dog

  Estimated Costs of Owning a Service Dog (example) YOUR Estimated Costs of Owning a Service Dog
One Time Costs    
Initial purchase/adoption fee $3000.00  
transportation costs to pick up puppy/dog $200.00  
spaying/neutering (at the correct time) $200.00  
food/water dishes $25.00  
harnesses/leashes/collar/name tags/multiple sizes as puppy grows $200.00  
grooming equipment $200.00  
crate and bed $130.00  
in-person puppy classes (2 sets) $300.00  
basic adolescent in-person classes (3 sets) $750.00  
online service dog training (you learn to teach your dog) $1500  
web cam/in person foundation 1:1 coaching 10 sessions $400.00  
web cam/in person task specific 1:1 coaching 10 sessions $500.00  
first vet visit with vaccinations $125.00  
property fencing or dog run $500-$3000  
X-rays (orthopedic) $200.00  
Canine Good Citizen/ Neighbor Test $50.00  
Certification costs (where needed) $200.00  
subtotal $7,975.00  
taxes $275.00  
total est $8000.00  
Ongoing Costs (annual)    
food per month x12 $720.00  
treats $100.00  
veterinarian 1 visit per year $125.00  
grooming x 8 per year $500-800  
nail clipping $120.00  
licence (annual) $25.00  
dog walker/daycare varies  
service dog specific training varies  
additional equipment-mobility harness etc $500.00  
emergency vet care/health insurance $400-2000  
teeth cleaning varies  
subtotal $2,000.00  
taxes                           $98  
total est $2,100.00  

Updated Oct. 2021 for Costs in Nanaimo, BC Canada