According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the United States. It’s a friendly dog that forms strong bonds with the entire family and gets along with other animals. If you are thinking about purchasing one of these animals for your home, it’s common to look for information about the overall costs and ongoing expenses that you will face. We’ve assembled a guide to help you understand what costs you can expect to incur during your time with your dog. Keep reading while we look at one-time and ongoing expenses, as well as medical costs and more, to help you make an informed purchase.
Bringing Home a New Labrador Retriever: One-Time Costs
The one-time costs of your Labrador Retriever include the purchase price of a puppy and the cost of getting it spayed or neutered. Other one-time fees can consist of a metal crate to keep the dog in at night or while you are away from home, a food bowl, and a water fountain or dish.
Since the Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog in the United States, there is a good chance that you can find someone looking to rehome their pet for various reasons, like moving into an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. You might also find someone who has a litter of puppies that might be willing to give you one.
Pet supplies make great gifts, so if you have a large family, there is a good chance that you will be able to reduce costs around the holidays.
Since Labradors are the most popular dog in America, there is a good chance you can find one at the local animal shelter at a huge discount over the cost of a puppy from a breeder. Most shelters are at or near capacity and will be willing to give the dog away practically for free, and many times it will already have its shots and might be spayed or neutered, saving hundreds in additional fees. Getting a dog from the pound also likely saves the dog’s life and frees up limited resources for other dogs in need.
Purchasing your dog from a breeder can be much more expensive than a shelter, in this case, a purebred Labrador Retriever costs between $700 and $1,500, but there are several advantages to doing so. First, a breeder will usually allow you to meet the parents to get a good idea about what the puppy will look like and, more importantly, how it will behave. You will also see if the parents have any health problems. Breeders will also supply you with paperwork that documents your pet’s lineage, and some will allow you to choose between a competition class or a pet class dog.
Initial Setup and Supplies
Dogs are one of the easiest animals to house, and that includes the Labrador Retriever. You won’t need an aquarium, litterbox, or lighting, nor do you need to worry about temperature or humidity. Your dog will be happy to stay close to you or another family member and requires very little outside of a food bowl and water dish or fountain. We prefer to use a fountain because it keeps the water moving, slowing the growth of bacteria. Some people like to purchase a metal crate to keep the dog in at night or when they go to work. You might also choose to purchase a bed where your dog can sleep, but these items are not necessary, and your dog might not even use them.
List of Labrador Retriever Care Supplies and Costs
|ID Tag and Collar||$5–$15|
|Nail Clipper (optional)||$7–$20|
|Food and Water Bowls||$5–$20|
How Much Does a Labrador Retriever Cost Per Month?
- $100–$200 per month
You can expect to pay $100–$200 each month for a Labrador Retriever in ongoing expenses. The costs will be a bit higher at first while you get your dog the shots it requires and pay for the frequent visits to the vet. We also recommend getting your dog spayed or neutered unless you are a professional breeder, and it might even be required as part of your contract if you purchase from a breeder.
Once your dog is an adult, it will not require as many vet visits and will only need booster shots every few years, so the average monthly costs will be much lower.
- $10–$50 per month
When your dog is still a puppy, it will require vaccinations for rabies, distemper, parvo, and more to make sure it stays healthy, and it will need booster shots every few years after that. Experts recommend getting all of the shots, but your dog is only legally required to get the rabies shot.
- $30–$60 per month
Labrador Retrievers can get quite large and can eat 30 pounds or more of food each month. We recommend purchasing a high-quality brand with real meat like chicken, turkey, or salmon listed as the first ingredient. The protein in meat will help build muscle and provide the energy your dog needs to stay healthy. High protein diets will also help your dog stay full longer, and it will be less likely to come looking for food. Foods with corn as the top ingredient are mostly empty calories that will leave your pet feeling hungry and looking for food, causing it to become obese.
- $5–$20 per month
The Labrador Retriever is not difficult to groom and will need little more than brushing once or twice a week. During the shedding seasons of spring and fall, you will likely need to increase the brushing to several times a week to help keep the fur off your furniture and floor. Professional grooming can also help with teeth brushing and nail clipping.
Medications and Vet Visits
- $10–$50 per month
The primary medication that your Labrador Retriever will require is a flea and tick medication, like Frontline, that is easy to apply and will kill any fleas and ticks on your dog and prevent them from coming back. It’s the best way to avoid flea infestations in your home and Lyme disease in your pet. This medication can also help prevent heartworm.
- $10–$30 per month
Many people forgo pet insurance, but it can be a great way to protect yourself from a huge expense while making sure your Labrador Retriever has the best healthcare possible. Accidents and serious illness can occur at any time, and many procedures can cost thousands of dollars that make the price of insurance more than worth it, especially if you get it while your dog is still a puppy.
- $0–$20 per month
As we mentioned earlier, your Labrador Retriever will not need any special environmental care, and it will usually stick close by your side. If you feel hot, it’s likely hot for the dog as well, and the same goes for cold, especially when sleeping.
- $5–$50 per month
Your Labrador retriever will be happy with any number of toys and will be especially happy chasing after tennis balls. It can chew up stuffed animals quickly, so they can get expensive, but there are plenty of options for a chewing dog, like the Lab. Another one of this dog’s favorite activities is going swimming, which can be a cheap way to quickly get your dog the exercise it needs to stay healthy. Another option is to purchase a subscription to a monthly service like the Bark Box that sends your dog new toys and activities for as long as you keep up your subscription.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Labrador Retriever
- $100–$200 per month
As we mentioned earlier, costs will be higher when your dog is young because it will need shots that require several visits to the vet, but as it gets older, it will be much less expensive. A full-grown dog only requires food and flea and tick medication to stay healthy, few toys to play with, and treats here and there.
Additional Costs to Factor In
If you like to go on long vacations, you might need to factor in the additional costs of traveling with a dog. Many rental cars do not allow pets or will charge you extra, and the same is true for hotels. If you need to fly your pet, the ticket can cost as much as $1,000. If you leave your dog at home, you will need to purchase a sitter or have the dog housed at a kennel, which can often cost $20–$80 per day.
Owning a Labrador Retriever on a Budget
Your Labrador Retriever will be relatively inexpensive once you get the medical things out of the way. A high-quality food may seem more expensive, but it will help keep your dog full so that it will eat less. You can also trim your dog’s nails and brush the teeth with pet-safe toothpaste instead of getting a professional to do it to help cut costs.
Saving Money on Labrador Retriever Care
The best way to save money on healthcare when raising your Labrador Retriever is to keep it a healthy weight by following portion recommendations on the food you serve and by helping them get enough exercise. Obesity can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and other health issues that can shorten the lifespan of your pet.
The Labrador Retriever makes a fantastic family pet, and it’s not too expensive to own. After the initial cost of the puppy, you will need to pay a few hundred dollars to get it spayed or neutered and get the shots it needs. After that, you will only need to provide food and shelter with the occasional booster shot.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If we have helped you create a budget that allows you to get one of these amazing pets, please share this guide to how much it costs to own a Labrador Retriever on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: scott244, Pixabay
- Bringing Home a New Labrador Retriever: One-Time Costs
- List of Labrador Retriever Care Supplies and Costs
- How Much Does a Labrador Retriever Cost Per Month?
- Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Labrador Retriever
- Additional Costs to Factor In
- Owning a Labrador Retriever on a Budget