Cost of Owning a Labrador – Monthly & Yearly breakdown

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Labradors puppies are adorable. I always wanted to own one. But the thing that kept me to buy one was my tight budget. Knowing that it would be a huge financial commitment, I wondered how I’d take care of my lab properly with my limited budget? To figure out this question, I made a budget scheme for my labrador retriever which I was going to buy this time, whatsoever.

So, I made a list of things that are to be done for the perfect health of my lab, from puppy to a mature dog. Then I calculated how much it would cost me monthly and annually.

Here’s was I found out:

If you include all the expenses of your lab from vaccines to food and toys but let-off any unexpected serious injury or accident then here are the numbers- The average per year expenses of a labrador retriever are expected to be anywhere between $1200 to $10,000. The average per month expenses of a labrador is between $85 to $835. This makes an average of $20,400 per year.

Cost of Owning a Labrador (Video)

The cost of owning a labrador

You can’t take care of your beloved labrador if you don’t have enough money. Pet dogs need proper health care which includes nutritious food along with proper medical care.

The most expensive is the veteran care of Labradors. You should be prepared to buy some special food items, medicines, vaccines, crates, bedding, leashes, harnesses, and toys. You should also be ready for any mishap including severe injuries and accidents (which cost you a fortune).

Let’s see where and how much you’ve to spend on your labrador throughout the year. The expenditures mentioned below are up-front and you must include them if you’re going to buy a labrador.

Medical care expenses:

Labradors need frequent visits to the vet for regular check-ups and vaccines. The common vaccines that should be done anyway are:

  • Canine Distemper: It’s needed to prevent labs from developing a respiratory, nervous, and gastrointestinal infection that spreads through the air.
  • Canine parainfluenza: Prevents labs from cough and flu.
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica: This vaccine prevents kennel cough.
  • Coronavirus: It’s to prevent Labradors from developing gastrointestinal infections.
  • Canine Hepatitis: It’s for preventing Labradors from developing an infection in the lungs, kidney, liver, and spleen.

In 2016, the students of the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine produced a comprehensive report on average expenses on pets per year. They also included dogs of 9.6 to 13.6 years.

Their stats are close to what it actually costs you. So, here are the numbers:

Labrador puppy average medical expenses:

A puppy needs more vaccinations and visits to the vet as compared to adult dogs.

The average veterinarian bills for puppies according to that report are between $1395 to $1541 per annum.

The bills include all the medical examination visits, vaccines, blood culture tests, first-year check-up, heartworm testing, flea/ticks prevention vaccines.

Adult labrador average medical expenses:

Adult dogs need fewer visits to the vet and also they are not vaccinated that frequently.

Having said that, their average medical expense is anywhere between $9368 to $11,985 per year.

The costs include blood works, X-rays, dental check-up, heartworm testing, and flea/ticks vaccination.

Breakdown of medical expenses:

Here’s is the breakdown of all the medical expenses, excluding any major injury or accidents. The values are the average cost per year for a puppy or a mature labrador.

  • Routine examination: $45
  • Vaccination: $83
  • Blood testing: $324
  • Preventative medicines: $389
  • Dental and X-ray procedures: $562

Cost breakdown of one serious injury, accident or sickness:

You never know when your lab needs extra care, medication, and even surgery in case of any accidents.

You have to spare money for this unforeseen situation also because you never know.

Here’s what you should expect to pay to the vet at that time:

  • Surgical procedure: $829
  • Antibiotics: $96
  • Lab Work: $299
  • Examination: $55
  • Imaging: $219
  • Microbiology exams: $55
  • Admission: $194
  • Pain killers: $23

Spaying or Neutering:

Spaying is a very common practice here in the U.S and in Australia.

You may want to spay your labrador to reduce chances if several deadly diseases and the obvious reason is to avoid unwanted puppies.

Neutering or spaying prevents female labs from developing mammary gland cancer. Other than that spaying also prevents pyometra which is the infection in the uterus. It can cost you a fortune to get rid of it or your lab may die.

Spaying also keeps your labrador less aggressive and more at peace. This isn’t proved scientifically though.

Spaying is a relatively expensive procedure than neutering. The procedures can cost you anywhere between $50 to $400.

You can always go for a cheaper vet but be sure that the instruments are sterilized and the vet knows his job well.

Cost for feeding your labrador:

Labradors need a well-balanced and healthy diet for proper growth. You have to be very careful about their food by making sure you are giving good quality food, high in proteins and low in carbs.

You can go for dry dog food, wet dog food, and semi-solid dog food.

Kibble should be large and hard for adult labs as it avoids dental problems.

Wet dog food should be high in protein and should have no or very little amount of water. Make sure you buy a good brand that sells well-balanced and premium quality wet food. If you are going for canned food on a daily basis then it’s going to be expensive.

Semi-solid food is not that nutritious and it should be just given as a treat.

  • The amount which you’d have to spend on your labrador’s food is between $350 to $750 per year.
  • Per month you’d need around $29 to $62.5 for your dog’s food.

Cost for toys and stuff:

Labradors love toys like any other dog breed. Labs are large dog breeds so try to find toys for large breeds.

If your lab wants to retrieve things then Frisbee is a good option. Buy a softer Frisbee which doesn’t damage its teeth.

If your labrador is more into chewing things then buy some chewable toys. These should be harder, those which are suitable for large breeds.

Obviously it’s all up to you whether you like more toys for your lab or not. But they do need some toys to play and their preference also changes with toys. So, it’s not that you just buy some toys once and for all.

On average, you need at least $55 per month to spend on toys. This makes $660 per year for toys only.

The overall cost of owning a labrador:

From the above calculations, we can say that the total amount of money you’d need for a labrador living an average lifespan is almost $23410.

Having said that, if you’re not capable of spending this much but really want to own a labrador then we’ve got you covered as well. So, here are some tips to cut down the cost it takes to own a lab!

Owning a labrador on the budget:

It’s not impossible to own and raise a lab if you are tight on your budget. You can always go for options that are cheaper yet don’t affect your dog in a negative way.

So, find some tips below on how to raise a lab without breaking the bank.

Avoid expensive canned food:

There is no point to buy expensive canned dry and wet dog food from the store. You can go for:

  • Pet food sales where you can buy food in bulk. These sales offer huge discounts on high-end pet food.
  • Make food on your own. You can search for carnivore cuisine and find hundreds of recipes on the internet. Making food for your dog is the cheapest yet healthiest option.
  • Contact your local butcher and ask for claws and meat pieces for your labrador. You will find it inexpensive and this food is high in protein also.

Expensive toys are not what your lab needs:

Don’t visit expensive pet toy stores because you will end up buying those. YOur labrador would be least interested in these expensive toys and will get bored in just a few days.

Train your lab to play with sticks, tennis balls, and other things that can be easily found in your home. Just make sure your Labrador doesn’t play and scratch your sofas and carpets!

Cut down unnecessary visits to the vet:

If you want to own a labrador then prior to it you should get some training on how to take care of it, how to provide it first aid, and how to check for common infections. This will save you from frequent visits to the vet and you’d definitely save some bucks.

You can cut your lab’s nails, clean its fur, and check for ear infections.

Well-protected shelter:

Make sure you provide a safe shelter to your dog to avoid injuries and accidents. This will save you from keeping extra bucks for your puppy’s unexpected visits to the vet.

So, take care of your labrador as you take care of a child.

Playtime is necessary:

To maintain the health and proper growth of your pet, play with it as much as you can. Healthy physical games make the labrador build muscles and also keep it active.

A healthy lab means you don’t need any extra money for it!

Ask for help from family and friends:

If you work or go out on a daily basis then instead of spending on daycare centers, ask your loved ones to take care of your labrador.

Family and friends who are happy to babysit your labrador should be encouraged. So, you can request them to take care of your dog but make sure you have trained your dog and have enough food for him as well.

The Takeaway

We all love to own a pet and who doesn’t want an adorable labrador puppy? Are you one of them? If yes then make sure you have enough money to take care of it as you have to provide them healthy food, toys, and other necessities. Also, you have to make sure you take them to vet for regular medical check-ups and vaccines.

Based on a study, you have to spend around $1200 to $10,000 on your dog per year. This includes all their needs from visits to the vet to food and toys.

But if you are on a budget and still want to adopt a lab then we’ve got you covered as well. Follow the steps mentioned above to own a puppy which won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Yet, you will be able to enjoy your healthy and active labrador like anyone else does!

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