A Breakdown Of How Much I’ve Spent In My First Year Of Puppy Ownership

Pugs have been my favorite dog breed for a long time. In the same way that cat lovers are called “crazy cat ladies,” I am a crazy pug lady. My friends and relatives know about my fondness for pugs, which has resulted in me being gifted with many pug-related items — including pug t-shirts, pug socks, and a pug mug.

When the opportunity to adopt my own pug puppy presented itself, it seemed like a no-brainer. I knew a puppy would be expensive, and that pugs aren’t exactly low-maintenance, but those things wouldn’t stop me from adopting an adorable pug. Since getting my first pug, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be a pug parent. Here is an honest review of pug ownership (the good, the bad, and the expensive).

The Good: They’re Friendly and Loyal

Pugs are generally sweet-natured and get along well with others. Whenever I take my dog on a walk, people are constantly coming up to us and asking to pet him. I’ve had a couple of ornery dogs in the past, so it’s nice to have a dog who is always in a good mood and is friendly toward everyone (humans and dogs alike).

Pugs are affectionate, loyal creatures. If you’d rather have an independent dog, pugs probably aren’t for you. My pug follows me around constantly. Pugs don’t like to be alone, and prefer to be with their humans.

The Bad: They Snore, They Shed a Lot, and They’re Wrinkly

I often say that my pug is the perfect dog…except for his snoring. It’s really loud. He also snorts and makes quite a bit of pug noises while he’s awake. It’s adorable…when you’re not trying to sleep.

Pugs are also shed monsters. Even though they’re short-haired dogs, they shed like crazy. If you’re looking for a dog that doesn’t shed much, I don’t recommend a pug. Luckily, I was already used to cats and long-haired dogs, so it doesn’t bother me.

They are quite wrinkly as well — those adorable wrinkles are cute, but they can also be problematic for your dog’s health. Facial wrinkles have to be cleaned often or bacteria can get stuck in the folds of your pug’s face. This can lead to skin infections. We are diligent about cleaning our pug’s wrinkles, but he did get a facial infection one time. (It cleared right up with some antibiotics, but of course, we still want to avoid having him get infections.)

The Expensive: Flat Noses and Anal Gland Expression

Because of their flat noses, pugs sometimes need to have surgery to open up their airways in order to enable easier breathing. Luckily, the vet said our pug’s airways look good, and he shouldn’t need surgery.

It’s not just pug faces that are wrinkly; their butts can also be a little wrinkly. This can lead to irritation of the anal gland or an infection. To prevent infections, the anal gland may need to be “expressed” periodically. This can be done by the pet owner, but it is a rather gross process, and most pug parents would probably prefer to let the vet take care of this.

Here is the total estimated amount we’ve spent in one year of owning a pug puppy:

Adoption Fee: $600

Vet Visits:

  • $24 – Initial puppy exam
  • $210 – Neutering
  • $323 – Vaccinations, Heartgaard, and Nexgard
  • $25 – Microchipping
  • $60 – Exam and treatment for an ear infection
  • $50 – Exam and treatment for a facial infection
  • $50 – Nail trims
  • $300 – Emergency vet visit after our pug ate some grapes that his grandpa accidentally dropped on the floor (emergency visits like this are the reason some people get pet insurance, like Pets Best)

Food and General Care:

  • $250 – Puppy food
  • $50 – Treats
  • $20 – Toys (he mostly plays with our other dog’s toys)
  • $60 – Three dog beds (he destroyed the first two)
  • $40 – Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • $50 – Cleaning wipes (necessary for wrinkly dogs who are prone to facial infections)
  • $50 – Leash & two harnesses (he outgrew the first harness)
  • $70 – Potty training pads

Total: $2,232

There are some downsides to owning a pug, and some pugs develop expensive health issues. However, I think pugs are definitely worth it! My pug is sweet, loyal, adorable, and affectionate. He’s the best pet I’ve ever owned, and I’ve never regretted adopting him.

Jen is an HR/Finance professional and frugal lifestyle blogger. Jen and her husband are paying off $117,000 of student loan debt in just three years. She writes about healthy eating on a budget, affordable wedding tips, destroying debt, and living frugally on her blog Frugal Millennial

Image via Unsplash

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  • Desirae Odjick

    I love this so much! I’m all about REALISTIC views of how much dogs cost to own, since it’s so helpful to know before you have your own little furball of joy who eats anything and everything, even when it’s the worst possible thing for them. Thank you for sharing this!

    • When I saw the headline I actually assumed you wrote it 🙂 Right up your alley!

  • LW

    I’m so glad you were able to adopt your dream breed as opposed to buying!

    • jdub

      I love when this happens! My girlfriend went on petfinder.com when she was looking for hers, and managed to adopt a german shepherd-mix puppy after only looking for about 2 weeks 🙂 It’s hard to find a puppy that’s the breed you want, but if you do your research and keep looking regularly at your local shelters, definitely not impossible!

  • One thing I do in order to reduce my dog ownership costs is to do some dog sitting via DogVacay and/or Rover. Think of them basically as an Airbnb for dogs. The great thing is that, you’re already doing all of your dog care tasks anyway. It doesn’t add very much work to take on a second pup every once in a while. I’ve been doing it for 2 years now and bring in a little over $2,000 per year dog sitting one extra dog every once in a while. In a way, your dog “could” help you make money (at least that’s how I try to think of it, haha).

  • yeahokaypal

    Thank you for this!! I have been more serious about acting on my puppy fever the last few months while browsing dogs for adoption so this gives me a great idea on what the actual costs are — especially as it relates to pugs, a breed I love and know can have medical issues. Thanks again

  • TW54

    Consider a Chug, half Pug, half Chihuahua. They have all the great qualities of a Pug without the breathing issues, thanks to the Chihuahua snout. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1a57802646c742931bd574028def26dd7d3f225fd8603a03a6997cd659c2ac03.jpg

  • Barbara August

    I own a pug , and use to breed them years ago . There is not a more loyal dog than the Pug! I love my Lily so much , snores and all .

  • Andrea

    I can totally understand wanting a particular breed of dog, pugs are so adorable, but I’d like to offer up a friendly reminder for anyone considering getting a purebred dog to check for purebred rescues in your areas before deciding to go to a breeder! You can have the kind of dog you’d like, but also give a home to a pup in need!

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