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Service Dog Training Institute


Estimated Costs of Owning and Training Your Own Service Dog

estimated costs for owning a service dog

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. She got attacked by a racoon in our yard, another $300. Routine yearly vet visits average about $200.

You can get pet insurance but that can be a costly monthly fee. Some people pay themselves monthly to accumulate a chunk of money so they can pay for unexpected costs.

Costs Estimated Costs of Owning a Service Dog (example) YOUR Estimated Costs of Owning a Service Dog
One Time-Cost
Initial purchase/adoption fee
Transportation costs to pick up puppy/dog
Spaying/neutering (at the correct time)
Food dish, water dish, harnesses/leashes/collar/name tags/multiple sizes as puppy grows
Grooming equipment
Crate, bed, toys
In-person puppy classes (2 sets)
Basic adolescent in-person classes (3 sets)
Online service dog training (you learn to teach your dog)
Web cam/in person foundation 1:1 coaching 10 sessions
Task specific web cam/in person 1:1 coaching 10 sessions
First vet visits with vaccinations
Property fencing or dog run
X-rays (orthopedic) (when 2 years old to clear hips and elbows for mobility work)
Additional equipment-mobility harness etc
Subtotal Costs
Total One-Time Costs
Ongoing Costs (Maintenance)
Food per month x12
Training treats
Veterinarian 1 visit per year
Grooming x 8 per year
Nail clipping
Licence (annual)
$25 (may be waived for service dogs by some cities)
Dog walker/daycare
$30 x 50 weeks=$1500
Service dog specific training (maintenance)
Emergency vet care/health insurance
Teeth cleaning (small dogs done more often)
Certification costs (where needed)
Total Annual Costs
Updated Oct. 2021 for Costs in Nanaimo, BC Canada in Canadian Dollars

Wondering how to train your own service dog?

Check out our Service Dog Training Institute classes (for both human and dog).
If you want to learn how to train a service dog like a professional, these classes will give you the skills to do so and to train other pet dogs! You learn as your dog learns.

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Service puppy relaxing during training session.

Apprehensive About Starting Your Service Puppy Candidate Off Right?

Puppies are simply babies. Don’t be afraid to “spoil” your puppy. You can gradually change how much care and direction a puppy needs in a process called shaping. This is where you plan graduated steps of changing or removing the support your puppy is getting as long as he is successful at the current step.