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The 5 Most Expensive States to Raise a Dog—And The Cheapest, Too

Some places are harder on the wallet than others.

by Sio Hornbuckle
July 3, 2024
Woman walking her Labrador retriever dog outdoors.
RyanJLane / iStock

Dogs are worth every penny — but the price tag of a pup is definitely the least adorable thing about them. According to a new survey by MarketWatch, the national average cost of raising a pup is $28,801, but that price can vary widely depending on which state you’re in. MarketWatch collected data across 11 metrics — including puppy costs like spay/neuter surgery and annual purchases like pet insurance, vet visits, and grooming — to find the least and most expensive states for dog parenting. 

The most expensive states to raise a dog 

In 13 states, the cost of dog parenting is greater than $30,000. These five coastal states took the lead: 

5. Washington 

In Washington state, dog parents can expect to spend $32,894 on their dog in their lifetime. Of the top five most expensive states, Washington has the most expensive boarding and grooming costs, at $1,136. 

4. New Jersey

New Jersey comes in at number four, with a total cost of $32,947. Food and treats are cheaper in New Jersey, but pet insurance is $1,111 — slightly higher than Washington’s cost of $1,024.

3. Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the third most expensive state to raise a dog in, with a total of $33,318. Food and treats are most expensive in Massachusetts; pet parents can expect to spend $757, compared to only $698 in New Jersey. 

2. New York

The runner-up is New York, where it costs $34,248 to raise a dog — no surprise to anyone who has heard New Yorkers complain about the cost of living. The price of insurance and vet care in New York is super high, costing $1,233 compared to $1,089 in Massachusetts. 

1. California

And taking home the trophy is sunny California, where it costs $35,452 to raise a pup. That’s more than a Tesla. Pet insurance is more expensive in California than any other state — it costs an average of $736. 

The 5 least expensive states to raise a dog

In some states, dog parenting is a little easier on the bank. 

5. Louisiana

In Louisiana, it costs $25,760 to raise a pup. 

4. Nebraska

Nebraska is the fourth least expensive state to raise a dog, with a puppy cost of $975 and an annual of $2,244 for a total of $25,662.

3. Indiana 

In Indiana, pet parents can expect to spend $25,479 on their dog. 

2. Mississippi

In Mississippi, dog parenting costs $25,104, making it the second least expensive state to raise a pup in.

1.  Oklahoma 

“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” indeed — Oklahoma wins the prize for the cheapest state to raise a pup in, with the cost of $24,855. That’s 14 percent lower than the national average. 


For the sake of consistency, MarketWatch analyzed the cost of raising a Labrador Retriever in each state; according to the American Kennel Club, Labs are the most popular dog breed in America. A dog’s needs can vary by breed, though — for example, flat-faced dogs might require more vet visits, while some studies have found that mutts have fewer genetic health problems. Breeds have varying lifespans, too; MarketWatch considered the lifetime cost of parenting a Labrador Retriever over their average lifespan of 11 years. 

Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota were excluded from the rankings because cost information was not available.

Because the cost varies, MarketWatch didn’t include adoption or purchasing fees in their analysis. Adoption is often much cheaper than purchasing a dog.

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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