What is the most expensive city to own a dog?

May 26th, 2015

Dog owners may want to think twice if they're considering a move to San Francisco, the most expensive city in the U.S. to own a dog.

In addition to the large sense of responsibility that comes with caring for another living being, owning a dog has its costs, which vary greatly across cities. To help Americans better discern how their costs of dog ownership change from city to city, researchers from Trupanion, Redfin and Rover.com collaborated to provide rankings of the most expensive and most affordable cities to own a dog.

Each of the contributors examined data relating to their specialties. Because Trupanion provides health insurance for cats and dogs, it provided information about dog health care costs in the 116 target cities. Dog sitting and day care network Rover looked into the costs of these services, while Redfin subsidiary WalkScore found data on pet-friendly rentals.

What is the most expensive city to own a dog?
Based on their research, analysts from the three companies determined San Francisco is the most costly city overall in the U.S. to own a dog.

The cost of health care coverage for dogs in this city is about $46.74 each month. That’s more than $560 each year. Compared to the average price for dog medical insurance provided by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which is $225 per year for dogs of all sizes, the annual cost in San Francisco is more than two times as high.

In regard to housing, renters will pay 14 percent more than the average rent each month if they own a dog. With housing costs in San Francisco already being among the most expensive in the nation, the premium for owning a dog could really cut into a renter’s ability to set aside money for a home down payment. Whether or not consumers own pets, they spend more than $4,000 on average each month to rent in San Francisco.

As for pet care, day care in the city will cost $29.70 per day, while sitting will run a dog owner $34.75. Kiplinger noted these costs can add up when owners take vacations.

What is the most affordable city to own a dog?
The researchers found Phoenix is the city where consumers won’t burn holes into their pockets to own a dog.

For health care, Phoenix has a monthly cost of $32.45, which translates to about $389 each year. While this is still above the average provided by the ASPCA, it is $171 less than what dog owners in San Francisco spend annually.

When it comes to finding a rental space, owning a dog is a money saver. Renters who opt for a dog-friendly space save 21 percent compared to the average rental rate. This gives dog owners an extra $400 per month, which is a nice chunk of change to put toward a down payment for a house.

Phoenix didn’t take the top spot for most affordable dog care, however. While the $29.91 and $28.44 daily rates for sitting and doggy day care, respectively, are better than San Francisco’s prices, Fayetteville, North Carolina, beat every city with rates in the $17 range for both care options.