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Have you ever wondered…
Question: How much does a service dog cost?
Answer: $25,000 is the total cost to raise and train a service dog including acquiring, training, placing, providing support, vet bills, food, supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses.
That’s the quick and dirty answer. If you want to see the details then read on…
I’m actually thinking at this very moment “how much will my next service dog puppy cost me?”.
You see, I want to put together a budget for my next service dog puppy, then I’d like to raise enough money to cover all my service pup’s expenses.
So, without further adieu…
How Much Does A Service Dog Cost?
Let’s start off by doing some research. Some of the largest organizations have numbers on their websites showing how much a service dog costs.
Here are some numbers from my research:
This is from the CCI “Other Ways To Give” page detailing what specific donation amounts cover. The $50K “Sponsor A-Team” donation level covers the entire cost of a service dog team.
$50,000 – This Team Sponsor level fully covers a graduate team cost, from breeding, training, and graduation to follow-up services
- Tender Loving Canine Assistance Dogs: $20,000 – $30,000
A visit to TLCAD’s Frequently Asked Questions page reveals the cost for one of their service dogs.
…it costs our organization anywhere from $10,000-$28,000 per dog (depending on the length of time the dog spent in training).
- Freedom Service Dogs of America: $25,000 – $30,000
Again from their FAQ page:
It costs us between $25,000 and $30,000 to train and place a service dog.
- KSDS Assistance Dogs: $25,000
On the KSDS about page, you’ll find information about how much a service dog costs:
The estimated cost of each dog placement is in excess of $25,000.
- Summit Assistance Dogs: $25,000
On the Summit Assistance Dogs application overview page, you’ll find the cost for raising and training a service dog.
The cost of acquiring, training and placing an assistance dog and providing follow-up support to our clients is about $25,000 per dog.
Based on the above numbers we decided to take the median number for our quick and dirty answer at the beginning of this article.
Now you might say $25K? $50K? Who could afford that kind of cheddar for a service dog?
The good news is most of these organizations are nonprofit and receive generous donations allowing them to offer these dogs at little to no cost.
However, there are some that do have to charge a substantial fee to help cover costs. Not all organizations are lucky enough to be fully funded for their dogs.
We’ve been working with smaller organizations like Cascade Service Dogs that can’t always cover all the costs associated with raising and training a service dog.
My Service Dog Puppy Budget
- Make a quick and dirty estimate for how much a service dog cost by researching ADI service dog organizations…DONE!…READ ABOVE…
- Make a rough estimate of how much my next service dog puppy will cost from 8 weeks old until the pup is placed with his new partner…READ BELOW…
- Raise and train a service dog puppy and update as the expenses start rolling in…EST. START DATE: June 27, 2019…
That’s the plan! That should give me a rough idea of how much my next service dog puppy will cost me.
Estimated Cost For My Next Service Dog Puppy
Here are the details for everything I think I will need to raise and train a service dog puppy from 8 weeks to 18 months old.
Let’s break it down!
Realistically the price for a Golden Retriever puppy varies a lot. Our Golden Retriever, Raven will have puppies in May. In the past, her puppies have sold for $1,500 – $2,000 and if someone were to request the “pick of the litter” then the price would likely be $2,500.
QUICK TIP: Some breeders will give you a discount if you’re raising a puppy to be a service dog (we got a discount when we got Archer). On the other hand, we’ve heard other breeders are not willing to sell their dogs because they don’t want them working as service dogs.
Our $2,500 initial puppy cost includes several initial expenses including:
- Golden Retriever Puppy
- Initial Worming
- Initial Vaccination
- Small Bag of Wellness Core Puppy Food
- Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs
Initial expenses for a puppy can vary a lot depending on where you get your puppy (rescue, shelter, breeder, etc.) and what they include in your “puppy care package”.
PUPPY OPTIONS: $2,500 is definitely on the high end when choosing a puppy to be a service dog. My goal is to choose a puppy that I feel will have the best chance of becoming a service dog.
In the future, I’d like to work with shelter/rescue dogs to become service dogs. However, at this time I lack the skills to evaluate and choose good potential service dog candidates.
To give you an example of the difference in price: I paid $37 for Linus when I adopted him from the animal shelter. He had many traits that would have made him a great service dog except he would never have passed the Public Access Test.
QUICK TIP: If you’re looking for everything you’ll need when you bring home a puppy check out our essential new puppy checklist.
One-Time Expenses: $390
Disclaimer: We linked to the products we use and recommend in this post. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Dollar amounts are estimates and used to get a guestimate for how much we would spend on a puppy.
- Crate – $50
- No Chew Spray – $20
- Leash – $10
- Collar – $10
- Name Tags – $10
- Bowls – $20
- Brush – $10
- Shampoo – $10
- Crate Bedding – $20
- Dog Bed – $20
- Nail Trimmer – $100
- Toothbrush/Toothpaste – $10
- Food Container – $20
- Pooper Scooper – $20
- Service Dog Vest – $60
Recurring Expenses (16 months): $2,300
- Dog Food (16) – $60
- Toys (16) – $20
- Chews (16) – $30
- Stain & Odor Remover (16) – $20
- Poop Bags (16) – $10
- License (annual) – $30
VET EXPENSES: $780
QUICK TIP: Chewy now offers pharmaceuticals so you can order items like Heartgard Plus by providing your pet and vet information.
One Time Expenses: $300
- Spay/Neuter – $300
Recurring Expenses: $480
- Vet Checkups (3) – $30
- Vaccinations – (3) – $30
- Heartworm Medication (3) – $40
- Flea/Tick Medication (3) – $60
BASIC TRAINING: $1,630
One Time Expenses: $1,160
- Treat Pouch – $10
- Harness – $20
- Training Leash – $30
- Long Line – $20
- Gentle Leader – $10
- Clicker (5) – $10
- Training Books – $50
- Group Training Classes – $1,000
Recurring Expenses: $480
- Treats (16) – $30
ADVANCED/TEAM TRAINING: $5,000
We plan on partnering with a service dog organization to complete the advanced training and team training with our puppy.
We plan on donating approximately $5K to cover the cost of this part of the training.
Now you’re probably looking at these numbers, totaling them up, and wondering why the cost for my service dog puppy is only $12,600?
That’s a heck of a lot less expensive than the $25,000 we wrote in the first couple of paragraphs.
One small caveat I have not yet mentioned: Not all puppies become service dogs.
Since starting our Project: Service Dog In Training. We’ve raised 5 puppies:
- Archer – working service dog
- Bear – career changed
- Buster – working service dog
- Berlin – breeder
- Charlie – career changed
I’m going to remove Berlin from the equation because she had the characteristics to be a service dog, but instead she will be like Raven (mother of service dogs).
That leaves us with 2 working dogs and 2 career change dogs. Therefore by these small numbers, 50% of the puppies we raised are service dogs.
That means to get one working service dog I have to raise 2 dogs.
2 dogs x $12,600 = $25,200
WOW! That’s remarkably close to our quick and dirty number mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs.
TOTAL COST TO TRAIN A SERVICE DOG: $25,200
MORE INFORMATION: Have you ever wondered how much a guide dog cost? (dogs specifically trained for the blind). We answered that question several years ago on the blog and the answer is different than what you’d think after reading this post about how much a service dog costs.
Sponsor A Puppy
Why am I writing a post asking how much a service dog cost?
My mission is to provide service dogs to individuals FREE of charge. Unfortunately, I’m not backed by a huge conglomerate to sponsor the puppies I raise, I don’t have deep pockets to fully fund this venture on my own, and I haven’t won the lottery…yet…
I want YOU to be a part of this journey that I started over 10+ years ago.
If you haven’t already joined our email list to get the most up-to-date news on our upcoming puppy.
We will also be setting up a platform that will allow you to contribute to our service dog project…stay tuned…
The money you contribute will be used to pay all of our service puppy’s expenses.
We will detail how much money we receive and how much we spend here on the blog.
Our goal has been set: $25,200
If we exceed our goals and generate more money then the cost of our service dog puppy then we will donate the remaining amount to one or more of our favorite service dog organizations.
Disclaimer: Not every puppy is meant to be a service dog. In fact many dogs are career changed before they start working. If this is the case with our puppy then we will donate the money from our “Sponsor A Puppy” fund to one or more of our favorite service dog organizations.
Join our journey!
Be a part of our next service dog puppy in training.
Thank you for your support!
What are your thoughts?
Was this approximately how much you thought a service dog would cost?
Are you ready to be a bigger part of our next service dog puppy in training?
Tell us your thoughts, questions, and answers in our comment section below.
Top Picks For Our Puppies
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Bones & Chews Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Crazy Dog Train-Me Treats - We use these as our high-value treats for our guide dog puppies.
- BEST FRESH DOG FOOD
We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.