Expenses Abound: The Cost of Owning a Pug


The playful, loving Pug is one of the most popular breeds of dog in the U.S. today, and in the world. Many people fall in love with these clownish little dogs who live to be near their owners. But, as with any dog, owning a Pug can be an expensive proposition.

Bringing a Pug Into Your Life

If you are buying a purebred Pug from registered parents you can expect to pay anywhere from about $250 for a puppy you find in a newspaper ad to about $1,500-2,000 for a well-bred Pug that is destined to become a show champion. The price will depend on many factors, such as the quality of the dog’s pedigree, the area of the country, and the health tests that the breeder has done on the parents. Pugs also produce small litters and sometimes require C-sections so the breeder may have a lot of money invested in a litter of only 2-3 puppies. The puppy from the newspaper ad may grow up to be a wonderful pet. Likewise, the pup who was supposed to become a show champion may not live very long. When you’re buying a puppy at 12 weeks of age, it’s usually a guessing game.

Sometimes breeders may have adult dogs to place in good, loving homes after they have retired from the show ring or from breeding. In many cases these dogs are placed for free or for just a nominal amount after they are spayed or neutered. If you know Pug breeders or there is a breeder in your area who shows you may want to ask them about this possibility. Check their web sites to see if they have any dogs listed.

If you prefer to adopt an older Pug, then you can usually plan on spending $200-300. Although shelters and rescues do call the process “adoption” they generally charge a fee for the dogs that they place to cover their costs. You can visit your local shelter to check out that option.

The Expenses Keep Rolling In

You should keep in mind that the initial price you pay for a Pug puppy is only the tip of the iceberg. Once you bring your puppy or dog home that’s when you really start spending money! Your new Pug will need all sorts of things to make him part of your family: dog food, which is an ongoing expense; regular vet care, toys, collars and leashes, a sherpa bag or pet carrier for taking him places, and so on.

When it comes to dog food for your Pug you should continue following the breeder’s instructions when you first bring your Pug home. You can slowly make any adjustments afterwards. Good dog food is expensive and it’s not a good idea to buy cheaper foods. The health of your Pug does depend on what you feed him. Some of the good dog foods can cost a dollar a pound, at minimum, if you feed dry food. Many people feed their Pugs canned food, which is even more costly. The good news is that the Pug is a small dog so it will cost less to feed him than it costs to feed a large dog.

The cost of vet care will vary from one part of the country to another. Someone in a farming area, seeing a country vet, will pay less than someone in New York City who takes their Pug to the vet. Your Pug will need, in general, a series of 2-3 vaccinations as a puppy for things like Parvo and Distemper. He will also need a rabies shot when he’s 3-4 months old. After that he will need to see the vet annually for his booster shots. You can talk to your vet about the possibility of rotating the booster shots -- receiving the Parvo booster one year and the booster for Leptospirosis the next year since evidence suggests that it’s better for a dog’s immune system not to be overtaxed with all of the shots each year. Your dog will have immunity to each of these diseases for more than one year.

Your Pug will also need to have heartworm preventive each month, even if he’s an indoor dog. Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes which can and do get inside the house. Whether you choose Heartgard, Interceptor, Sentinel or some other heartworm preventive medicine, these products require that your dog be tested annually for heartworms and you will need a prescription from your vet to purchase them. They do cost less for a small dog like a Pug than for larger dogs, however.

In many parts of the country your Pug will also need flea prevention. Products like Frontline and Advantage are usually recommend. A six month supply of Frontline Plus may cost from $50 and up.

Your Pug will need a steady supply of toys...the more the better. Especially as a pup, it’s a good idea to keep your Pug well supplied with toys. This will help cut down on the amount of chewing and damage that he does to your things. Like everything else, toys can be expensive. It can be frustrating when your Pug rips the face of a new toy five minutes after you bring it home. You may want to visit Goodwill or thrift stores to buy stuffed animals for your Pug. That way you can buy some of his toys in bulk and it won’t cost as much.

Collars and leashes come in all price ranges depending on what they’re made of. If you buy ordinary nylon collars and leashes -- which are very practical and sturdy -- then the cost won’t be bad. But if you buy fancier collars and leashes made of leather, or with embroidery, then they will cost more. It’s up to you how much you want to spend but many people can’t resist buying some pretty collars and leashes for their Pug.

Finally, it is important for your Pug to have some way to travel when he can’t be on a leash. You may need to have him in a sherpa bag or in a pet carrier when he goes to the vet, for instance. It’s also a good idea for your Pug to be crated in the car both for his own safety and for the safety of the person driving the vehicle. Loose dogs in a car can cause accidents. Crates for a dog the size of a Pug can cost from $20-80, depending on where and when you purchase them. Sherpa bags can cost from $10 to as much as you want to pay.

As you can see, the purchase price for your Pug is only the beginning. Owning a Pug requires a lifetime commitment of not just your time but also of your financial resources. Be sure that you can afford to get a dog before you get one. We all love dogs but it’s important to be able to care for one properly.

Photo Credit: Philip Taylor PT


slugpug (over 8 years ago)

Boy O Boy can I vouch for that! I have 3 pugs ages 5, 5, and 15. Btween the 3 of them I have spent over 13,000 dollars over the past 4 years.  Life saving pyometra surgery and plasma transfusions. acute onset of ammune mediated retinitis which ultimatley left one of my 5 year old comlpletley blind. No specialist could have helped her. Misc  collapsing trachea E.R visits at 500 dollars a visit. Adds up really fast! With all this said and done I wouldnt change any of my decisions to  treat. I love my babies and spare no exspense when it comes to medical care.

EmmasMom71 (over 8 years ago)

Well I can honestly say that other than a infected tooth I have been blessed with Good Health for my puggy Emma! I haven’t had any unusually high expenses that you wouldnt incur from any pet.

Mom2Pugs (over 8 years ago)

I have owned shelties and now pugs, and I agree with Emma’s Mom.  I have actually spent more on my shelties and one mutt than my pugs. My sheltie and mutt both had cancer.  Any way all that to say that over the years I have learned to have a savings account just for pet health care.  Pet insurance can help but you must do your research before you sign up and make sure it is right for you. 

But then there is the money that one has to spend when first bringing the new family member home.  We all know you need; toys, treats, bedding, crates, leashes, food, grooming tools and carriers.  It all adds up so get ready!  LOL Maybe you could get your friends to throw a Puppy Shower for you!  We have done this for friends and it is so much fun! 


Bubba-Lola (over 8 years ago)

Touch wood- Both pugs healthy - only Bubba popped his knee out once.... because hes to fat

shhhh.. he is very sensitive about it

Mom2Pugs (over 8 years ago)

Bella just went for her annual health exam and shots.  She got a "Great" bill of health!  But, had two infected teeth that ended up with a total of 5 teeth pulled!  Poor baby!  She is feeling much better today.  And I am thankful for the Doggie Health savings account.  The yearly vet visit with Heartworm preventive was just over $220.00 then the tooth cleaning and extractions ran just over $365.00 but worth it all for a happy healthy Bella! 

predatorpug (over 8 years ago)

About every other year Kamoku racks up the bills.  So far this year Misaki scratched Kamoku's eye in Feburary.  He had a huge hive that he scratched open on his cheek, again. We saw an eye specialist to see where his vision is, due to all his previous eye injuries.  Misaki scratched his other eye  in March, which we are still seeing the vet for, this one is a bad scratch. We get to go to the vet again tomorrow for the current eye injury.  My poor mister.  And my little Misaki has been quite the little devil with Kamoku.  I keep telling her if Kamoku can't see you, he can't chase you! To be honest I feel just horrible for Kamoku.  But I love my babies.  It's my job to take care of them and get them care when needed! 

KatB (over 8 years ago)

I have been really lucky with my pugs. Just the usual yearly shots. My jap. chin is the one that really cost me about a year ago when he hurt his back end.

John Merryweather (about 6 years ago)

With our 17 week old Jabba, I looked into pet insurance. I'm a foster parent and the dog's co-owner/breeder is a DVM. The premium was $47.57/month for $1000.00/incident or accident. Then there was a $100.00 deductible. So, we looked at $540/year plus the deductible of $100 and decided that the most we could gain is $360/year if there was an incident. Had Jabba been a rescue pug or an unknown we would have done it but, we know the breeder, the parents and grand parents and the genetic line. I would rather put the money in the bank.

Roxy & Maddie (almost 6 years ago)

I have 2 pugs one is Roxie she is almost 3 - she goes to the vet every month for allergies and one ear we are always fighting to keep un infected. I have Maddie she is almost a year never been to the vet except for her annual ck up and shots - Funny they have the same parents. Im blessed.