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What Is the Cost of a Service Dog? (2023 Price Guide)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

A service dog with a blind lady in the park bench

If you’re thinking about getting or needing a service dog, you’ll need to factor in a ton of expenses. Of course, you have the initial high price of a service dog which is $20,000 on average, but there are also monthly expenses you’ll need to consider before bringing one home.

It’s a lot to go through, and it’s why we came up with this guide to break down everything you’ll need to know before bringing a service dog home. That way, you can set up your monthly budget and ensure you can give your service dog everything they need before you get one.

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Bringing Home a New Service Dog: One-Time Costs

By far the most expensive part of owning a service dog is getting the service dog itself. But while that’s expensive all on its own, you’ll also need to factor in other one-time costs like all their supplies and toys. It’s a lot to consider, which is why we decided to highlight everything you’ll need here.


While you’re not likely to find someone just giving away a service dog to anyone who wants one, there are programs out there to help people who need service dogs get them. However, most programs that offer service dogs to those in need have extremely long wait lists. Still, we recommend looking into these options before purchasing a service dog.


  • $100 – $10,000

Unfortunately, most insurance plans will not cover the cost of acquiring a service dog. Still, there are some programs that you can apply for to get a discounted service dog. The discount amount varies from program to program and often depends on financial need.

But once again, many of these programs have extremely long wait lists, so it might not be an option if you need a service dog immediately.

doberman puppy in the arms of owner
Image Credit: Pavel Shlykov, Shutterstock


  • $15,000 – $30,000

If you’re looking to purchase a fully trained service dog you need to be ready to spend quite a bit of money. On average you can expect to spend close to $20,000 on a service dog, but the total price will depend on what features you need.

The more a service dog can do, the more time goes into training them, which drives up the cost. In short, getting a fully trained service dog isn’t cheap.

Initial Setup & Supplies

  • $175 – $370

Compared to the initial cost of the service dog, the supplies and initial setup you need to care for them are reasonable. Still, you’ll want to factor in these costs before bringing a service dog home. That way, you have everything they need and aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

Below, we’ve come up with a helpful list and guide so you can get everything your service dog needs before bringing them home!

Pembroke Welsh corgi puppy in crate training
Image Credit: Jus_Ol, Shutterstock

List of Service Dog Care Supplies and Costs

Harness $25
Bed $50–$100
Brush $5–$20
Cage $50–$100
Leash $5–$20
Food and Water Bowls $15–$40
Nail Clippers $5–$15
Toys $20–$50

How Much Does a Service Dog Cost Per Month?

  • $85 – $380 per month

Just because you have a service dog doesn’t mean you don’t need to spend any more money. If you’re getting a service dog, you’ll need to feed and care for them each month, which costs money, too.

But it can be tough trying to figure out everything you’ll need beforehand. Don’t worry, we’ve highlighted everything for you so you won’t miss a thing and can set up an accurate budget for your pup!

A white service dog with a woman in wheelchair
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Health Care

  • $75 – $340 per month

You just spent a ton of time, energy, and money finding the perfect service dog for you, the last thing you want to do is not do everything you need in order to keep them happy and healthy. But there are a ton of expenses that go into keeping your service dog healthy.

It’s a lot to keep track of, but luckily for you, we’ve highlighted everything they need and how much you should expect to spend for each thing for you here.


  • $30 – $150 per month

The last thing you want to do after spending a ton on a service dog is to feed them low-quality food. A higher quality food will lead to a higher quality of life for your dog, and it’ll help ensure they have fewer health problems and a longer lifespan in the future.

Get higher quality food and view it as an investment for the future. You can either go with a higher quality kibble, wet food, or even a specialized fresh food diet for your service dog.

woman gives her labrador retriever dog food in a feeding bowl
Image Credit: Christian Mueller, Shutterstock


  • $5 – $40 per month

This all depends on the breed of service dog you get. If you get a hypoallergenic service dog, you’ll need to take them for grooming appointments. Otherwise, you might be able to brush their hair and clip their nails yourself.

Either way, you’ll want to take the time to brush their teeth each day to keep them in great shape and prevent future oral hygiene problems.

Medications and Vet Visits

  • $0 – $50 per month

Once again, this depends on the dog. If your service dog has or develops a chronic medical condition, it’ll drive up the monthly medication costs, but many dogs don’t require this. However, you’ll want to put a little back each month to cover vet visits when they come up.

Another option you have is to purchase a pet insurance plan with a preventative health package that will allow you to skip this expense entirely, but it will add a bit more to your pet insurance bill.

woman talking to vet
Image Credit: SeventyFour, Shutterstock

Pet Insurance

  • $40 – $100 per month

With how expensive and how difficult it is to get a service dog, you want to take the time to insure them. Pet insurance will help you cover any expensive vet bills that come up, and they even offer preventative care packages to help cover costs for things like teeth cleanings, immunizations, and wellness checkups.

Environment Maintenance

  • $0 – $5 per month

Compared to many other pets, a service dog doesn’t come with a ton of environmental maintenance costs. You’ll want to invest in some waste disposal bags so you can clean up after them while you’re out, but from there, you shouldn’t need to invest in too much else to keep up with your service dog’s environment.

woman holding trash bag after cleaning up dog poop outdoors
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock


  • $10 – $35 per month

Your service dog’s personality will play a big part in how many toys you should get them, but if they love playing with toys, you need to give them new options from time to time. Toy subscription boxes are an easy way to do this, but they can get a bit pricier.

If you don’t mind heading out to the store and want to save a few bucks, you can shop in the discount sections at stores to replenish their toy supply each month without spending much.

Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Service Dog

  • $85 – $380 per month

When it comes to caring for your service dog, you don’t want to cut corners. Not only is it not what’s best for your dog, but it’ll also mean you’re not getting the most out of them in the future. But now that you know how much you’ll need to allot for them, you can set up an accurate budget and get them everything they need.

A golden retriever service dog with a blind woman walking
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Additional Costs to Factor In

While we’ve already covered a ton of cost factors that come with owning a service dog, there are a few more you’ll need to factor in. First, traveling with a service dog can be more expensive than traveling alone. You’ll need to account for these expenses for your next trip.

Additionally, you’ll want to put a little bit back each month to replace everyday items that wear out like dog beds or even leashes. While you shouldn’t need to replace these items often, they’re not going to last forever!

Owning a Service Dog on a Budget

Just because you need a service dog doesn’t mean you have a ton of discretionary income to throw around. We understand the dilemma, which is why we wanted to give you a few tips on how you can save some money while caring for them.

Start by purchasing in bulk. While you’re going to spend a little more upfront, the supplies will last a lot longer and they’ll offer them for a discount since you’re purchasing more at once.

Next, get insurance for them early. The longer you wait, the more likely it is for them to develop a health problem that insurance won’t cover, and the older the dog, the more expensive the monthly premium.

Finally, consider local organizations that might be willing to help you out. Many times, there are groups and organizations that will help supplement the costs for service dogs if you’re experiencing financial hardships.

a great dane service dog helping a woman with mobility issues
Image Credit: ButtermilkgirlVirginia,Shutterstock

Saving Money on Service Dog Care

Since service dogs can go pretty much everywhere, you shouldn’t incur too many additional expenses. You shouldn’t need to worry about pet sitters or major behavioral problems since they can go with you everywhere and they’re extremely well trained.

Still, if you are going somewhere and aren’t bringing them, you can save some money on care by having someone you know and trust watch them instead of paying someone.

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Now that you know a little more about how much it costs to own a service dog, it’s time to start reaching out to local organizations in your area.

Not only can they help lower some of the potential costs of getting a service dog, but they’re also an excellent resource for you to use to find reputable and top-notch service dog trainers in your area. It’s not a low-cost process, but the right service dog can be a life-changing addition to your home and lifestyle!

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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