All too often, people looking to add a Labradoodle puppy to their family fail to consider the costs associated with the pup after they initially purchase the dog. Each year, more than 7 million dogs end up in shelters across the US. While the top reason is due to behavioral issues, the costs of ownership aren’t far behind.
If you’re considering growing your family by four paws and have a Labradoodle in mind, here are some costs to plan for.
How much does it cost to own a Labradoodle in the first year? The cost of getting a Labradoodle from a breeder is between $1200 and $3000. Health checks run between $350 and $650 for puppies that need initial vet visits, vaccinations, flea and tick, heartworm and spay/neuter surgery. $500 – $1200 for a year of food, grooming, nail trimmings, and supplies like a collar, leash, and bed. Optional costs of Pet Insurance and Obedience training can run another $300 – $1000 for the year.
The cost of getting a Labradoodle puppy from a breeder are given in detail here, with real-world examples from reputable breeders we’ve found and used. As for health and upkeep, here is a breakdown of those costs:
- Vet Visit Averages: $50 per visit, 3 per year
- Vaccinations: Around $15 per shot, totals between $75-150
- Heartworm plus Flea and Tick: $200 per year
- Spay or Neuter: Neutering – $45 – 135, Spaying – $50 – 175 (this can be lower through programs like Friends of Animals)
- Grooming and Nails: Grooming – $45 – 75, Nail Trimming – $10
- Food: Depending on what kind we estimate $40-70/month or $480-840/year
- Various Supplies: Crate, toys, collar, leash, etc: $100-200 (Look for hand me downs and used items here to drastically lower costs)
- Pet Insurance: $20-75/month
- Obedience Training: $120-150 – Group Classes (6-week)
Healthcare And Prevention
When you adopt a Labradoodle puppy, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will check the puppy’s medical history and determine if the puppy recently had its first round of shots. Follow-up visits and vaccinations will be scheduled based on the needs of the puppy.
Sometime during the first year, you should bring your puppy in to be spayed or neutered. The surgery can be performed at varying ages depending on the veterinarian’s guidelines. When the puppy reaches a year old, it’s time for the annual visit and booster shots. Some veterinarians do the booster shots yearly, but others do them every three years, depending on where you live and state laws.
Most veterinarians advocate check-ups twice a year when your dog reaches the age of seven. Some dogs begin having issues with joint pain and mobility, and your vet can prescribe treatment that will give your dog a better quality of life and alleviate their suffering.
Average Cost: $50/visit
The American Animal Hospital Association states that all puppies should be vaccinated every two to four weeks beginning at the age of six weeks with the final round of shots at sixteen weeks of age. The vaccinations that veterinarians deem to be necessary are:
- Adenovirus 2
- Canine Distemper
- Canine Parvovirus
- Parainfluenza Virus
When puppies are young, the antibodies from the mother may interfere with how puppy’s systems can fight off infections and illness. The vaccinations given at two to four-week intervals can help to boost the immune systems of puppies until the immune system is capable of fighting off disease over the long-term.
Other vaccinations that veterinarians don’t consider essential that may be administered are:
- Lyme Disease
Dog owners should ask their veterinarian about these vaccines. The factors that determine whether these vaccines should be administered are lifestyle, where you live, and the risk factors for your breed.
The vaccine against kennel cough is recommended for dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs and those who have a high risk of developing pneumonia and other serious infections. Leptospirosis is a severe bacterial infection carried by mammals. Lyme Disease can be contracted by dogs who spend a lot of time outside. Your veterinarian will discuss vaccination options with you.
Multivalent vaccines contain several antigens in one dose so it vaccinates against several diseases. The typical schedule for puppy vaccines is DA2PP:
- At 7 weeks (with kennel cough vaccine, if recommended)
- At 10 weeks (with Leptospirosis and Lyme Disease, if recommended)
- At 13 weeks (with Leptospirosis and Lyme Disease)
- At 16 weeks (with Rabies Vaccine)
Vaccines will be given at annual exams. Additional vaccinations including those against canine influenza and rattlesnake bites may be recommended, depending on your location.
Average Cost: $15-30/shot, however, each vaccination varies because many are based on the size of the puppy.
Many veterinarians clinics are now offering preventative packages for puppies where you pay a flat fee ($150-200) which covers all your puppies required vaccinations for the first year. Be sure to ask yours if they have something similar.
Heartworm, Flea and Tick Control
Fleas and ticks can cause a variety of diseases that are painful and harmful to dogs. Your Labradoodle puppies can have doses of flea/tick control and heartworm medications starting at between six and ten weeks old. Many medicines on the market are applied topically, prevent Heartworm Disease, kill adult fleas, and prevent new flea eggs from hatching. The medications can also protect against other varieties of parasites.
Average Cost: Heartworm – $75-100/year, Flea/Tick – $100-125/year
Spay Or Neuter Surgery
Millions of perfectly healthy dogs and puppies are euthanized in the United States each year simply because there just aren’t enough people willing to adopt them. Many of these dogs are relinquished to animal control or shelters because they’re not wanted.
In a lot of cases, an owner allows their female dog to breed, then they decide they don’t want to take on the responsibility of the mother and her litter, so they end up in a shelter. The fortunate ones are rescued by local rescue groups or individuals willing to pay the adoption fee and other necessary expenses, but many don’t make it out of the shelter.
Some owners don’t spay or neuter because they believe some of the myths surrounding spay/neutering. One misconception is that when a dog is spayed or neutered, they will start to gain excess weight. This isn’t true. As long as your dog eats a healthy diet and gets sufficient exercise, there’s no reason that they’ll gain a lot of weight after surgery.
One reason some owners choose to have their dog spayed or neutered is that they believe any negative behavior will be corrected after the surgery, which isn’t the case. The best way to avoid having a dog that misbehaves is to begin training as soon as six or seven weeks.
Common Problems From Not Spaying or Neutering Your Dog
Approximately 3.3 million dogs are relinquished by owners or picked up as strays and taken to shelters each year. Dogs that are picked up as strays are sometimes returned to their owners, but the fact is that more than 670,000 dogs are euthanized each year. When dogs aren’t spayed or neutered, and litters are the result of irresponsible breeding, litters, sometimes with their mother are taken to shelters or abandoned.
Rescues and fosters all over the country have limited resources. Most of these groups rely on donations. Dogs and puppies that are taken in by rescues need veterinary care, and since they don’t have a lot of financial resources, they can run up veterinary bills very quickly.
Dogs and puppies that are adopted from local animal control facilities are usually required to have spay or neuter surgery done within 30 days of the adoption. In some communities, the adoption contract includes the cost of the procedure before the dog is adopted, which increases the cost of the adoption. Although the numbers of dogs entering shelters have been on the decline, spaying or neutering your puppy or dog is the most effective way to alleviate the crisis of pet homelessness.
Health And Behavioral Benefits of Spaying/Neutering
When you spay your female dog, she’ll have less risk of developing breast tumors and serious, uterine infections. In approximately 50 percent of dogs that develop infections in the uterus, cancer will develop.
One of the issues with un-neutered dogs is that they mark their territory by spraying, which is a problem when they’re doing it in the house. They sometimes mount other dogs or people, and even inanimate objects. Neutering can resolve these issues.
Another problem with dogs that aren’t neutered and are allowed outside, they can get out of the yard and roam a considerable distance. When they’re out loose, there’s a risk of them getting into a fight with another dog or getting hit by a car.
Female dogs usually have heat cycles twice a year. The cycle can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks or longer. However, the average cycle is often 12 to 21 days. Some people think that their female should become pregnant during her first heat cycle, which can be dangerous for the dog and her litter.
Dogs aren’t fully mature at six months, and complications could arise. Having the dog spayed while pregnant is not advisable. The tissue and blood vessels of the reproductive tract are engorged when a dog is pregnant, and the risk of uncontrolled bleeding is much higher. The best way to avoid scenarios like this is to have your puppy spayed as soon as the veterinarian allows it.
Average Cost: Neutering – $45 – 135, Spaying – $50 – 175. The cost of anesthesia is often an extra charge.
The average cost of neutering surgery can vary considerably, depending on where you live. Some communities have low-cost spay/neuter clinics that offer the neutering procedure for between $45 and $135. The weight of the dog is also taken into account when determining the cost of the surgery. Spay surgery is more complex and can sometimes be complicated. The average price for a spay is between $50 and $175. Some veterinarians may charge as much as $300 for a spay.
Grooming / Nail Trimming
Grooming is essential when it comes to being the pet parent of a Labradoodle. Whether your dog is an American or Australian Labradoodle, professional grooming is a necessity every four to six weeks. A Labradoodle doesn’t shed like other breeds, but due to the long coat, it’s necessary to brush your dog’s coat frequently and to make sure to get the hair underneath the top layer.
Average Cost: Grooming – $45 – 75, Nail Trimming – $10
The average cost of having your Labradoodle groomed professionally groomed may be between $45 and $75, depending on what you’re having done. However, some groomers may charge over $100. The complete clip and trim will cost more than if you’re having your dog shampooed and brushed.
Why They Need To Be Groomed
If your Labradoodle isn’t groomed often enough, the coat will get matted and tangled and the dog will be very uncomfortable and could develop skin problems. Dirt can accumulate in the layer and make it difficult to groom. Get your dog accustomed to grooming by brushing daily, beginning when the dog is between eight and twelve weeks old. Brushing your puppy at this age is essential because Labradoodles don’t shed so the coat can become matted if they can’t get rid of their puppy coat.
In this article, we go into our top tips and tools for grooming a Labradoodle. With a bit of work, you can get your pup into a great routine.
Dogs should have their nails trimmed every four to six weeks to keep them from tearing and causing bleeding. If you have the nails trimmed when your dog is groomed, you can do minor trims in between grooming visit with a trimmer. Each time the nails are trimmed the quick recedes further making it easier to keep the nails short.
Food and Treats
The size a Labradoodle is at maturity depends on the type of poodle the retriever is bred with. Small breed dogs metabolize their food quickly. They need extra fat and protein in their diet to maintain lean muscle mass. Top-quality dog food for adult dogs is excellent for medium-sized Labradoodles, while a large breed formula works best for a large dog. Choose brands that are formulated with all the vitamins and mineral your dog needs without artificial ingredients or fillers.
An important point to consider is that Poodles and Labrador Retrievers are more prone to food allergies than some other breeds, so Labradoodles have a higher risk of reactions to ingredients in their food and treats. Foods that contain corn, soy, and wheat can cause allergic reactions in Labradoodles. You may want to stick with a grain-free diet. A food with healthy animal fat keeps your dog’s coat shiny and skin soft. Quality, dry food with ingredients like roasted bison, venison, duck, salmon, and sweet potato are excellent choices.
At each stage of a puppy’s life, owners should follow the feeding recommendations given on the packaging. They usually go by the current age and expected weight of the dog as an adult.
Many puppies are fed by the breeder by what’s called ‘free-feeding’, where they have access to food all day. Our breeder told us to switch to twice-daily feeding once we brought our pup home. If you have questions about what’s best for your Labradoodle, check with your vet.
Your pup should eat food specifically designed for puppies for the first 12 to 16 months of their life. At that point, you can then change them to an adult formula.
Average Cost: $40-70/month or $480-840/year This varies greatly depending on the adult size your puppy will reach at maturity and the quality of food you choose to feed your pup. As they grow in the first 12-months, they will start to consume more food.
When choosing training treats for your Labradoodle, you want ones that aren’t difficult to chew or are too large. You want to reward your dog for obeying commands, so they should be really enticing treats. Something like pieces of liver or boiled chicken work great.
When you’re not training your pup, you’ll want to have other treats on hand. These are given in smaller quantities because they might be larger and have higher caloric content.
Bully sticks and antlers are ideal for times when you want your Labradoodle to have some fun chewing on a treat that tastes good and lasts a long time. Your dog should always be supervised when chewing on horns or antlers since small bits could break off that they could choke on. You’ll want to avoid rawhide treats since they can cause issues with their digestive system.
Average Cost: Blue Buffalo Soft-Moist Training Treats – $5 (4-oz bag), Buddy Biscuits Grain-Free Dog Treats – $5 (5-oz bag), Pet’s Choice Naturals Bully Sticks 6″ Dog Treats (12-pack) – $20
You’ll want to buy all the necessary supplies you’ll need for your new puppy before he comes home. While you’re bound to forget something, here’s a list of the basic items you’ll want to have on-hand and ready, along with their rough cost.
- Crate with Divider (more on Crates) – $30-90, depending on size
- Washable Bed/Pad (or Towels) – $20-40
- Food (age-specific) – $20-40
- Treats – $10
- Food and Water Bowls – $15-20
- Leash & Collar (more on Leashes & Collars) – $20-30
- Teething Toys – $20
- Brush & Comb (more on Brush and Comb) – $20
- Dog Toothbrush and Toothpaste – $10
- Shampoo and Conditioner (more on Grooming) – $20
- Cleaning Spray – $5
What Other Supplies Might You Need In The First Year?
One of the essentials, if you’re a Labradoodle parent, is a set of good quality grooming tools. A puppy’s coat is easy to maintain. However, since you’ll be grooming your Labradoodle 2-3 times a week as an adult, it’s recommended that you get him used to being brushed and handled in general, early on.
Puppy Obedience Training
Importance Of Starting Early
Puppies are capable of learning simple commands as soon as they have their eyes open. At seven or eight weeks, puppies can learn commands like sit or stay. They learn through repetition so you can spend a few minutes each day teaching basic commands and reinforce with training treats when they obey the commands you give.
Different Skills To Be Taught
Positive reinforcement and training with healthy treats is an excellent way to get a young puppy to respond. Start by showing your puppy a tasty treat that he gets when he obeys. When the basic commands are second nature, positive reinforcement like patting or verbal praise can replace getting a treat. This will take time, so be patient. Using this method, the commands sit, stay, down, and stand can be easily taught at seven or eight weeks.
Basic Obedience Classes
While working with your pup at home is essential for consistency purposes, basic obedience classes are highly recommended. The most crucial time for training is between 8 and 12 weeks (we started Oliver with puppy school at 12 weeks). Not only do they help you and your dog learn together and grow your bond, but they also expose your dog to other dogs. Socialization of your pup in a controlled environment, like obedience classes, plays a huge part into their development and interaction.
Obedience classes are most commonly offered in a small group setting. But if you have a problematic pup or are looking for more focused training, you can certainly find a trainer who offers 1-on-1 sessions. In the group setting, there are usually 5-10 pup/owner pairs, but this will vary depending on the popularity of the school and the size of the training room.
Classes are offered at many pet supply stores (like Petsmart) and boarding facilities. A simple online search should turn up many options, but if you’re having a hard time finding classes, as your veterinarian’s office.
Average Cost: $120-150 – Group Classes (6-week)
Having Pet Insurance can save a lot in medical expenses. It can help with routine exams, prescription medications, breed-specific conditions, dental, emergency care, and pre-existing conditions. Some plans will even cover alternative therapies.
Choosing A Good Pet Insurance
The most effective way to choose pet insurance for your Labradoodle is to compare companies online. As pet insurance grows in popularity, more companies start offering options. So you should also ask your vet who they might be able to recommend.
Pet insurance becomes more expensive as your pup gets older. And if some type of medical condition occurs before you get it, they may no longer be eligible.
Average Cost: $20-75/month, depending on the benefits and deductible options you elect
Time Investment Of Owning A Labradoodle
Every dog breed out there has its pros and cons, the benefits of having a dog as part of your family outweigh the disadvantages. The most significant investment of time with your Labradoodle is the time you take to train. However, they are intelligent and easy to train, especially if you start early. Grooming takes a considerable amount of time but is worth it when your dog has a clean, shiny coat.