20+ Monthly Expenses of Owning a German Shepherd

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

German shepherd on the grass

If you’re thinking about adding a German Shepherd as a companion in your home, you may be wondering what the cost of doing so will be.

Certain dog breeds can require more care than others, depending on their specific needs.

Owning and caring for a German Shepherd is higher up on the expense list than some other breeds. Even though it’s not the most expensive dog, there are things you’ll need to purchase monthly or yearly to take care of your German Shepherd. It takes about $500 a month to care for a German Shepherd.

German Shepherds are an amazing breed. No other breed compares to their diligence and willingness to please and protect the humans they love.

However, like most large breeds, caring for your Shepard properly is relatively expensive.

Please read on to discover some of the expenses you may incur for a German Shepherd under your care. 

Food and Supplements

In this section, I’ll be going over the necessary food and supplements for your German Shepherd at all stages of life.


German Shepherds can get up to 60 lbs in their first year of life. Because they grow so fast, they must get the proper nutrients. 

According to Shepherd Sense, German Shepherds need extra minerals, carbohydrates, vitamins, and calcium; these supplements will ensure healthy joints, buccal growth, and a shiny coat.

German Shepherds are highly active dogs, requiring a high-calorie diet. Between 0 and 14 months old, your puppy should be getting 500 calories a day.


When they are 15 months old, they need 1600 calories a day.

The amount of protein in the food should be about 18% to 22% and about 8% – 12% crude fat.

Puppies usually need 2-3 cups of food a day. A 30 lb (13.6 kg) bag of dry food has 120 cups, so this bag should last you one month.

You can do half a can a day with wet food or spread it out. So 12 cans can last about a month.

Puppy food ranges in price depending on the quality of the food.

Giving your German Shepherd puppy dry and wet food is a great way to get all the vitamins and water they need in their diet.

ItemRangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry Kibble (30 lb) (13.6 kg)$20 – $60$46
Wet Food (12 cans)$30 – $50$40
Treats (30 count)$8 – $20$12


For an adult German Shepherd their diet will be a little different. They need about 20% – 25% protein, 10% – 15% crude fat, and 3% – 7% fiber in their diet.

Depending on their activity level, they’ll need 1272 – 2100 calories a day.

It’s best to feed them twice a day, and you can give them treats in between meals.

The average amount this breed eats is 3 – 5 cups of food a day. A 30 lb (13.6 kg) bag of dry food has 120 cups in it. 

So, you’ll probably have to buy two bags of dog food in one month.

The same goes for wet food, depending on how much you give your dog wet food.

You’ll want to look for dry kibble with animal meat in the top ingredients when purchasing food.

This protein will provide your dog with the most nutrients possible. Also, look for food or treats that promote joint health.

ItemRangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry Kibble (30 lb) (13.6 kg)$20 – $60$72
Wet food (12 cans)$30 – $50$60
Treats (30 count)$8 – $20$12


When your German Shepherd starts to age, they only need 18% protein and 5% fat in their diet.

They also need prebiotics and supplements to promote joint health in their food.

They must get those extra vitamins and supplements to keep them healthy as they get older.

You can still feed them twice a day, but they will most likely be on the lower end of the calorie intake as they won’t be as active in their old age.

ItemRangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry Kibble (30 lb) (13.6 kg)$20 – $60$60
Wet Food (12 cans)$30 – $50$45
Prebiotics/Supplements (8 oz) (226.8 g)$20 – $35$18
Treats (30 count)$8 – $20$12

Grooming and Hygiene

Just like humans, dogs have grooming and hygienic needs.

You’ll need to make sure you’re bathing them, trimming their nails, keeping their teeth clean, and taking care of their fur. 

Although German Shepherds don’t need to groom as often as humans, they do need some things regularly to stay clean and healthy.


When bathing your German Shepherd, you can either do it at home or take them to a groomer.

Depending on how your dog reacts to the bath, it may be easier to get a professional.

It’s recommended to bathe your German Shepherd every six to eight weeks, depending on how dirty they are.

Sometimes our furry friends like to get into the mud and dirt outside and may need a bath sooner than planned.

Most dog shampoos are fine to use on this breed. However, they make specific shampoos for German Shepherds that you can also use.

ItemRangeAverage Monthly Cost
Regular Dog Shampoo (16 oz) (453.6 g) *6 month supply*$10 – $15$3
Flea/Tick Shampoo (16 oz) (453.6 g) *6 months supply*$8 – $14$2
Professional Bath *every two months*$30 – $90$35

Nail Trimming

Your German Shepherd will need a nail trim at least once a month.

You can do this at home or take them to a groomer to get them done.

There are plenty of nail trimmers and clippers available to purchase at home.

If your dog has thick nails and gives you a hard time when trimming nails, it may be best to take them to a professional.

Item (Some items are 1 yr supply)RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Nail Clippers$10 – $15$1
Nail Grinder$18 – $25$2
Professional Nail Trimming$10 – $25$18

Hair Care and Trimming

German Shepherds do shed quite often. Brush their coat every other day to keep the shedding at a minimum.

You can also get a de-shedding brush that gets the undercoat as well, getting as much loose fur as possible.

Brushing your German Shepherd’s fur keeps their coat clean, helps keep them cool, and prevents a considerable amount of loose fur from being all over your home.

When it comes to this breed, you should never cut their fur. Their coat keeps them insulated to regulate body temperature at any temperature.

Also, shaving their coat will make it so that their fur never grows back correctly.

Item (1 yr supply)RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Regular Brush$10 – $20$1
Deshedding brush$15 – $20$2

Dental Care

The first step in proper dental care is brushing your dog’s teeth at home. 

Many kinds of dog toothpaste prevent plaque buildup and help with bad breath. 

German Shepherds generally have good dental health and, at a minimum, need their teeth brushed three times a week.

Other products you can get to help your German Shepherd’s dental health are dental sticks and chews.

These treats taste delicious to your dog and are made to help clean your dog’s teeth.

Professional cleanings are the best way to 100% clean your dog’s teeth.

To know for sure if your German Shepherd needs a dental cleaning, schedule an exam with your Vet.

If this needs to be done, it’s usually once a year.

Item (Some items are 1 yr supply)RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Toothpaste (2.5 oz) (70.9 g)$10 – $20$7
Toothbrush$5 – $16$1
Dental Chews/Sticks (30 count)$15 – $28$22
Professional Cleaning$300 – $700$41

Veterinary Care

Ensuring your German Shepherd receives proper veterinary care is very important to their quality of life.

Veterinary care includes checkups and any vaccines they need.

Checkups and Vaccines

When it comes to owning a dog, there are several vaccines they will need at different stages of life.

They’ll need vaccines more frequently when they’re puppies until they get up to date on all of their shots.

After the initial puppy stage, you’d take your German Shepherd to get a checkup yearly unless they develop a health issue that requires more frequent checkups or if they become sick at any time.

Item (some vaccines are 1 yr supply)RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Canine Parvovirus$30 – $45$37
Canine Distemper$30 – $45$37
Rabies$20 – $30$25
Hepatitis$42 – $55$48
Leptospirosis$20- $30$25
Lyme Vaccine$34 – $45$3
Bordetella$25 – $35$2
Canine Influenza $45 – $55$4


When your German Shepherd is a puppy, you must get them all the vaccines that are required for any puppy. Here is the list of required vaccines:

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Canine Distemper
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis.

These vaccinations are usually required for any puppy. Other recommended vaccines are Bordetella, Lyme vaccine, and Canine influenza, and these need to be given every year.

You’ll have to go every few weeks until your dog is about four months old to get the complete cycle of vaccines for the required ones.

Your German Shepherd puppy could have common health issues: Degenerative Disc Disease and Panosteitis.

It’s crucial to watch these when they’re a puppy. Always get a diagnosis from a certified veterinarian.


Adult German Shepherds need boosters of the previously listed vaccines.

Canine Parvovirus, canine distemper, rabies, and hepatitis are boosters given every three years.

Leptospirosis, bordetella, Lyme vaccine, and canine influenza are given every year.

German Shepherds are susceptible to several health conditions due to their size and lack of care when breeding them.


The common health issues an adult dog can encounter are:

  • Epilepsy
  • Hemophilia
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus.


As your German Shepherd ages, they’ll most likely develop more health issues, just like any breed.

You may want to take your senior dog in twice a year for checkups to keep an eye on things, and you can always check with your Vet to see what they recommend.

These are the common health issues a senior German Shepherd may develop:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Cataracts.

If you suspect your canine is sick or something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to make an appointment to get an exam.

As far as vaccines go, they will still need to be on the same schedule as the adult vaccination schedule mentioned previously.


It’s highly recommended you get pet insurance for your German Shepherd.

Insurance can help cover costs if you ever have to deal with health issues that require expensive treatment or surgery.

Insurance usually costs a couple of hundred dollars for a year.

ItemRangeAverage Monthly Cost
Pet Insurance$500 – $600$45

Pet Supplies

When it comes to adding any dog to your family, you’ll have to purchase several supplies for the dog.

Some are necessities, while others are just personal preferences.


Some items are an absolute must if you decide to get a German Shepherd.

Your four-legged friend will need a collar, leash, harness, food and water bowl, poop bags, chew toys, and doggy ramp/steps.

It’s essential to keep your dog on a leash when not inside your home. Some dogs need a harness because a collar can choke them.

It’s good to have poop bags to clean up after your pet because no one wants to step in that.

Although chew toys may not seem necessary, it’s important to note that when puppies are teething, they will chew on anything they can put in their mouth.

You should consider chewing toys to avoid ruined things or your dog swallowing something that could harm them.

Item (Some items are 1 yr supply)RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Collar$8 – $25$2
Leash$8 – $20$2
Harness$20 – $35$2
Food and water bowls$15 – $30$2
Poop bags (300 bags)$8 – $15$4
Chew Toys$10 – $25$2


Some optional supplies you can purchase for your German Shepherd are nice to have, although they may not need them.

Some dogs prefer to sleep on the furniture or in bed with you.

If they’re not doing that, or if you’re trying to keep the fur off your bed, consider buying a dog bed or blanket, so they have their place to relax.

If you want your dog to be fashionable or are worried about it being cold or getting wet in the rain, you can purchase some dog sweaters or coats for them.

Other toys are always a good thing to keep your dog entertained and let them get some energy out.

Toys like tennis balls, squeaker toys, and ropes are usually big hits among canines.

ItemRangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dog Bed (1 yr supply)$25 – $60$4
Dog Clothes $15 – $30$20
Toys$10 – $25$18

Additional Costs

When owning a German Shepherd, you may have additional costs that aren’t a monthly thing.

It just depends on your lifestyle and your dog.

Dog Walker

If you have a busy schedule and find it difficult to make time to walk your German Shepherd, a dog walker may be an excellent service to engage.

A 30-minute walk will average $10 – $30 depending on where you live and what the dog walker charges.

Daycare or Dog Sitting

Doggy daycares are available if you’re going on vacation and need a sitter.

The usual rate is anywhere from $12- $38 per day. Again, this will depend on your area and what’s available.

There are also dog sitting services where they will stay at your house to watch and take care of your dog.

The average cost is about $20 – $30 per day and $45 – $75 per night.

This amount will depend on the sitter’s rate and how many days/nights you’ll need them. 

Dog Hotel


If you go on vacation or out of town for some reason, you may need to put your dog into a dog hotel while you’re gone.

These are great places for your dog to stay and be cared for if you don’t have a pet sitter.

It usually costs between $22 and $60 per night if your dog stays there.

A dog hotel usually isn’t a monthly expense and may only be used once or twice a year.


There are several options for training if that is something you want your German Shepherd to do.

A professional costs $45 – $120 per class, and obedience training costs $500 – $1200 per week.

Once the number of classes is complete, your dog doesn’t have to take classes ever again.


If they ever got out without your knowledge, you might want to get them microchipped to keep track of your dog.

The microchip lasts for a lifetime and costs $25 – $60. There’s usually a registration of about $20 – $30 to get your information into the database.

Monthly Budget of Owning This Breed

ItemRangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry Kibble (30 lb)  (13.6 kg)$20 – $60$46 – $72
Wet Food (12 cans)$30 – $50$40 – $60
Treats (30 count)$8 – $20$12
Prebiotics/Supplements (8 oz)  (226.8 g)$20 – $35$18
Regular Dog Shampoo (16 oz) (453.6 g) (6 month supply)$10 – $15$3
Flea/Tick Shampoo (16 oz) (453.6 g) (6 month supply)$8 – $14$2
Nail Clippers (1 yr supply)$10 – $15$1
Nail Grinder (1 yr supply)$18 – $25$2
Regular Brush (1 yr supply)$10 – $20$1
Deshedding brush (1 yr supply)$15 – $20$2
Toothpaste (2.5 oz) (70.9 g) (2 month supply)$10 – $20$7
Toothbrush (1 yr supply)$5 – $16$1
Dental Chews/Sticks (30 count)$15 – $28$22
Pet Insurance$500 – $600$45
Collar (1 yr supply)$8 – $25$2
Leash (1 year supply)$8 – $20$2
Harness (1 year supply)$20 – $35$2
Food and water bowls (1 year supply)$15 – $30$2
Poop bags (300 bags)$8 – $15$4
Chew Toys$10 – $25$2
Total= $262


German Shepherds are a much-loved breed for their unwavering loyalty and love for their human parents.

Those lucky enough to have a German Shepherd as their companion would agree that they are a steal for the price of their care.

Ultimately the most important aspect of caring for a Shepard is love, which is priceless.


  • AKC: How to Groom a German Shepherd Dog
  • AKC: Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean With Five Tips
  • Breeding Business: Top 7 Foods for German Shepherd Puppies
  • Canine Bible: Best Pet Insurance For German Shepherds: How Much It Costs, Quotes & FAQs
  • Best Pet Insurance for German Shepherd
  • Daily Paws: Going Away? Here’s How Much Dog Boarding Costs (and What’s Included)
  • Dog Boarding Costs
  • German Shepherd Dog HQ: Best Wet Dog Food for German Shepherd
  • German Shepherd Dog HQ: How Often Should You Bathe Your German Shepherd?
  • Hepper: 10 Common Health Problems in German Shepherd
  • Home Guide: How Much Do Dog Walkers Charge?
  • Home Guide: How Much Does A Pet Sitter Cost?
  • Home Guide: How Much Does It Cost To Train A Dog?
  • Indian Trail Animal Hospital: Dog Vaccinations
  • Love My German Shepherd: The Guide to Proper Dental Care for Your German Shepherd
  • Many Pets: What It Costs to Vaccinate Your Dog in 25 Cities
  • Misty Ridge: How Much Does a German Shepherd Cost to Own?
  • Pawlicy: How Much Does it Cost to Microchip a Dog?
  • Shepherd Sense: The Best German Shepherd Diet and Meal Plan for Every Age
  • SW Atlanta Vet: How Much Do Dog Vaccinations Cost
  • US News: How Much Does Pet Insurance Cost

Read my post on THE MOST COMMON AILMENTS OF GSDs so you can plan in case your pup is affected by any of these.

Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society

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