17+ Monthly Expenses of Owning a Labrador Retriever

Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM

LABRADOR CLOSE UP

Labrador retrievers are known for their ability to adapt to any kind of household.

They’re friendly, outgoing, and love attention, making them delightful pets.

So, how expensive is it to own a Labrador Retriever? 

It is not too expensive to own a Labrador Retriever. A puppy will cost about $196 each month, while an adult dog’s monthly costs are around $170. You’ll spend around $181 per month on your senior Labrador Retriever. Costs can be much higher than the above, however. 

Read on for an in-depth explanation of the costs of owning a Labrador Retriever. 

Food and Supplements

Labrador Retrievers are sometimes lovingly referred to as vacuum cleaners as they’ll eat everything on sight!

Unfortunately, they’re prone to gaining weight, so your Labrador Retriever’s diet should be balanced to avoid the problems that come with obesity. 

You should feed your Labrador Retriever a good quality dry food with glucosamine, EPA, and DHA — nutrients essential for healthy skin, organs, bones, and coat. 

Puppy

The best food for Labrador Retriever pups should be suitable for large-breed puppies.

Look for ingredients (such as calcium and phosphorus) for bone development.

Also, make sure DHA is included in the ingredients list for healthy eyes and neurological development.  

It’s better to feed your puppy a well-balanced kibble packed with nutrients than a separate food supplement, as the latter could be more expensive. 

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry kibble for puppies$36 to $75$56
Total$56

Adult

When your Labrador Retriever reaches adulthood, they can continue to eat high-quality, breed-specific kibble or dry food.

The dry pellets are an excellent way to keep plaque build-up at bay.

You can also add a tablespoon of nutritious wet food to give your fur baby a hydration boost if you feel they don’t drink enough water.

As long as you feed your Golden Labrador high-quality food with all the essential nutrients, you don’t usually need to give them a supplement unless your vet recommends it. 

Some Labrador Retrievers need extra chondroitin, Omega-3 fatty acids, and glucosamine if they have joint issues or as your vet recommends. 

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry kibble for adult dogs$55 to $74$65
Wet food$12 to $21$17
Total$82

Senior

Your Labrador Retriever is considered a senior dog from the age of seven.

That’s the point when they slow down and don’t require as much exercise.

Therefore, their diet should have relatively fewer calories than that of their younger counterparts to account for the decrease in activity.

It should also contain plenty of high-quality protein and a decent amount of fiber, and healthy fat.

A dog food brand targeted at senior Labrador Retrievers is the best choice.

However, you can also go with other vet-recommended varieties. 

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry kibble for senior dogs$50 to $93$72
Wet food$12 to $21$17
Total$89

Grooming and Hygiene

Labrador Retrievers have thick double coats consisting of a wiry top layer and a softer undercoat.

You’ll need to regularly groom your Labrador Retriever at least once a week to remove the dead fur during molting season.

Bathing

You should bathe your Labrador Retriever every four weeks to keep their coat looking shiny and healthy.

Avoid bathing them too regularly as this can strip the natural oils from the skin, drying it out and making it itchy.

You can bathe your Lab yourself or take them to a dog groomer. 

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dog groomer (monthly)$30 to $90$60
Dog Shampoo (per wash)$2 to $7$4.50
Conditioning product$2.5 to $8$5
Shampoo brush$10 to $15$13
Total$60 or $22.50

Nail Trimming

Puppy and adult Labrador Retrievers are highly active, which helps keep their nails at a comfortable length.

As your Labrador Retriever becomes older and their activity levels decrease, their nails may become too long, making walking uncomfortable and increasing the risk of the nail getting snagged on surfaces.

You have three options when it comes to nail trimming for Labrador Retrievers:

  • Clip them yourself.
  • Ask your vet for help.
  • Have your groomer clip your fur baby’s nails.
Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Nail clippers$8 to $24$0.12 (monthly cost based on a Labrador Retriever’s average lifespan of eleven years)
Nail clipping at the dog groomer or vet$5 to $20$12.50
Total$12.50 or $0.12

Hair Care and Trimming

Taking care of your Labrador Retriever’s fur requires weekly brushing.

If your home has hardwood floors and your dog has long hair between their feet pads, these could cause slips that can injure your pet.

To prevent this, gently cut back excess hair with fur scissors.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Fur scissors (once-off cost)$10 to $40$0.18 (monthly cost based on a Labrador Retriever’s average lifespan of eleven years)
Fur trim at the dog groomer$5 to $20$12.50
Total$0.18 or $12.50

Dental Care

As I mentioned earlier, feeding your Labrador Retriever dry food can help prevent plaque build-up.

However, you should also brush their teeth with a doggy toothbrush every few days.

Dental chews are also effective since your Lab will never refuse that treat.

Note that your vet will check your Labrador Retriever’s dental health at their annual exam and may recommend professional cleaning if the build-up is severe.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dental chews$22 to $35$28.50
Doggy toothbrush$13 to $25$19
Dog toothpaste$6 to $25$16
Teeth brushing by the dog grooming service$5 to $20$12.50
Total$28.50 or $35 or $12.50

Special Care

Labrador Retrievers are intelligent, warm, and friendly dogs that need a lot of mental stimulation.

Aside from a long, daily walk, you should provide them with plenty of mentally-stimulating toys.

Toys containing a small hidden treat are a particular favorite of Labs.

Therefore, investing in a few interesting doggie toys every month is an excellent idea.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Pack of mentally-stimulating toys$15 to $30$23
Total$23

Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary care for your Labrador Retriever is essential.

It allows your vet to detect any potential health issues early on, giving your fur baby the best quality of life.

Common health issues in Labrador Retrievers include:

  • Degenerative joint disease. Labrador Retrievers can develop osteoarthritis or arthritis resulting from the deterioration of the cartilage in their joints.
  • Otitis externa. This condition refers to infection or inflammation in the outer ear up to the eardrum. In extreme cases, your fur baby will need surgery to address this problem.
  • Obesity or being overweight. With almost 60% of Labrador Retrievers being overweight or obese, monitoring your dog’s weight is essential.

Checkups and Vaccines

Your Labrador Retriever should see a vet at least once a year for a physical exam and vaccination.

Both of these depend on your fur baby’s age and health condition.

Puppy

When your Labrador Retriever is a puppy, veterinary expenses can add up.

But you shouldn’t scrimp on them, as they’re essential in giving your fur baby the best start in life.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Rabies vaccine$15 to $20$1.45
Heartworm prevention $24 to $132$6.50
Routine vaccinations for puppies $100 to $350 (Parvovirus, hepatitis, and parainfluenza)$18.75
Spaying or neutering $35 to $500$22.33
Distemper vaccination$40 to $60$4.16
Vet check-up$45 to $55$4.16
Total$57.35

Adult

As long as your adult Labrador Retriever appears to be in excellent health, they’ll only require an annual veterinary checkup with a rabies booster.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Annual veterinary check-up$45 to $55$4.16
Rabies vaccine$15 to $20$1.45
Total$5.61

Senior

Geriatric Labrador Retrievers can develop joint problems and become prone to being overweight.

For that reason, they should be seen by a vet at least twice a year to detect any problems before they get worse.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Twice yearly veterinary check-up$90 to $110$8.33
Rabies vaccine$15 to $20$1.45
Total$9.78

Insurance

A pet insurance policy can cover your Labrador Retriever for accidents, illnesses, or preexisting conditions.

Such policies become even more important when your Labrador ages and become more prone to joint and other health issues.

Although you’ll need to pay a deductible and are usually only covered for 70% to 90% of the veterinary costs, a pet insurance policy can be a tremendous financial help overall.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Insurance for an adult Labrador Retriever$5 to $13$8
Total$8

Pet Supplies

As long as you spend plenty of time with them, your Labrador Retriever will be happy.

However, certain pet supplies are essential and can improve their quality of life.

Necessary

Items such as feeding bowls, a collar, and a lead are essential for raising a Labrador Retriever.

You might also consider things like a comfortable bed or crate.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Bed$15 to $110$0.94*
Feeding Dishes$15 to $27$0.15**
Collar$6 to $20$0.19*
ID tag$4 to $10$0.05**
Lead$13 to $24$0.28**
Total$1.61

* Based on a lifespan of eleven years and one replacement

** Monthly cost based on a lifespan of eleven years

Optional

Some Labrador Retriever owners like to leave their fur babies in a crate when they’re out.

A crate can also double as a bed and is considered an optional extra.

Water fountains can make drinking exciting for Labrador Retrievers.

You might consider one if you’re concerned that your fur baby doesn’t drink enough water.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Water fountain $53 to $66$0.45
Crate$100 to $220$1.21
Total$1.66

*Monthly cost based on a lifespan of eleven years

Additional Costs

The additional costs involved in owning a Labrador Retriever include the following:

  • Dog walking
  • Daycare or dog sitting
  • Dog hotel
  • Training
  • Microchip

Dog Walker

Labrador Retrievers are active dogs and require at least two hours of exercise a day.

If you don’t have time to walk your Lab, it’s best to hire a dog walker. 

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dog walking $20 to $30 per session$500 (based on weekdays only)

Daycare or Dog Sitting

Labrador Retrievers can become very attached to their owners and feel lonely during the day when everyone is out.

In that case, your dog may benefit from doggy daycare or dog sitting.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Daycare or dog sitting services$20 to $40 per day$600 (based on weekdays only)

Dog Hotel

Some Labrador Retriever owners take their fur babies with them on vacation.

But if you’ll be flying somewhere far from home, it’s best to use a good dog hotel.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dog hotel $30 to $50 per night$1200

Training

Your Labrador Retriever will benefit greatly from obedience training, especially when they’re puppies.

Young Labradors may also require a few additional sessions to address any behavioral issues. 

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dog training$20 to $120 per session$280 (based on a weekly session)

Microchip

You can engrave your details on your Labrador Retriever’s ID tag. However, having a microchip is an excellent fall-back option if your dog loses their collar. 

A good time to insert a microchip is when your Labrador is being spayed or neutered. 

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Microchip insertion$25 to $60$0.33 (based on a lifespan of eleven years)

Monthly Budget of Owning a Labrador Retriever

As a dog parent to a Labrador Retriever, the money you spend on their veterinary care, food, and upkeep is worth it when you consider the joy they bring you.

Below is a summary of what it costs to own a Labrador Retriever.

Item RangeAverage Monthly Cost
Dry kibble for puppies$36 to $75$56
Dry kibble for adult dogs$55 to $74$65
Wet food$12 to $21$17
Dry kibble for senior dogs$50 to $93$72
Professional grooming services$60
Grooming equipment if you groom your dog yourself$22.50
Professional nail trimming services$12.50
Nail trimming by the owner$0.12
Professional hair trimming $12.50
Hair trimming by the owner$0.18
Dental care products $25
Mentally-stimulating toys$23
Veterinary care: puppy$57.35
Veterinary care: adult$5.61
Veterinary care: senior$9.78
Insurance$8
Essential pet supplies $1.61
Optional pet supplies$1.66
Dog walking$500
Daycare or dog sitting$600
Dog hotel$1200
Training$280
Microchip insertion$0.33
Total monthly cost for adult dogs based on home grooming and excluding dog walking, training or accommodation. $170
Total monthly cost for puppies based on home grooming, and excluding dog walking, training or accommodation.$196
Total monthly cost for senior dogs based on home grooming, excluding dog walking, training, or accommodation.$181

References

  • American Kennel Club: How to Groom a Labrador Retriever
  • Hills Pet: Labrador Retriever Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits.
  • Nutravet: What is EPA and DHA? 
  • National Library of Medicine: Glucosamine and chondroitin use in canines for osteoarthritis: A review
  • The Kennel Club: Ear infection – Otitis externa
  • American Kennel Club: Can Glucosamine for Dogs Help Treat Arthritis and Joint Pain?
  • Care: How much Omega 3 fatty acids should I give my dog?

​​ead my post on THE MOST COMMON AILMENTS OF LABRADORS 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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