First-Year Supplies and Expenses
How much will care and upkeep for your new Chihuahua cost in the first year? Despite the common thought that small dogs are less expensive than larger breeds (only true of food costs), toy breeds — and Chis in particular — can be quite expensive to maintain and care for.
The biggest expense most Chi owners incur is that for veterinary care. If your Chihuahua is a puppy, you can expect a tab of about $500 for the first year. This will include routine veterinary examinations, a complete series of vaccinations, preventive care (including a heartworm preventive program), and a spay or neuter.
Another substantial first-year expense (that is the same no matter what the size of the dog) is training classes. Depending on your area of the country and with whom you are training, a six-week class could cost anywhere from $40 to more than $100. If you really want a well-trained and superbly socialized Chi that you can trust to take anywhere with you, you'll want to complete at least a year's worth of training. As you can see, this could total up to more than $500 quite quickly — but it is an expense that you will benefit from for the life of your Chihuahua.
If your Chi is not the picture of health, true of many Chihuahuas, your veterinarian bills could add up into the thousands. For this reason alone, it is always advisable to set aside at least $500 in reserve for unexpected veterinary bills.
Equipment and Accessories
You can spend $20 or so on an inexpensive crate or carrier or literally thousands of dollars on a one-of-a-kind designer carrier. This price range is typical for any other kind of dog accoutrement. Nylon, cotton webbing, and simple leather collars can run from $5 to $20, while those that are made of the finest leather or silks and studded with real gems can cost more than most of us make in a year. And then there are those cute coats, rain slickers, mufflers, and beds. What you spend is really up to you; however, at a minimum, you can expect to shell out at least $100 for collars, leashes, a crate or carrier, and bedding.
How you choose to housetrain your Chi can also affect the size of your first year's budget. If you are litter training, you'll need to factor in the cost of fresh bags of litter every week, at roughly $6 to $10 each. If you use pee pads, that's another cost that needs to be factored in.
Toys and Supplies
Other expenses to consider are toys, treats, more toys, and healthy chew items. A basket of toys and a variety of chews can be expected to cost $100 to $200 or more. As toys wear down, and as chews are destroyed, you'll need to continue to replace them.
Grooming supplies for the Chi (such as shampoo, brushes, combs, and nail trimmers) may total $30 to $40; however, if you are going to leave this chore to a professional groomer, you'd better factor in a $30 to $40 grooming expense every six to eight months.
As you can see, the first year's expenses for a Chihuahua can range from $500 (the healthy, adult dog that is already altered and up to date on all his vaccinations) to more than $1,000. The sky really is the limit when it comes to shopping for your Chihuahua, and if you can afford the elaborate and ostentatious, terrific. If you are on a more modest budget, you should still make sure that you plan on spending at least $1,000 that first year.