Here's What A Teacher Making $85,000 Spends On Her Dog Every Month

Her pup always pays her back in love ❤️

pet parent money diaries

How much does taking care of a pet cost? It depends. Pet parents across the country with varying income levels tell us exactly what they spend on their pets each month in our new series “Pet Parent Budget Diaries.”

We spoke with a public school teacher living in New York City who makes an income of $85,000 a year to see what she spends on her rescue dog, Piper*, in an average month.

Occupation: Public school teacher
Age: 34
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $85,000

Dog’s age: 4
Dog’s weight: 15 pounds
Dog’s breed: Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix
Dog’s personality: Piper is a sassy diva. She’s super cuddly (but on her terms). Unlike most Chihuahua breeds, she doesn't bark very much, but she does love to whine for attention.
When did you adopt your pet?: July 20, 2019

In our interview, the teacher explained that while her monthly expenses for Piper don’t fluctuate too much on average (barring any health issues), her pup is officially spoiled — and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I do spend a lot of money keeping my girl healthy and happy,” the teacher told The Dodo. “But Piper has brought so much joy and love to all of our lives. So, yeah, she gets the very expensive doggy food (and a steak for her birthday dinner), but she pays for it in love.”

August spending

Here’s what this pet parent spent on her dog in the month of August.

Accessories and miscellaneous:

Total spent on accessories and miscellaneous: $580.70

Food and treats:

Total spent on food and treats: $176.99


  • Annual checkup at the vet with vaccinations for $276.50
  • Vet visit after reaction to vaccines for $51
  • Health insurance for $31.52
  • Heartgard (12-month supply) for $72.70
  • Nexgard (6-month supply) for $138.14
  • Dental wipes for $3.97

Total spent on healthcare: $573.83

August diary entries

Here are a few of this pet parent’s diary entries during the month of August.

August 15

Ms. Piper (as I like to call her) has run out of her food, so we visit our local pet shop to purchase a 6-pound bag of the Raw Dynamic rabbit-flavored dog food. Going to the pet shop is Piper's Disneyland as she gets tons of treats during her visit.

When I first adopted Piper in July 2019, she ate dry kibble, which could be purchased in large quantities for a reasonable price and would last about three months. But Piper is no ordinary girl; shortly after adopting her, she had a terrible bout of pancreatitis. Not only was that a scary moment as a dog mom, but it was also a very expensive discovery. That vet bill totaled close to $900. The doctor put her on a bland diet of chicken, rice and pumpkin puree. Piper's condition didn’t improve, and soon she was biting at her paw pads. That’s when we discovered this sassy girl from Kentucky is actually allergic to chicken!

Flash forward to today, and our local pet shop owner is giving Piper Charlee Bears as I pay about $60 for a 6-pound bag of Raw Dynamic that takes up lots of room in my freezer and only lasts about two weeks. It was the pet shop owner who recommended this brand of food after I discussed her pancreatitis with him. She has not had an allergic reaction or a bout of pancreatitis since. Trust your local pet shop owners! Piper gets very excited when we buy her food. She knows her yum yums will be served with a side of pumpkin puree — she won't eat it otherwise!

August 20

Piper is watching me pack a bag for my upcoming weekend trip. She gets very needy the minute she sees a suitcase. Our dog walker is unfortunately not available for pet sitting, so I ask my brother to stay with her overnight and give her morning and nighttime walks while our regular dog walker walks her during the day.

Although I’m home for the summer, I choose to continue dog walking services. Piper is in love with her dog walker, and I find that it makes transitioning back to work easier if Piper gets regular walks throughout the summer months.

When I arrived home, my sassy girl was happy for a total of two minutes, then gave me a "why did you leave me" cold shoulder for the rest of the day.

August 26

As soon as I say the words "Grandma's house," Piper's expressive and pointy Chihuahua ears immediately perk up. Piper watches as I pack her treats, dinner and some wipes to take to Grandma's house. I pull out her black dog carrier, and she immediately jumps in. She LOVES visiting my parents. We visit at least twice a month, and she’s always spoiled to the max.

Piper may be a city girl now, but she's still a Southern belle at heart. The subway triggers a level of anxiety only seen at the vet's office. Staring at me from her carrier, we order an Uber that we have to take every time we go to Grandma's house — this Southern belle must have only the best rides!

Pet spending can fluctuate from month to month (especially if any health issues come up), so it’s important to budget for what you think you’ll spend on your pet before you bring a new friend home. Being a pet parent is a big responsibility, but it’s also one of the best (and most fun!) decisions you can make in life.

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality, and diary entries are edited for length and clarity.

If you’re interested in sharing your budget as a pet parent, fill out this form. (We provide compensation if you’re chosen!)

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.