Is A Girlfriend (Or Boyfriend) More Expensive Than Having A Dog?

Is A Girlfriend (Or Boyfriend) More Expensive Than Having A Dog?

profileJacqueline Yan

Whether you’re an awesome dog owner or a super amazing (and rich) partner, we find out who spends more money pampering their loved ones!

Before you pass off any comments, this isn’t aimed at any particular gender.

While I firmly believe that couples should split their expenses equally and no one should be the one tanking all of it, this article assumes that you’re the one pampering for your better half.

TL;DR – Who is more expensive to pamper? Doggo or your significant other?

I know, I know, you can’t compare pets and your partner because they’re just so important wonderful to have in our lives.

But sometimes you do wonder, right?

We know for sure that owning a dog (or a pet) will incur some expenses, but is pampering your better half even more ‘expensive’ than owning a pet?

The answer is yes!

comparison between spending on dog and spending on partner

Assuming that you pay for their meals every time the two of you eat out and celebrate all the important events as a couple, you will potentially spend upwards of $6,700 per year on your partner.

As for your darling doggo, there are many aspects that you have to take care of and splurge on. But if your doggo is a happy and healthy doggo, you can potentially spend upwards of $5,990 per year on your furry friend.

This may reinforce the unspoken ‘rule’ to get a pet if you just don’t have luck finding your partner.

But hey, remember that having a pet is a huge responsibility, so be very certain that you have the ability to take care of them before making the decision!

And keep an open mind, you never know when your life partner will show up!

Splurging On Lovely Doggos

owner playing with dog lying on its back
Source: giphy

Help, I got so distracted looking for dog gifs that I spent 20 minutes scrolling and I wanted to add all of them here. HOW ARE THEY SO CUTE? 

Sadly, I’m not a dog owner but I’m pretty sure I’ll splurge on them A LOT if I were to be lucky enough to have a furry companion in the future.

We’re not going to talk about the one-time cost to adopt or buy a dog because obviously, you can’t buy a partner, so it’s unfair to compare that!


dog eating from dog bowl & falling over
Source: giphy

Dog Food

Depending on your dog’s breed and dietary requirements, you may be looking at different types of dog food, or you may choose to cook for them (even if you hardly cook for yourself).

If you also believe in splurging on food, you’ll be spending more money on ensuring that your dog has nutritious and delicious food every day.

A few dog owners I know spend about $200/mth, which amounts to $2,400/year on buying higher-quality food for their dogs. 

dog confused by treat on face
Source: tenor

Dog Treats

As a dog lover, I always look forward to rewarding my friends’ dogs with treats! While some dog owners are stricter with treats, it’s for a good reason since it’s their responsibility to take care of their dog’s health!

Typically, ranging from seasonal treats (they’ve got mooncakes too!) and cookies to popsicles, dog treats can cost about $25/mth, bringing it to spending $300/year on treats.

Gifts & Celebrations

Clothes & Accessories

dog in yellow cap and cute clothes
Source: giphy

Not every dog owner does this, but if you’re one to splurge, then you may also choose to doll your dog up with adorable clothes and accessories.

Whether you’re buying shoes for their tiny paws, or cute clothes and little bowties, dressing them up can cost you about $20/mth.

Spending $240/year on your dog to look good seems like a pretty good deal!


two huskies with yellow hats eating cake off plate
Source: giphy

Your dearest dog’s birthday? Of course, you’re going to celebrate it!

In fact, some dog owners even throw birthday parties for their furry friends, since it’s a yearly affair.

Even if you are only planning to get a birthday cake, a customised cake once a year can cost you at least $50 each. 


dog enjoying massage
Source: tenor

By now, you shouldn’t be surprised how dog owners are super willing to pamper their dogs. Of course, we will, they’re like mini humans!

If we can go for spas, so can our pets!

They’ve got lots of options too, but it averages around $50 for each spa session.

Assuming you’ll treat your dog to a spa once a month, that’ll cost you about $600/year. 

Dog Boarding

group of dogs on wooden bridge
Source: AsiaOne

If I had one, I’d hate for my dog to be alone at home when I’m enjoying myself during my holidays.

Fear not, that’s when dog daycare and boarding come into play!

On average, dog daycare costs about $45/day, but that will still require a family member or friend to fetch your dog to and from daycare.

Most dog daycares have limited slots, but if you do get one, going away for 7 days will cost you about $500 for dog boarding.

Personal Grooming


blow drying dog's fur grooming
Source: tenor

Our furry friends need to be groomed regularly, and professional grooming services can cost you about $100/mth depending on your choice of service.

A well-groomed dog is a happy dog, $1,200/year? Worth it!

Medical & Dental

female vet check dog's ear
Source: freepik

Even with the best-case scenario that your dog doesn’t fall ill, regular medical check-up, vaccinations and tests will amount to about $500/year. 

Dental health is equally important for dogs too, averaging around $200/year for dental scaling.

So, how much will I spend on my handsome dog?

Dog's NeedsCost
- Dog Food
- Dog Treats
$2,700 per year
Gifts & Celebrations
- Clothes & Accessories
- Birthdays
- Spas
- Dog Boarding
$1,390 per year
Personal Grooming
- Grooming
- Medical Checkup
- Dental Scaling
$1,900 per year
TOTAL $5,990 per year

Pampering Your Significant Other

Whoever initiates it first, I’m sure you know by now that getting into and maintaining a relationship requires lots of time and money.

But it’s totally worth it when you finally found your life partner to grow old together and support each other through ups and downs.

And of course, your partner will be able to take care of themselves and their own personal expenses. So for this part, we will only be looking to highlight some things that you might be paying to pamper your significant other.


couple sharing food
Source: tenor

Again, to make things a little bit easier to compare, we’re assuming that you will be paying for all the meals you have together, even though that’s not usually the case.

No, it doesn’t have to be fancy food every day.

If you’re lucky enough like me and get to meet your partner 4 times a week (3 weekday nights and 1 weekend), and have the same dining format, you’ll probably be spending about $420/mth on your partner’s meals.

Dining OptionsFrequencyCost Per MealCost Per Month
Hawker Centres & Food Courts2 weekday nights$10 per meal$80
Restaurants1 weekday night$25 per meal$100
Restaurant & Snacks1 weekend$60 per 'meal'$240
TOTAL $420 per month

Assuming you stick to this amount every month, paying your partner’s meals will account for $5,040/year. 

Gifts & Celebrations

Ahem, there are some important dates that you just can’t forget.

You don’t have to do it all, but it seems like the typical celebration comprises of the following components.

People who say they don’t like receiving flowers are lying (unless they have an allergy), who can resist such pretty things?

old man giving old lady flowers
Source: giphy

Luckily for you, there are many florists and flower delivery services around, and you can get a beautiful bouquet for them from $50.

A must-have due to societal norms, you’re probably going to spend $150 on your partner’s present on average.

Don’t forget the nice restaurant that you’ll bring them for dinner, so set aside about $100 to be safe.

One celebration will cost you about $50 + $150 + $100 = $300 in exchange for their happiness!

So, what are the important dates?

Their birthday, your anniversary, Valentine’s Day and Christmas, duh, which brings you to 4 x $300 = $1,200 per year for all your special occasions. 

Gifting is not just limited to special occasions though! You’ll probably end up spending another $100 per year on random gifts that you know will be useful for them.

Personal Grooming

Well, while some partners may have the financial capabilities to pay for all of their better half’s expenses, that’s not usually the case.

Given that we’re paying for our own personal grooming and medical expenses, the cost here is $0/year. Yay!

So, how much will I spend splurging on my significant other?

Pampering Your Significant OtherCost Per Year
Gifts & Celebrations$1300
Personal GroomingAssuming $0
TOTAL $6,340 per year

Now, we’re all adults here and we know that having a dog is a big responsibility, so don’t make a hasty decision! If you’re really sure you are able to take care of one properly, well good luck, start saving up eh?

And those of you who are in a relationship, appreciate what your better half is doing for you! Even though I had to make some assumptions for the comparison, pampering each other doesn’t necessarily mean grand gestures or spending a lot of money on them.

It’s the little day-to-day actions and quality time spent together that counts the most!

About Jacqueline Yan
Full-time coffee nerd playing the personal finance game to feed her insatiable wanderlust.
You can contribute your thoughts like Jacqueline Yan here.

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