Budgeting for Breeders: How To Manage Your Money

How do you manage your money as a breeder? How can you ensure your money goes where it's needed for your dogs and business to thrive?

Michele Taylor of Taylormade Mini Goldens has let us in on the secret of how she budgets for her kennel.

Michele has been a breeder for 10 years. She's very experienced and very knowledgeable. She has worked really hard to manage money well so her business can thrive. 

Budgeting is a topic that is exciting and nerve-wracking because when you look at the numbers it can get a little hairy for breeders. It seems a lot of breeders don’t know where to begin or what to anticipate when making a budget. 


Michele suggests starting by using software to help with your budget. The budgeting software that she uses is a free platform called Every Dollar. The software is designed for a home budget, but it also works for a business.

If you don't make a plan you're planning to fail. So each month it's important to look over your month and get an idea of how much it's going to cost to run your breeding business. You need to feed your dogs, get them to the vet, give them all their supplements, pay any employees, etc.

Feeding The Dogs

A white dog with brown spots looking at a dog bowl filled with food.One thing that Michele has found really helpful is to figure out how many cups you're feeding your dogs each month. You can use a body score system and weight to determine how much food and calories your dogs need. This helps determine how much food you need to buy each month.

There's a few different calorie count options. Michele uses Pet Nutrition Alliance, which is her favorite and the one recommended on She recommends estimating a little high just in case you measure wrong. You want to make sure you have enough.

It is also a great idea to have a food storage for your dogs. Buy 10% extra in case a family needs food, a dog eats more, or someone needs help.

Vet Bills

Two Mini Golden Cocker Retrievers laying on a table at a vet's office.You also want to look at what vet bills you need to expect that month. Do your dogs need any health testing? 

Vet bills are one of the top expenses for a breeder, so it is a great idea to shop your vet. Call around. Learn who has the most affordable prices for litter exams, vaccines, and vet visits.

One vet might charge $47 for an exam, while another vet charges $75 dollars for an exam. It’s so easy to just make a few phone calls and find that out.

Some places have vaccine clinics. At these clinics, the vet offers a free exam. You can get the free exam if you go to the clinic and get your vaccines. This can be especially helpful when you are just starting and money is really tight.

Vaccine clinics in almost every town. Look up the feed stores in your town, the Humane Society,  pet stores, spay and neuter clinics. All these places have great resources that can help you save money.

After we finish breeding our dogs, we have the responsibility to spay and neuter them. Our vet charges $700 to spay a 40 pound dog. The Spay and Neuter Clinic, however, only charges $125.
Just call around because one place might be charging $350 and one might be charging $700. It really pays to make a phone call.

If you get in a groove with a certain vet, every year or two start calling around again. Especially if you're on a tight budget or if you've had a hard year with a lot of vet bills it can pay to call a few places. 

Also call around to emergency clinics. In an emergency, you may not have time. But if it's not urgent and it's a weekend, you can call and ask about the cost.

Michele has two emergency vets. One charges $100 to walk in the door, while the other charges $200. So, walking through the door she can save $100 towards all the testing that will need to be done.


A litter of Mini Golden Retrievers nursing.Also, don't forget to budget for unexpected expenses. Michelle suggests saving the money you would spend on pet insurance as an emergency fund instead. She takes 25% of every puppy sale and puts it into her emergency fund.

You've got to have an emergency fund if you're a breeder. Catastrophes happen with breeding. Even just getting puppies on the ground doesn’t go the way you plan.

Are you prepared to go to the vet if a couple is not interested in each other and need an intervention or TCI? Maybe you have dogs that won't breed because of size differences, so you'll need the help of a vet. Even when you have a plan for these things sometimes it costs more than you even imagined it would cost.

Planning Ahead and Keeping Track

Once you have your budget and your plan for the month, you use the budgeting app to track your spending. A digital budget and app are handy as they connect to your bank account, helping you track as you spend money.

It's important to keep your business budget separate from your personal budget because they're separate entities. Your business is actually its own entity, it's not an extension of your own personal income. You need to pay yourself intentionally.

You must pay taxes on your business earnings and keep track of expenses. It's crucial to separate these from your personal income and expenses.

Budgeting is one of those things that does take work, it does take time. It's like being on a diet, not very fun, but having a budget can help you reach your goals.

If you are interested in learning more about budgeting or are looking for a mentor, I'd love to connect with you! Please fill out the form below to join me for 1-on-1 Mentoring.

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