The Real Cost of Pet Ownership


Puppy With Money

It’s spring! When spring hits, it tends to bring about a renewed interest in pet ownership. New kittens and puppies are being born, and who doesn’t like baby animals? Raising a pet can be a great experience, but not everything about it is snuggles and warm fuzzies.

There’s a lot of responsibility and money that goes into owning a pet, which a lot of people don’t realize when they adopt their new furry friend. That’s why thousands of critters get taken back to shelters each year, often at the cost of their lives. Most of these pets rarely make it out the shelter alive.

Not to mention, bringing home a pet only to take it back home because it was tougher than you thought isn’t fair to the animal. That’s why it’s super important to do your research before deciding on pet ownership and not just reacting on impulse.

Yes, that puppy is cute, but if you’re struggle to keep your own head above the water, then you’re not going to be ready for the financial burden that having a pet can place on you.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the expected costs, some of which you might not realize are there until it’s too late.

Adoption Fees:

Unless you have a friend who is looking to get rid of a litter of kittens, you’re going to have to pay an adoption fee. Shelters and pet stores definitely want to make a profit and don’t give away pets for free. The adoption fee can vary, depending on the animal you want to adopt.

Kittens don’t usually get more expensive than $100, but dogs are a different story altogether. If you go with a breeder, it can set you back thousands. According to The Dog Digest, the most expensive breed of dogs is called “Löwchens” and can cost as much as $10,000!

These prices are only the beginning of your pet owning journey!

Spay/Neuter Costs

If you do decide to with the free options and take a pet from a litter that was birthed under your friend’s porch, then you’ll have to spay and neuter them (or risk more litters of critters being born under your porch). If you go with a shelter, then the odds are likely they’ve already taken care of this for you (and it can often reflect in the price).

Vaccinations are also a part of this process. All of this can cost you between $150-$200. Dogs can cost more at around $300. Sometimes, various cities and towns have opportunities for pet owners to bring their furry friends in for free to take care of this issue in an effort to keep the stray population as low as possible. Bob Barker would be proud!

General Upkeep

Outside of one-time costs, you’ll have to pay for general upkeep. A lot of these will be recurring, like feeding your pet. That can be a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly expense, depending on the animal. That’s $20-$40 right there.

Grooming supplies, flea care and prevention, litter, and toys are all recurring costs and it can vary from month to month. You’ll need water and food bowls, leashes, new collars about every year, and a crate. If you add in regular vet visits, these can all total to hundreds of dollars per year.

Other Hidden Costs

In the back of your mind, you often think pet ownership will be easy. All you have to do is water, feed, and pet your animal. How hard can that be! But the financial toll of having a pet can be a lot more than people realize.

For example, if you live in an apartment, they’ll want a pet deposit, somewhere around $250. If your pet wrecks your place, there will be the cost of repairs. Kittens and puppies especially do not know their place and will chew and claw up whatever they can get their hands on.

Some cities require a yearly tax or license fee if you own a dog.

Do you plan on training your animals? That can set you back hundreds.

What if you want to go on vacation? Do you have someone who owes you a favor and can cat-sit/dog-sit for you? If not, a kennel is expensive. Dog walking services cost daily.

Then, there’s the health of your pet to consider. Do you have a few hundred dollars saved if your pet needs an emergency trip to the vet? What if it turns out they have food allergies and can’t eat the regular, bargain pet foods that exist?

Pet ownership is not something you should take lightly. These costs are just basic necessities for cats and dogs. Things tend to get much more expensive the more exotic your pet gets. Parents often love to get rabbits for their kids around Easter time, but most end up dead within a year because a cute idea turns into major work and expenses they weren’t prepared for.

It’s important to take your time, crunch your numbers, and do good research before buying a pet.

Last modified: May 15, 2018