Getting a pet is not a one-time, spur of the moment thing. While having a pet can be greatly beneficial, like helping to ease a child’s anxiety, there are responsibilities and costs attached to pet ownership. In addition, as pets are living beings, the level of cost that you incur, if you’re not ready, can lead to pet abandonment.
If you plan on buying or adopting a pet, you need to know the rundown of costs that go with it. So if you’re ready for a life of happiness and loyalty, get prepared to open your wallet. Here are all the expenses that you should expect if you want to own a pet.
Upfront Cost: Buying or Adopting Your Pet
The first cost you will incur when owning a pet is the purchase or adoption cost for the pet. Depending on what kind of pet you’re planning to get, you will likely need to either buy it or adopt it from the local shelter. Of course, the costs differ for both, but the effects are worlds apart.
Buying a pet can cost you anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Dogs, for example, can cost up to $3000 if you’re looking for designer dogs from a champion line and an American Kennel Club (AKC) certified pedigree.
Adoption from shelters, on the other hand, ranges from anywhere between $50 to $350. This money goes into paying for the staff’s needs and the needs of other pets in the shelter. Adoption is preferred for cats and dogs, as it helps relieve shelters and give these pets a forever home.
Pet Food, Housing, Toys, and Daily Necessities
Once you have a pet, you would need to spend on their food and daily necessities. Pet food and daily needs will be the highest recurring cost you can expect, especially if you have dogs and cats. The price will vary depending on the size, breed, and amount of hair your pets have.
For example, pet food for medium-sized dogs, including treats, can cost somewhere between $250 to $700 annually. This doesn’t include giving them human grade food (or table scraps) and high-quality pet food. Cats can cost a little bit less at $200 to $600 per year on food and treats.
You would also need to provide your pets’ housing, toys, and other accessories, which can cost another $300 to $500. In addition, cats and dogs will need beds, kennels, or crates, including transport crates if you plan on bringing them somewhere.
Other pets can be housing-intensive too, which means higher upfront costs. For example, fish and other aquatic pets would need a fish tank, accessories, and plenty of water before you can bring them home. Likewise, small animals like sugar gliders, hamsters, and other rodents would need ample housing as well.
Medical Expenses, Pet Insurance, and Vet Costs
The most costly part of pet ownership is likely the medical expenses. Much like humans, pets need consistent healthcare, like annual checkups and vaccinations, together with a variety of other needs they have for their health as they age. Like their daily food and lodging, these costs can add up over the years.
For example, vaccinations and deworming, together with other veterinary services, can cost you around $200 to $600 a year. Emergency pet care can be pretty expensive, especially for pets with physical injuries. A veterinary emergency can set you back as much as $1500 for more severe health cases.
Routine veterinary care can set you back around $700 to $2000 every year to keep your dog healthy. At the very least, a vet can ensure that your pet stays healthy to live until old age. However, senior pets can cost on the higher side because of their more sensitive needs.
To prevent the exorbitant costs of pet healthcare, it’s best to pay for pet insurance. Monthly premiums for house pets like cats and dogs can cost around $30 to $100 per month for decent to high-level insurance coverages. If your pet is sickly, you will likely pay on the upper side of these numbers.
Pet Walking and Pet Sitting Services
Among the primary considerations when getting pets are pet sitting services. House pets have several needs, especially cats and dogs. Dogs would need regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent them from gaining too much fat. Cats require enrichment and play to also maintain a healthy weight, along with care like litter cleaning. If you’re busy with your job, one solution is to have a dog walker or a pet sitter.
Dog walkers will walk a dog for you for varying lengths of time, helping them stay healthy and physically strong. Some dogs like Huskies, German Shepherds, Labradors, and other work dogs need copious amounts of exercise. Dog walking will cost you around $30 per walk per day.
While cats don’t need as much exercise as dogs, they appreciate play and some of them enjoy spending time outdoors. If you can, be sure to walk your dogs yourself or let them play in your yard for extended periods to reduce potential boredom and make sure your cats have enough entertainment to keep them from becoming destructive.
Pet Boarding When You’re Away
Pet boarding and pet sitting are also crucial if you plan to go for a vacation or just date night with your significant other. Pet boarding is often good for extended hours and even days, allowing your pets to socialize with other pets at the “daycare.” Pet boarding can cost somewhere between $175 to $500 a week, which provides them with all their needs.
However, some pets, particularly cats or elderly dogs, would prefer to stay in their own home. That’s where pet sitters come in to care for your pets while you are away. Pet sitters can also care for small pets like hamsters and fish would need someone who can visit throughout the duration of your vacation.
Grooming and Training Costs
Not all pets need grooming and training, but it’s a good investment for their hygiene and obedience. For example, medium-haired and long-haired cats and dogs would need consistent grooming every 1 to 2 months.
Pet grooming can cost anywhere between $50 to $75, including professional nail trimming, bath, shampoo, and styling.
Training costs can vary, depending on the needs of the pet. Dogs and even some cats can benefit from some professional obedience training, with the former needing it more than the latter. Training, together with resources if you plan on doing it yourself, should cost you $100 to $300.
Pets are a big responsibility that you need to think twice before you commit. If you can’t dedicate time and resources to their care, it’s best to put off pet ownership until you can do so.
Pets are beautiful souls deserving of love and attention. Every penny you spend on their well-being will be returned with love, joy, and loyalty.
Contributing Author: Sophia Young recently quit a non-writing job to finally be able to tell stories and paint the world through her words. She loves talking about fashion and weddings and travel, but she can also easily kick ass with a thousand-word article about the latest marketing and business trends, finance-related topics, and can probably even whip up a nice heart-warming article about family life. She can totally go from fashion guru to your friendly neighborhood cat lady with mean budgeting skills and home tips real quick.