The Costs of Having a Pet

Family pets can lower stress, teach responsibility to children, and give you a warm and fuzzy feeling all at the same time. But they’re also a long-term investment. Before you impulsively adopt a shelter dog or purchase an iguana for your kids, you’ll want to look at the big picture to see how much this will cost over time. Owning a pet means taking care of them for life; and some pets can live up to 20 years or longer. Owning a large dog for 12 years can cost $22,000, according to the ASPCA. It’s helpful to look at a breakdown of these costs to help you fit a furry companion into your family budget!

Where Does the Money Go?

To begin with, you’ll need to think about the initial cost of adopting a pet. Even if you acquire your dog or cat from a shelter, there is usually an adoption fee of $50. Breeders, on the other hand, can charge up to $1000 for pedigreed puppies. Small pets like hamsters or birds will not cost too much, but you also must buy all of their accessories at the time of purchase. Pets need water and food bowls, bedding, and tanks or cages in many cases. There’s also the array of accessories that you’ll need to keep your pet comfortable and entertained. You might need to pick up dog coats with, if your dog will be out in cold weather. Specialty toys are available for cats, dogs, and even mice to keep them busy and happy.

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Food is one of the primary expenses for any pet. Approximately 33% of the costs of owning a dog are spent on pet food, and for cats this leaps up to 41% of the budget. You’ll also need to think about vet fees, which account for 15% of the cost of owning a dog and 13% of owning a cat. Healthcare costs are not only increasing for people, but they’re increasing for pets as well so this percentage could be even higher in the future.

The Monetary Cost

With the cost of grooming sessions, toys, dental cleanings, food, vet visits, accessories, and dog beds with Dogs Corner, the cost of owning a large dog is $1,570 a year on average. Those who live in a city and need to pay for dog walkers will pay even more. The ASPCA estimates that a family could spend $83,000 over a dog’s lifetime if dog walking and kennel care are used. Smaller animals like rabbits, ferrets, and hamsters can be less costly simply because they don’t live as long. Hamsters generally only live for two years, and will only cost you $440 on average. The most expensive pet you can get is a horse. Horses live about 30 years, and require boarding, training, and exercise that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

All of this is a small price to pay for the companionship and warmth that a pet brings to the family. It’s worth seriously planning ahead financially before you take the plunge. A pet is a real commitment, both in terms of time and money. Be sure that you’re ready for the responsibility.

Editor’s Note: As the owner’s of a retired racing Greyhound, we know firsthand how much joy a pet can bring to a household. Our little boy already loves playing with our dog, and I look forward to them having fun playing as the years go by. Pets are expensive, and you need to make sure you budget for things like unexpected vet bills. But for us, our dog is certainly worth the cost.