The Cost of Owning a Dog or Cat

The Costs Associated With Owning a Pet

Are you thinking about adding a dog or cat to your family? Owning a pet is often a rewarding experience for young children and adults. Animals can also have a positive effect on our health and overall well being. But, people often underestimate the cost of bringing this addition to the family. So before you jump into owning a pet, take note and budget for the financial responsibility of owning and raising a pet.

The Costs of Owning a Dog

Pet Adoption Costs

The adoption cost for a dog or cat from a shelter, humane society or other non profit organization, can vary from anywhere between $50-$100 depending on pet breed, age, size and your location. Another option is to adopt from a reputable breeder. The cost to adopt from a breeder will usually be higher, and can range anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Puppies and kittens will usually be set at a higher price when adopting from either a shelter or breeders.

After adopting the new addition to your family, your dog or cat will need a few supplies to start, including a crate, collar, leash, identification tags, food and water dishes, scratch posts and toys. These items have a large range depending on which items you are buying and what stores you are buying them from. Remember often these basic items will need to be replaced over the course of the dog or cat’s lifetime.

Pet Food & Supply Costs

The price to feed your dog or cat will vary in the range of $20-$100 depending on your pets size and breed, also any type of dietary restrictions your pet may need. Food is obviously a large recurring cost for pet owners that shouldn’t be overlooked when considering costs.

Other costs to consider are any supplies, such as toys, brushes, accessories, and in the case of cats… litter. These regular and recurring costs are often overlooked when one is considering getting a new dog or cat.

Another large cost comes from the Veterinarian.

Veterinary Costs

Routine Vet visits can cost between $35 to $75 for each visit and that does not include spray/neuter cost, which comes in at $100-$200, or vaccinations. When vaccination and boosters are involved, this price will be much higher. If you have a puppy you can expect to spend $20 to $150 in the first year for vaccinations alone. This price is dependent on what vaccinations are given and at what type of location – (Traditional Veterinarians, Low-Cost Clinics or Vaccination Clinics). If your pet has a medical emergency, this cost can range between hundreds to thousands of dollars. Other costs include any medications your pet may need.

Pet owners also need to account for common medications such as Heartworm medications and flea/tick medications which can cost approximately $30 per month.

Grooming/Training Costs

As a pet owner you have the responsibility of keeping your dog or cat clean and happy. Pet grooming costs will vary depending on the services provided. A basic price for grooming can range from $30-$90 depending on the size of your pet and the amount of fur. Additional services like, teeth cleaning, flea treatments and nail clipping will be extra.

Some other costs to consider when owning a pet would be any training related classes/courses. Training classes can be very expensive but could also be worth it when you consider these classes can reduce accidents, and damages that may happen when you have a pet indoors. Consider a trained dog over an untrained dog. The trained dog’s owner will likely not be dealing with damage to their furniture or delicate things within their home, while the untrained dog’s owner is more likely to have these problems. Essentially, proper training (though costs are there up front) can reduce your expense of having to replace broken or damaged items as a result of your pet… saving you money in the long run.

Reducing the Costs of Having a Pet

You probably realize by now that the cost of owning a pet can add up to thousands per year. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the costs.

  • Consider Adoption Route – adopting from the shelter, humane society or other non-profit organization is cheaper than buying your pet from a breeder. Typically when you adopt from these types of agencies, you can save on vaccinations, spray/neuter procedures, medications, microchips and food, among other things.
  • Buy food in bulk – A great way to save money on food is to buy in bulk. Seasoned pet owners know the amount of food pets need and how this cost adds up quickly. Buying food in bulk helps reduce some of this expensive cost.
  • Rewards Programs – You most likely use some type of store rewards program already in your life. Pet stores also have great loyalty/reward programs that give you discounts, free gifts and earned points that convert to store reward dollars. Companies like PetSafe & PETCO offer great products along with great rewards programs that save you money.

Once you’ve added a pet (or pets) to your family addition, you know they are well worth the expense. However, before making the decision to bring a family pet into your home, it is essential to look at expenses, plan and budget for your future.

Cost of owning a pet