budget living

How Much Do Pets Really Cost?

There is nothing more rewarding than owning a pet. They provide comfort, companionship and an all-around happier home. What we as soon-to-be pet parents forget is how big of a hit our finances can take when we take them home. Many factors come into play when bringing a new fur baby into the house, the cost of pet supplies, veterinary care (expected and unexpected), food and list goes on and on. Before you sign adoption papers, let’s see if your finances can handle a new pet.

Adoption rates can be anywhere from $0-$500 depending on what route you take to get your new best friend. Now that you have your best friend at home you’re going to need some supplies. Let’s talk about food options. You can go with the generic brand costing you $100-$550 a year or the high quality/diet specific option costing about $600-$900 a year. At the end of the day, you’ll need to see what sits best with your pet. You will also need a carrier to bring your new friend home in, to and from the vet and just to have in case you take them with you anywhere. Dog crates or cat carriers can cost anywhere from $0-$200 depending on size and how fancy the style.

Depending on if you adopt a young animal or an older animal you are guaranteed at least one vet visit prior to bringing them home. For puppies and kittens, the first year of vet exams will cost you anywhere from $50-$200. This will be your puppy/kitten shots, flee and heartworm medications and anything else your new friend will need. After that you’re looking at $20-$100 a month for checkups that will include more flee and heartworm medication along with booster shots.  If you adopted outside of an animal shelter, you will most likely need to get your new friend spayed or neutered which cost a pretty penny but cannot be pushed aside. This surgery will run you anywhere from $35-$200 but, that’s cheaper than adding a couple more animals to your life. These are just expected visits, you also need to look at the cost of emergency vet visits, although they hopefully won’t happen often, they do happen and you should be prepared for the bill. Those late-night vet runs can cost you $2,000 if not more depending on the situation.

If your planning on going out of town or working long hours in the office, you will need to consider a boarding facility or a dog walker. Boarding your new friend can run you anywhere from $50-$100 a night, while dog walkers will charge $15-$25 per day.  Lastly, a well-behaved dog is the best type of dog. Training can run you $40 to $250 depending on how well your dog responds. Cats will obviously not need the dog walker or training but you will need a pet sitter to check on your feline friend while you are out of town.

The total cost of a pet can greatly vary, but in the first year you are starting around 1500 dollars for food, toys, vet visits, and supplies. After that you are looking at roughly 1000 dollars a year. Before you fall in love, make sure your finances can handle your new pet because you want your new friend to have the best life possible while in your care.

About the author

Emilie Burke

Emilie is a politics-major turned data engineer. She graduated from Princeton University in 2015 and from Smartly with her MBA in 2016. She lives in North Carolina with her college sweetheart Casey who is currently stationed at Fort Bragg. She enjoys eating food, cuddling with her dog, and binge watching HGTV. She blogs at Burke Does. You can find her around the web at @emilielimaburke.

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