happiness

Owning a Pet Costs What?

Most people love the idea of owning a pet. After all, it gives you a source of comfort and companionship, regardless of the species.

But, the cost of pet ownership can get quite high. Many people find it challenging to keep up with pet-related expenses, so it’s important to understand how much it takes.

Owning a Pet Costs What? - Cat

The lifetime cost of pet ownership varies dramatically depending on the kind of animal you select. This means some pets are typically lower cost than others, though a surprise medical issue can make any species expensive.

If you want to know the true cost of pet ownership, here’s an overview.

Purchase Price

The most obvious expense, and the first one you’ll encounter, is actually buying the pet. Generally, you can find prices ranging from free to several thousand dollars, depending on the animal.

For example, a hermit crab may cost less than a dollar. However, a purebred German Shepherd puppy can easily cross the $1,000 mark.

Typically, your starting expenses don’t stop with the animal either. You’ll need to pick up some basic supplies as well.

When you factor in the initial container of food, accessories, kennels, tanks, or whatever else applies to your chosen pet, you can end up spending quite a bit more.

Medical Costs

While purchasing the pet is the most obvious expense, medical bills are typically the largest when it comes to cats and dogs. You’ll need to handle their shots and a range of checkups or specialty treatments. Routine medication, such as for flea prevention, can also add up quickly.

If your pet has an emergency, it isn’t uncommon for your bill to reach a few hundred dollars. If the vet deems surgery as necessary, spending a grand or more can happen.

The cost of owning a pet can skyrocket if the animal develops a chronic condition as well. In some cases, medical care for animals can result in prices that are similar to your medical bills. This means it’s important to plan for these costs before you get a pet.

Regular Expenses

When it comes to regular expenses, food is a big one. While you don’t necessarily have to spring for premium foods, even lower cost options significantly increase your grocery bills.

Additionally, if you choose an indoor-only cat, you’ll need to buy cat litter. This is another common expense that can significantly impact your budget.

Cat and dog owners may also need to pay for professional grooming. Generally, this depends on your comfort level, as some pet owners handle the majority of these requirements themselves. However, if the idea of bathing or trimming your cat or dog’s nails doesn’t sound appealing, then you’ll need to budget for a groomer.

Ultimately, you need to review the cost of pet ownership before you commit. If you need a clearer idea of what you may need to pay, you’ll need to research the species you are looking to buy. That way you don’t accidentally get in over your head.

Do you have a trick for managing the cost of pet ownership? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Looking for more great pet-related articles? Here are a few from Blonde and Balanced:

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About the author

Tamila McDonald

1 Comment

  • The medical costs are almost uncapped at this point. You can easily hit the 5-10K mark (or higher) before you know it for an emergency or health condition – and people will push you hard to just fork it out, regardless of how much it might be, and regardless of your current financial situation (which can be pretty shaky if you already had another animal with an issue recently).

    Even if you can “afford it”, it’s still going to be a major financial setback for most people. Things that would have been considered heroics are now “you’re GOING to do this, right”? Also, even the more routine stuff like cleanings and tooth extractions (for example) that a good owner will always spring for have gone through the roof in cost.

    I’ve taken great care of all my animals, and continue to make sure all of my older guys I still have are getting what they need, and I’ve been a lifelong animal lover, but I will NEVER get any more pets because the costs are so high. Ever. Unless both the culture and the price points around pet ownership become more reasonable again. There was a time when people wanted pet owners to just be more responsible and compassionate. Instead, animals are now being treated like actual, human children. Or… of course, some of them are still being treated as completely disposable, just like they always were.

    Anyway, I am surprised the sheer potential cost of owning a pet isn’t being talked about more. I sort of expect it actually will start to hit the public consciousness in the next few years.

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