One of my best friends just got a puppy and, as a dog lover, I am BEYOND excited for her! Since we got our dog a little over two years ago, her and I have been having a lot of discussions comparing our experiences thus far and one thing that has come up a few times is how much things cost. While the idea of getting a pet is absolutely wonderful, and so is the reality pet ownership most of the time, everyone should be sure to determine whether or not they can actually comfortably afford to own a pet. Below I share with you some of the costs associated with pet ownership.
For reference, I figured I would share with you how much these expenses are or were for our dog, Jack. Jack is a 3 year-old Great Dane/Border Collie mix, weighing about 75 pounds.
Cost of the Animal
The first and probably most obvious pet expense is the cost to actually purchase the animal. Pure-bred animals always cost more, so if you have your heart set on buying from a breeder, make sure you have budgeted for that. The average cost of pure bred animals varies, but for purebred dogs generally ranges anywhere from $500-$3,000 depending on the breed, location and genetics of the dog. For a purebred cat, the cost ranges from $300-$1,200.
Another option is to adopt a pet from a shelter. There is no guarantee on the breed in this case, but the cost is generally significantly lower. The average cost of cat adoption is $50-$100 and for dog adoption it is anywhere from $100-$500. We adopted our dog for a donation fee of $250 back in 2015.
When you first get your pet, you will most likely need to purchase a bunch of things for the first time. Some of these things are food and water bowls, pet bed, toys, collar, crate, litter box, litter and pet cleaning supplies (to clean up any messes). These are just a few items. Depending on the size of your animal, these costs can vary significantly, but when you are purchasing multiple items at once it can add up quite quickly. Pet accessories cost us approximately $600 when we first got Jack (it has since increased, as we’ve had some beds and toys destroyed in the past 2 and a half years.).
When you first get your pet, you will most likely need to bring him/her to the vet to get checked out. While the office visit itself will cost you, your pet may also need shots. Expect to drop about $300 on this… annually. Unfortunately, shots are not a one-time deal if you want your pet to stay healthy. You may also need to purchase medicine for your pet, such as tick-prevention and heartworm pills. We give these to our dog every month.
To help minimize your vet bills in the case that you have any unexpected tragedies, you may want to get pet insurance. Jack’s insurance is $35 per month, but it has already come in handy. Our dog cracked a tooth while chewing a bone and ended up need it extracted. This cost us over $700 out-of-pocket, but thankfully we got reimbursed by his insurance.
Food and Treats
The price of pet food varies depending on the type of food you get. We spoil our dog more than we spoil ourselves most of the time, so we buy all-natural pet food for him. This runs us about $60 per month. Since my husband and I both work full-time, we go through a whole routine before we leave the house that requires lots of treats (this makes our anxious dog associate us with something positive). We spend approximately $25 per month on his treats, give or take.
While you are not required to buy your pet toys, most people do. Thankfully, toys are not something that need to be purchased on a consistent basis, but rather just in the beginning and sporadically throughout the pet’s life as the toys get destroyed or old. We spend approximately $20 every 4 months or so on new toys for Jack.
You may need someone to care for your pet while you are gone, whether you are at work or away on vacation. We have a dog walker come everyday during lunchtime since my husband and I are gone for a minimum of 9 1/2 hours on a normal work day. This costs us $100 per week (super expensive). Occasionally, we also need to pay someone to let him out when we have events and the like going on. This usually costs us about $30 per hour spent with him. Luckily, my parents watch Jack for us when we go on longer vacations, so we save a lot of money. My in-laws also frequently let him out or watch him for us when we are out to dinner or other outings for longer periods of time.
As you can, pets are not cheap. These costs discussed above are for more expensive animals, too. Pets like fish, hamsters, turtles, snakes, rabbits, etc/ are usually significantly less expensive. If you are thinking of buying or adopting an animal, make sure you have all these costs budgeted for first, so that you are not stuck deciding between getting your animal food or getting yourself food each month. As long as you can comfortably afford the costs of pet ownership, I say go for it! Adopting Jack was one of the best decisions we ever made!!