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The Hidden Costs of Pet Ownership

The Costs of Pet Ownership

Pets can be a source of great joy, companionship and fond memories. While most people know that owning a pet will cost something, many don’t grasp the total expense involved. Identifying some of the most common costs associated with owning a pet can help you create a more accurate spending plan for life with a furry new friend.

One-Time Expenses

If you purchase a special breed, the purchase fee alone could cost more than $1,000. On the other hand, adoption agencies have nominal fees that include initial vaccinations and other basic procedures.

Initial veterinary costs include vaccinations, preventative medication, worming, spaying or neutering surgery, and microchipping. Additionally, your new pet will need some basic pet supplies, such as a bed, crate, collar, leash, toys and food bowls. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates total pet startup costs as follows:

Expense
Dog
Cat
Spay/neuter
$300.00
$150.00
Vaccination/initial medical
$300.00
$175.00
Microchip
$20
$20
Collar/leash
$30.00
$10.00
Litter box
$0.00
$20.00
Carrier/crate
$60.00
$40.00
Scratching post
$0.00
$15.00
Training classes
$200.00
$0.00
Toys/treats
$100.00
$55.00
Total
$1,010.00
$485.00

Annual Costs

It’s important to include annual costs in your spending plan. Food alone can cost from $300 up to several thousand dollars per year, depending on the quality of food you choose to buy. If you choose a large-breed dog, this cost could easily double. Recurring medical expenses, such as vaccine boosters, heartworm medication and flea and tick preventative can add up to $500 per year.

Additional Costs

Based on the breed and size of your dog, grooming costs may be a monthly or less frequent expense that can run from $35 to more than $100 each visit.

Do you travel? If you plan to bring along your furry friend, you will need to find pet-friendly accommodations. You may pay a small premium for a pet-friendly hotel or vacation rental. If Fido is staying at home, boarding or pet-sitting costs can add $25-$75 per day to the cost of travel plans.

If you rent your home or apartment, a pet deposit will likely be required. These may be refundable, but often are not, as property owners pay to deep clean the property after each tenant.

Pet Insurance

The pros and cons of investing in pet health insurance should be considered carefully. Just like our health insurance plans, pet insurance premiums and coverage vary. While some cover routine medical examinations and procedures, others are intended to reduce the burden of costly accidents or serious illness. Coverage and deductibles affect the premium cost.

The Takeaway

While the costs associated with owning a pet may seem high, after careful planning and budgeting, you may find that owning a pet can be a fulfilling and valuable way to spend your money.

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