4 Costs to Consider Before Getting a Pet

Pets have long been an important part of families and because of that, it’s no surprise that pet ownership has increased over time. In fact, the American Pet Products Association reports that 67% of households have a pet. This is up from 56% of households more than two decades ago. Pets provide fun and companionship and bring joy to a household, but they also come with a lot of responsibility, including significant financial responsibility. Make sure to consider these four costs before getting a family pet.

Adoption or Purchase Fee:

Before the search for your furry friend begins, it’s important to consider which species and breed you want, the general age of pet you’re looking for, and whether you plan to adopt from a local rescue or shelter or want to purchase from a breeder. Having answers to these questions will help narrow down your pet search and give you a better idea of what the acquisition costs might be. Depending on the type of animal and the breed, going through a breeder could cost you thousands of dollars. Adoption from a shelter is typically the least expensive route and often, animal shelters will run adoption specials during times of high occupancy which can sometimes nearly eliminate the adoption fee altogether. Adopting from a rescue agency is less expensive than purchasing an animal from a breeder, and the rescues typically include microchipping, vaccines and sterilization into the adoption fee so you don’t have to pay for those out of pocket once you bring your pet home. While rescues still charge an adoption fee, most are on a sliding scale based on the age and breed of the dog, and the fee goes to support their rescue efforts.

Medical Costs:

Medical costs are typically the most expensive aspect of owning a pet. Just like their human counterparts, pets require regular health check-ups to make sure they are healthy. According to CareCredit, annual exams for most domestic animals are typically around $45-$55. However, there are other medical related costs to consider. Below are the average annual price ranges for basic routine services for dogs and cats, but keep in mind these can vary depending on your pet’s age, health, etc.

  • Teeth cleaning - $50-$300
  • Grooming - $30-$500
  • Flea and tick medication - $40-$200
  • Vaccinations - $10-$100

Lastly, unexpected emergencies happen with pets and emergency room visits are very costly. CareCredit reports that a trip to the emergency vet for a dog or cat can cost between $200 -$4000. Of course a trip to the emergency vet may or may not happen but it’s important to prepare for unexpected expenses like this to avoid any financial strain.


Of course pets need to eat but how much depends on the size of your animal. For example, the larger the dog, the more food he/she will consume, thus increasing the amount of money you spend monthly on food. With that being said, you can expect to spend around $50-$200 per month on pet food. Some pets have food allergies or may be older in age and require a specific, more expensive type of food which also increases costs. Don’t forget about the extra treats as well. We humans love our treats, such as ice cream and cookies, and so do our pets, although theirs should be dog treats instead of ice cream. Those will also increase your monthly pet food expenses.

Miscellaneous Expenses:

Don’t forget about the miscellaneous costs of pet ownership. Different animals come with different one-off or annual expenses. For example, cat owners need to budget for a litter box, cat litter and scratching posts or mats to save your furniture. Bird owners will need to purchase a bird cage and toys to keep your bird happy. A big expense that is often times overlooked is pet sitting or boarding your animal. If you leave town and plan to leave your pet at a pet hotel or with a pet sitter, this can cost you $50-$100 a night, even more depending on the accommodations, type of pet and length of stay. Some pet owners, especially those who own dogs, also have a need for dog walking services. With many people transitioning back to in-person work, a lot of owners are now paying dog walkers which is an added expense. Other expenses you should budget for are pet toys and beds. These are minimal costs but essential ones as your pet needs some entertainment and comfort when sleeping.

Owning a pet provides families with plenty of joy, but it is also a big financial responsibility to take on. Before adding a furry animal to your family, review these costs to see how ownership will affect your budget.

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