Costs to Consider Before Owning a Pet


Pets are just plain cute and can bring so much joy to your life, but like children, they don’t come cheap, especially if you choose to care for your pet properly.

Whether you choose to adopt or buy a pet from a store or a breeder, there are several costs to consider throughout your pet’s lifetime. The first is the acquisition cost. You can adopt a dog from a shelter for around $60 to over $200 depending on the shelter (this usually includes neutering/neutering them and all of their vaccinations), but I’ve seen French Bulldog puppies from breeders for $7 $000. You would want to do your research on the breeds and make sure you have a healthy pet.

I was actively looking for a furry friend, but after inquiring about time commitments and costs, I must confess that I am thinking of returning when I retire and have more time.

There are so many benefits to having a pet. They can bring such unconditional love and companionship and of course all the funny and cute things they do. The purpose of this article is not to dissuade you from owning a pet but to guide you as to the resources you should have for a long-term financial commitment.

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A dog or a cat can have a lifespan of over 15 years – it’s almost like raising a child to college age. Many people adopt or buy animals and don’t factor them into their planning – what if I have a baby? What if my job forces me to move? What happens if I purchase a condo with pet restrictions in the future? I have seen so many sad stories of new babies with pet allergies or people losing their jobs and having to give up pets they can no longer afford to care for.

Some costs to think about are:

Food and toys

Food can be quite expensive, especially if you have a larger animal. I have friends who cook chicken and “popular food” for their dogs. It can be as costly as feeding another human.

Your pet may need toys, a bed, and maybe a crate for training. If you have a cat, you may need to buy something it can scratch. A few toys can easily cost $50, a dog bed $35, a cat scratching post $30 or more, depending on how fancy you want to get.

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Training costs and destruction of property

Puppies like to chew and kittens like to scratch furniture. It can be frustrating and costly, especially if the puppy is ravaging your expensive shoes. The average cost for dog training is around $50 per hour, but obedience training can range from $200 to $600 per week. A private dog trainer can run up to $150 per hour.

pet insurance

If your pet has known health issues due to their breed, it may be a good idea to purchase pet insurance ahead of time or set aside some money for big vet bills. Pet insurance can range from as low as $10 per month to over $100 per month. Keep in mind that many insurance companies will exclude “typical” conditions associated with a breed.

General liability insurance

Some condo associations require you to have liability insurance if you have a pet in case it bites or destroys the property. This can increase your insurance costs. A colleague informed me that her association of condominiums has requested an analysis of her dog’s poop in order to identify the culprit if the poop is not cleaned up!

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Health/veterinary bills

These costs can be a wildcard depending on your pet. Dogs should be treated periodically for heartworm, fleas, etc.


It can cost up to $100 per visit depending on the size of the animal and your location.

Travel/Pet sitting

If you travel frequently or work outside your home, you will need to factor in the costs of someone caring for your pet while you are away. Bringing in a dog walker during the day can easily cost $20 depending on where you live. You want to find someone you trust who won’t put your pet in danger. Dog daycare can cost $25 a day and $40 overnight. If you travel frequently, these costs can add up quickly.

Service animals

Service animals, such as emotional support pets, come at their own expense.

Future planning

Many people have created trusts for their pets. Since your pet is probably part of the family, what if something happens to you? Do you have plans in place for the animal and the financial resources to support it after you leave?

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