The Cost of Adding a Pet to the Family

Your 9 year old is begging for a pet. ALL of her friends have pets and she promises to take care of said pet. The kids are getting older and it just feels like a good time to add a pet to the family. But… have you considered the financial cost of adding a sweet furry family member? Check out our list of pet costs to determine if you are truly ready to take on the joys and financial challenges that come with pet ownership.

Initial Costs: 

Most of us are aware of the initial costs associated with buying or adopting a pet. If you are very specific on breed, you may need to purchase your pet from a certified breeder or a rescue group that specializes in your breed. Typically, breeders charge a premium for puppies (again depending on the breed you select). You can plan to spend anywhere from $500+ buying a puppy. This price may or may not include initial vet expenses and vaccinations. Rescues and shelters are another option to find a pet for your family. Typically, pet adoption costs less than purchases through a breeder and includes the adoption, spay or neuter surgery, microchip and basic vaccinations. You can plan to pay anywhere from $100 – $250 depending on size, age and species (cat or dog) of your pet. Check out our local Humane Society for details on the adoption process and costs.

You will also need to purchase any initial supplies your pet will need. This includes a crate, food, bedding, cleaning supplies and toys… just to name a few. Start up costs can be anywhere from $50 – $300. PetMD offers this great new puppy checklist to make sure you have everything you need to get started.

beautiful teen girl hugging her new pet adopted homeless dog from rescue shelter

Ongoing Expenses:

Food, grooming, preventative medical care, toys and other supplies add up fast. You will find the cost of caring for a cat is generally less expensive than a dog. You can plan to spend anywhere from $300 – $1200 annually for your dog and between $400 – $800 for a cat. (Cost takes into account the type of food your choose, grooming needs of your breed and the health of your pet).

Don’t forget about travel expenses. If you don’t plan to take your lovable furry friend with you, and you don’t have family or friends to watch your pet, you may need to pay to kennel your pet while you go away. In addition, some pets have separation anxiety and need to be with people during the day. You may need to consider the cost of a “Doggy Daycare” service.

pet grooming with scissors made hairstyle

Emergency Health Care Needs:

Plan ahead for emergency vet costs. On average, most owners should be prepared for at least one large medical emergency bill in the $2,000 – $4,000 range. According to this article from the AARP, diagnostic services alone could cost over $1,000. In addition, your pet may be put on special medications or foods that will increase your annual costs.

Veterinarian holding a cat and examining him with stethoscope

Although this is not a financial cost, owners should also consider the time cost associated with bringing a furry member into the family. Many dogs and cats just want time with their owners. If your schedule prohibits you from spending a lot of time with your pet, you may want to hold off on adding this sweet addition to your family.