Apr 22, 2019

Costs to Consider When Getting a Pet

Family in front of house with their pet.

You desperately wanted to bring home that precious furball you held in your arms at the shelter last weekend, but the initial costs of adoption made you pause. It’s a good thing, since owning a pet comes with a lifetime of expenses that should be considered before you become a pet parent. Even though pet care costs vary based on the species and size of the animal, the potential expenses are similar.

American Pet Products Association (APPA) data suggests that 68% of American households own at least one pet. In 2018, an estimated $72 billion was spent by pet parents with most of the expenses tied to food costs. But, pet food isn’t the only new expense item to add to your monthly budget.

Here are five additional costs to consider when getting a new pet so you can determine if now is the right time to expand your family.

Travel Related Expenses

If you travel frequently or even a few times a year for work or pleasure, factor in the costs of pet sitting or boarding services. This additional expense might mean that you’ll need to cut your travel time short or make other adjustments to your budget. To keep costs down, consider asking a trusted friend to care for your pet during your travels.

Additional Rental Deposits

When you rent a home, apartment, or condo, you must obtain permission from your landlord before bringing a pet home. You don’t want to violate your lease and risk eviction. Renters are subject to pet deposits and cleaning fees that may be nonrefundable.

Unexpected Medical Costs

Pets can become seriously ill without warning, just like humans. Even if you anticipate the annual expenses of veterinarian visits, vaccines, heartworm medication, and flea prevention medicine, the costs associated with unexpected health issues can cause stress and wreak havoc with your finances. An otherwise healthy pet might accidentally ingest toxins, such as cleaners, chocolate, antifreeze or other items commonly found in the home and require a visit to the local pet hospital.

Geriatric Animal Care

Healthcare costs increase as your pet ages. Some pet breeds are known for their propensity toward health issues. Proper care for bad backs, deteriorating bones and joints, respiratory problems, skin conditions, and dental problems can cost thousands as your pet ages, even with regular veterinary care during the early years.

Replacement Costs

Accidents happen. Your new puppy might soil your carpet – repeatedly. An adult cat might claw your sofa to shreds. Even the best-trained animals can make mistakes and cause damage to personal property. This might require replacement of rugs, furniture, shoes, etc.

How Can You Prepare Financially for a Pet?

Don’t let cost considerations deter you from adopting a pet. Simply set aside money for the care of your new pet, so an unexpected expense doesn’t send you into debt. In addition to the costs of food and wellness visits to the veterinarian, think about the annual cost of pet ownership based on your lifestyle.

Here are some common pet ownership related expenses:

  • Food
  • Collars, Leashes, Microchipping
  • Toys/Treats
  • Boarding
  • Annual Vaccinations
  • Unexpected Medical Care
  • Bedding
  • Grooming (Hair, teeth, and nails)

Ensure you have a dedicated savings account, such as a “You Name It” account, that holds funds for these and other pet-related expenses. The cost of each expense will vary based on the size and type of pet you choose.

Responsible pet owners know that providing a forever home for a new pet includes budgeting for the financial costs which extend beyond the initial adoption fees. Prepare financially by saving for unexpected expenses before you add a new member to the family. Some say the return on investment is priceless.