The Cost of Pet Ownership: Can You Really Afford to Own a Pet?

Owning a pet isn’t cheap. According to the ASPCA, depending on your location and the breed of your pet, owning a pet can cost you anywhere from $500 – $2000 per year. While some pets provide great joy at a low cost, others require hundreds or thousands of dollars every year just to keep them happy. If you’re trying to afford a pet, are you sure that your pet is worth the cost? Before taking the plunge and committing to an animal as a member of your family, it’s important that you understand what it takes to own a pet. Even if they are adorable and cuddly, pets still require care and attention. Not only do some pets require more time and money than others, but their needs also vary depending on age and activity level.

One-time pet expenses

Most pet owners will make a one-time payment to get their new pet.

  • Initial Purchase – This is often the cost of the pet itself, but it could also be the cost of a crate, carrier, food, treats, and/or toys. If you’re purchasing a dog, the most common cost is the purchase price and the spay/neuter fee, which is $0-$500 depending on your location. A cat, on the other hand, is a much less expensive proposition.
  • Vaccination/Health Care – Pets aren’t human; they aren’t granted the same rights, and they don’t fall under human health care. Pet insurance is an option, but it’d be a huge mistake to assume that your pet won’t get sick or get injured at some point in their life. If your pet has any sort of health problem, you’ll need to take them to a vet. Some pet health care costs vary based on your pet’s age and health; senior pets and pets with certain conditions will cost more.

Annual pet expenses

Like a car, your pet will wear out over time. You may need to replace the carpet in your home with a hardwood floor, or buy new furniture to accommodate your pet’s increased size. If your pet is getting older, it may also be time to start taking them to the veterinarian for necessary surgeries and regular checkups.

  • Veterinary Bills – This is a big one. While some veterinary visits are covered by your pet insurance, many aren’t. If your pet needs surgery, x-rays, or any other type of medical procedure, you’ll need to add that to the cost of veterinary care. While some veterinary billing is based on a percentage of your pet’s yearly expenses, many veterinary bills are completely out of your control. It’s important to have pet insurance that covers at least some of the costs of your pet’s health care. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Vaccinations – It may seem like a good idea to vaccinate your pet against common diseases, but this isn’t always a good idea. Some vaccines aren’t necessary, and some vaccines are harmful. If you choose to vaccinate your pet, make sure you’re aware of which vaccines you’re getting them for.
  • Food/Water – Eating and drinking are essential to pets, but again, they aren’t granted the same rights. If your pet gets into something they shouldn’t, you could be liable for it. The cost of food and water varies based on your pet’s needs.


Other expenses to consider

Pet insurance

Pet insurance is a type of insurance that protects you against the high cost of veterinary care. This insurance policy vary in terms of coverage, deductible amounts, and what incidents are covered. Some policies will cover routine veterinary checkups, vaccines, and preventative medicines. Others may not cover any treatments or surgeries. It’s important to understand your pet insurance policy before purchasing it. It’s common for pet owners to mistakenly believe that pet insurance covers routine veterinary care, when in reality it only covers accidents. The most common misconception is that a routine visit to the vet is an “accident.” Unfortunately, many pet owners believe that routine veterinary care is an “accident” and end up making a costly mistake. When you buy pet insurance, be sure that you understand exactly what it covers and what it doesn’t cover.

Travel expenses

Traveling with a pet can be both rewarding and frustrating. You may enjoy the companionship and excitement that comes with traveling with your pet, but you may also find the hassle of traveling with your pet frustrating. If you’re planning to travel with your pet, it may be worth it to invest in a pet-friendly airline ticket. Airlines will often waive pet fees and let you travel with your pet for a fee between $100-$300. If you’re planning to travel internationally, ensure your pet is vaccinated and up-to-date on its vaccinations. This way, you won’t have to deal with the unfortunate situation of arriving at the airport only to find out that your pet is not allowed into the country.

Cleaning fees

If you’re planning to have your pet spayed or neutered, make sure to factor in the cost of the procedure. Neutering and spaying your pet can cost between $200 and $400. If your pet requires medical attention due to an accident, it may cost you more money than you anticipated. If you own a cat, expect to spend more money cleaning. Cats require regular cleaning, since their feline friends tend to produce a lot of cat hair. If you don’t have the time or desire to regularly clean your pet’s home, you may want to consider boarding or pet-sitting services. If you own a dog, you may want to invest in a vacuum cleaner and a pet grooming brush. Vacs will help you keep your home clean and your dog’s coat looking good.


Read more: How to Apply For a Personal Loan with Bad Credit

How to prepare for the unexpected

If you’re planning to buy a pet, make sure that you’re ready for the expenses that come with pet ownership. If you don’t have the money saved up, it will be difficult for you to afford any pet, let alone one that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. When you first decide to commit to pet ownership, make sure that you have a clear idea of how much you can and will spend on your pet. Decide how much you can comfortably spend on your pet, and make sure that you stick to this figure. If you find that you’re spending more than you intended, don’t fret. There are a few things you can do to limit your spending and make the most of your pet-related expenses.

Tips for future pet owners

  • Start Saving Early – While you may want to get a pet as soon as you can, the truth is that you might not be ready. If you aren’t financially stable, owning a pet can be a huge risk. Be sure you’re ready to commit to your pet before you start saving money.
  • Budget Pet Expenses – Even if you have pet insurance, you’ll still need to budget pet expenses. A portion of your monthly expenses should go toward your pet’s care and upkeep. This can include food, vaccines, toys, treats, training, and any other expenses associated with their care.
  • Don’t Get Rushed – No matter what you do, your pet won’t come to you. You’ll have to commit to finding time in your schedule for pet care. This doesn’t have to be a huge commitment in terms of time, but it does mean that you have to carve out some time in your day. You may have to change your plans or make sacrifices in order to provide pet care.
  • Support Local Shelters – If you’d like to avoid buying a particular breed, adopt your pet instead. Many local shelters allow you to adopt on a temporary basis, rather than buying a pet.


Pet ownership can be a lot of fun, but it’s important to remember that pets are living creatures. They require food and water, vaccinations, regular checkups with a veterinarian, attention, and care, and they all have to go outside to go to the bathroom. They might also have health problems or issues that weren’t apparent at the time of purchase, and may require expensive surgeries, treatment, or long-term care. There are many factors to consider before deciding whether pet ownership is right for you. Before you commit to a pet of your own, it’s important to understand what it takes to take care of a pet and what you’ll have to budget for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.