Our pets are more than just furry faces that look at us longingly while we eat our meals at home –they are meaningful members of the family. Having a pet, whether it’s a dog or a cat, has advantages as well as disadvantages, but depending on who you ask (someone with pets or without), there will be far more advantages than disadvantages to having a pet.
Always there to keep you company and to greet you when you walk through the door after a long and exhausting day at the office, a pet is a welcomed invite to many people, but no matter how you feel about your four-legged friend, they can be one of the most expensive purchases you make in your domestic life, albeit worth it.
Below is a breakdown of what to expect as far as cost in a single year of owning a pet.
Surviving your first year of pet ownership.
Before we get into the logistics of owning a pet and the expenses included, first we have a question: what year are we talking about?
Like getting ready for a newborn child, the first year of pet ownership is more than likely going to be the most expensive year in the life of your pet (not that a newborn baby should be regarded as a “pet”, of course). The reason this first year is a giant spike on the chart that displays your financial burden over the lifetime of your pet is because it is the time that will adapting to the wants and needs of your chosen pet, and then buying and purchasing items accordingly from there.
First, you have to pay for ownership of your chosen pet. Buying a particular purebred animal with papers and official documentation can be one of the most expensive ways to go about buying a pet (or show dog, if you are trying to monetize your pet ownership), but for a much cheaper route, as well as the humanitarian route, you can always adopt a pet from your local shelter and give a fuzzy little friend a chance at a happy home life.
Whatever you decide, whether it’s buying a “no surprises” pure breed of pet, or adopting from a shelter, right there is a purchase. Adoption, although cheaper, will still lead to an adoption fee, as the processing of the paperwork comes with a cost (its still way cheaper than paying for a purebred, as in $100 versus a few thousand).
Past the adoption and take home fees of acquiring a new pet, you then are looking at the cost of one time purchases such as the essentials: leashes, collars (sometimes the collars that have GPS tracking in them), dog beds, scratching posts, fences… you get the idea. You need to set your home up to be more accommodating to your new pet, and that home altering will cost you a good amount, depending on the size of your pet and how willing you are to spoil them.
Taking your companion to the vet.
Before you can begin your life with your pet, proper pet care advises you to spay and neuter your pets, which is not a very cheap procedure, but the good news is that you only have to have this taken care of once –hopefully.
Past that, your pet will need to be seen regularly by your veterinarian to ensure you fuzzy family addition is keeping healthy and free of any otherwise concerning health problems. It’s worth the investment to take your pet in regularly, or just like a car that is not being taken care of, it will shut down entirely after a while or will need to be brought in for a very expensive operation. Taking your pet in every couple of months is a good idea, and will give you as the pet owner peace of mind over your companion’s well-being.
Don’t’ forget food and nourishment.
This may go without saying– but you need to feed your pet! And when we say “feed your pet”, we don’t mean your leftovers from last night’s steak dinner.
Proper nutrition for your pet is necessary, and that is in the form of specially made dog or cat food. How fancy you want to get with that specialized food is your choice, but more often than not you get what you pay for. They have “premium” dog food, and “regular dry”, and everything in between. Some pets can tell the difference, but that usually only comes with spoiling your pet with the premium stuff and then switching to the “less than premium” stuff.
Some dog foods come with additives such as enriched meat with vitamins and other goodies for your pet’s health. If you can afford to put your pet on a diet of this higher quality and health conscious goodness, then it is worth the extra investment, as some pet foods come with enriched bits that can help with known pet-ailments such as arthritis and worms and fleas and such.
Where will they stay when master is away?
You also should factor in what you are going to do if and when you plan to travel and cannot take your pet with you (even though taking your pet with you would be a ton of fun, in my opinion).
You, of course, could always contact your friend or neighbor or brother-in-law to do it for you for free (or at the very least a promising “I owe ya one”). This is always a great way to save money, but what if you have just moved and don’t know anybody well enough to make you feel comfortable enough to leave your dog with for a weekend?
Dog kennels and spas and hotels and other venues of the like are definitely a cost to factor in, and unless you are okay with leaving your pet overnight in a shoddy looking establishment that at the very least is inexpensive, you are looking at some pretty high costs.
To your benefit, there are more any more pet service companies popping up all over the place, one being Rover.com, and they will watch your pet for you for set periods of time and are pretty well trusted and loved by pet owners all over. Companies and services that are well known to your family and friends are the best places to start looking.
If you can afford year one…
Overall, the cost of your pet will diminish as time of ownership goes on. After your first year of pet car, the cost of owning your pet will dramatically lower, as buying papers and taking care of ownership fees and operations at the vet and necessity buying all go away once they are initially purchased by you. In other words, if you can survive your first year of pet ownership, you will be able to afford the rest of your pet’s lifestyle.
According to PetEducation.com, your first year of pet ownership (if it is a dog, which is more expensive than a cat) can be as high as $6,600. But if you make it through that first year and take care of everything that you need to to make sure that your animal will live happy and healthy for the rest of its residents with you, that annual rate will drop to as low as $2,485 –and that number is still on the high side! You don’t have to be paying premium rates for everything that pertains to your dog, only if you really to continually pamper your pet will the annual rate of care be that high.
According to our friends at PetEduaction.com, the cost of dog ownership can dip down to as low as $287, but that means that you really are living the thrifty life with your pet, and excluding regular vet visits, specialized dog food and treats, toys, apparel (who doesn’t love a dog in a hoodie?), and dental care.
Over the lifetime of your dog, which give or take is about 14-15 years, you as the owner and provider will spend about $5 grand on the low side of care, and as much as $40 grand on the high side.
We all love our pets, and when it comes to providing care for them would never dream of passing on the opportunity of taking proper care of them. Our pets are extensions of ourselves, only fuzzier.
We all knew the expense that adopting another member into the family would cost us, but don’t let the money make you think that pet ownership is not worth the investment because it certainly is.