How much does it actually cost to own a dog or cat?

Bringing a pet into your home is an exciting choice, but it’s not a financial choice that you should take lightly. In fact, according to one survey, 98% of pet owners say they underestimated the lifetime cost of owning a pet.

So what do you need to consider when you want to bring a furry friend into your family? Here are the steps you need to take to explore the expected annual costs of owning a dog or cat.

1. Research the upfront costs of bringing a pet into your home.

There are a number of essential items a pet needs to live in your home, like a new bed, a carrier, feeding and water bowls, and toys. And those needs change depending on the breed of your new cat or dog. Visit local stores or websites that sell these items to get a sense of what you need to save to buy these for your new pet.

Also, research the costs of purchasing or adopting your pet, like fees, licensing, and veterinary bills. Talk to your friends who already own pets about how much those expenses cost. Or contact your local animal shelter with questions you have about the cost of bringing a pet home with you.

2. Add your anticipated pet expenses to your monthly budget.

If you have a monthly spending budget, you should add separate costs for your pet’s anticipated needs. (And if you don’t have a monthly budget, here are three ways you can budget mindfully for your life.) Here are some expenses you should consider in your monthly budget and their average annual costs, according to the ASPCA:

  • Food ($300 for dogs, $225 for cats),
  • Litter ($150 for cats),
  • Grooming ($300 for dogs),
  • Veterinary exams ($225 for dogs, $160 for cats),
  • Preventative medications, like flea/tick medicine ($185 for dogs, $140 for cats).

Also, if you are not currently a homeowner, buildings typically require you to pay for a pet to live in that space with you. Ask your landlord how much a pet deposit or pet rent costs for your animal.

3. Make a savings plan for your pet’s unexpected costs.

Like any other investment, you should always plan for the unexpected. Make sure that you’re putting enough money in your savings to prepare for an emergency, like if your pet needs surgery or they tear up your furniture.

Want to hear from real pet owners about their pet expenses? Listen to our conversation about what it costs to own dogs, cats, and more on Dream, Plan, Live.

‹ Return to the Blog