5 Costs of Pet Ownership to Help You Budget Your Spending

Animal shelters are filled with cuddly puppies and cute kittens. Before you think of adopting one, consider the cost of pet ownership. From pet food to vet visits, there’s a lot to consider before you create a “forever home” for Fido or Fluffy. Here are five costs of pet ownership to help you budget your spending.

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1. Pet Food

One of the biggest expenses for pet owners is pet food. According to a Bankrate report, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) says premium pet food can cost up to $276 a year, depending on the size of your pet. Food treats can cost an additional $64.

While premium foods cost more than cheaper brands, they are better for your pet’s digestion and overall health. Cheap foods contain fillers that have little or no nutritional value, and they may even harm your pet over time.

2. Veterinary Care

Veterinary care is another big expense. Bankrate looked at both APPA and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates. The average visit for routine care is about $200 per dog and $81 per cat. Surgical visits range from $278 to $532.

Annual care includes vaccinations, physical exams, dental care, emergency care, grooming, boarding, flea and tick products, foods and drugs. The first year often includes spay or neuter surgery. If you think feathered friends are cheaper to care for, experts say bird ownership can cost $200 a year.

3. Pet Boarding

Not every pet owner uses boarding services, but if you travel frequently, you may need them. According to the nation’s top kennels and pet resorts, doggie daycare runs about $12 a day. Pet sitting can cost up to $16 for a half-hour, and overnight boarding is about $39 for dogs and $15 for cats.

Boarding prices vary by pet size, region and season. Some kennels offer discounts for additional pets. Businesses that describe themselves as pet resorts are usually more costly.

4. Pet Grooming

Most pet owners spend some of their budget on professional pet grooming. APPA says baths can cost between $20 and $50. Pet haircuts also fall within that range. Professional grooming expenses can cost $200 a year. Do-it-yourself products are much less expensive.

5. Pet Extras

The cost of pet ownership doesn’t stop with pet food, vet car, boarding and grooming. Most pets require a few extras, and the cost can really add up. For example, dog toys can cost up to $40, and pet beds can also cost that much.

Some pets require crates and carriers, even if these items are rarely used. Dog halters and harnesses are sometimes necessary, and most pets need products for flea and tick prevention.Obedience training, chain link fences and backyard kennels can add to the cost of pet ownership.

Closing Thoughts

A lovable puppy or kitten will steal your heart. If you still want to adopt, remember that dogs are generally more expensive than cats. Moreover, big dogs cause unique problems of their own.

However, if you love animals, you’ll find a way to budget your spending — even after you add up the costs. Most people find that the joy of pet ownership is worth the expense.


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September 10, 2014 5 Costs of Pet Ownership to Help You Budget Your Spending