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How Much it Really Costs to Own a Pet

How Much it Really Costs to Own a PetGetting a pet is a step that many people feel inclined to take at some point in their life. Of course, being a pet owner can also come with a lot of responsibility. Some of that responsibility is financial. Here are some of the financial considerations to keep in mind when you’re thinking about getting a pet.

According to the ASPCA, the first year of owning a cat or dog costs upwards of $1,000. After the first year the expenses can drop and level off at a lower rate, or they can increase based on the health and needs of the individual pet.

The reason why the first year of pet ownership costs so much is that there are a variety of one time expenses. Those include things like beds, collars, leashes, etc. Additionally, anytime you adopt an animal you have to make sure that they get all of their shots and that they are good health. If they are not in good health, it’s your responsibility to get them there.

The average yearly costs for having a cat or dog are less than the first year. But still average in at around $500. There are many yearly expenses such as renewing a license, health insurance, and medical checkups. Then there are also the daily expenses such as food, litter, tick protection etc. Like a child, there is never a time that a pet does not need something. Even the costs of cleaning the home can increase when a pet is living there. Especially if they have a tendency to damage any of your belongings.

These costs will go even higher if you travel for work or pleasure. When traveling there are a few different options for pet care. One option is to take the pet with. This either requires being able to drive to a destination with the pet in the car or flying. While flying, some pets can be brought onto the plane with you while others will need to be kenneled down below. This mostly has to do with the size of the pet but each airline has different policies. The cost of flying with a pet is often upwards of $100.

The other option, of course, is to leave a pet behind while you travel. This might require boarding the pet in a kennel. Or it might require hiring a pet sitter to stay in your home or stop by periodically to take care of the pet. Both of those services are worth paying quality for, and the costs can add up. It’s easy to see how much more expensive it can get to own a pet when you are traveling a lot.

The costs of owning a pet can be significant. But they can also be a great lesson in financial responsibility. Anyone who has ever loved a pet would certainly say that the opportunity is a  great one to take, but it is crucial to make sure that you’re in the financial state to do so.



  1. I want a dog (a Frenchie, like the one in the picture), but this is precisely why I have not gotten one yet. The time and cost commitment seems pretty big, day in and day out. My wife and I travel frequently, so the kenneling fees by themselves would likely be a lot.

  2. No doubt, pets have a cost. One thing that you can do to help make your pet “work” for you in a way is to pet sit using apps like Rover or Wag. I’ve been watching pups on Rover for 2 years now. The nice thing is that, if you already have a dog, watching a second dog doesn’t add much additional work to your schedule – you already have to take care of your own dog anyway, so having to take care of a second dog is basically the same thing.

    Then, with the earnings you make from pet sitting, you can pretty much cover your pet costs. My own dog “makes” me around $2000 per year from pet sitting and being a good ambassador dog for me.

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