a person holding a cat
Janina Corwin
Janina Corwin
Senior Staff Writer

What’s the True Cost of Owning a Pet?

Pets quickly become one of our most loved family members. Though getting a pet can add so much love and happiness to your life, it also comes with some financial costs. The cost of owning common pets, like dogs and cats, is beyond the initial purchase price. It’s important to consider these additional costs so you can ensure you’ll be able to provide your pet with a quality life. Keep reading to learn about the true costs of owning a furry friend.

First-Time Costs

First-time costs for pets vary widely. Let’s discuss the costs for the two most common pets: Dogs and cats. Dogs are reportedly the most common pet in the world, and cats are the second most common. With this being said, the price of your new dog depends on the breed of dog. Some dog breeds are more expensive than others, and purebred dogs generally always cost more. You should consider getting a dog from a shelter or rescue project. Rescue dogs are a great option for more reasons than the cost. Rescue dogs are typically less expensive (unless they have medical issues), you save a life, and you help eliminate the overpopulation of animals.

You can also adopt a cat at these shelters, too. Other first-time costs include crates and dog beds, leashes, food, vaccination shots, check-ups, toys, and collars. Keep in mind that all of these expenses will most likely occur again with dogs as they grow out of certain sizes. To sum up all of these costs, it’s reported that a new pup could set you back anywhere from $395 to $2,455 in the first year.

Everyday Expenses

The costs don’t stop with the first purchases. For any pet, you need to keep up the maintenance of owning them. Starting simple, you must continuously buy food and treats for your pet which varies depending on the brand of food you buy. Plus, you might have to pay a monthly fee for your pet if you rent. Other expenses that can add up are grooming costs. Once again, depending on the breed, you will have to plan on grooming costs. Average costs for grooming costs can run anywhere from 30 to 90 dollars, usually per month. Owning cats still costs a decent chunk of change too because they need food, treats, and litter quite frequently (generally speaking, cats don’t require quite as much maintenance as dogs).

Commitment to Health

Another cost that can add up is visits to the vet. Vet trips are necessary for your dog or cat, but vet bills can be costly. These vet visits and routine care is crucial to maintain your pet’s health. Your pet is checked yearly for illnesses through the use of common diagnostic tests at the veterinarian. These yearly diagnostic tests are for things like heartworms and flea and tick-related diseases. Both of these tests are critical for a dog’s health and longevity. You must also be able to afford their monthly medications for heartworm and flea and tick prevention which can be quite costly since they’re needed once a month. On top of these regular checkups and vaccinations, your pet may need treatments for any emergency illnesses. This is where pet insurance comes in handy.

Pet insurance can alleviate some of the hefty financial burden when your pet gets sick or injured. Pet insurance plans work to cover some of the costs if your pet needs some kind of emergency surgery, or cancer treatment. However, it can also lessen the costs of regular preventative care. Two common pet insurance plans are through ASPCA and Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.

When it comes to finding the best pet insurance coverage, you should consider different pet insurers. Use iSelect to navigate the coverage options for pet insurance. Insurers have different coverage plans for both dog insurance and cat insurance. Just like your health insurance, pet insurance coverage varies depending on the plan you prefer and the pet insurance policy that you choose. You can get a pet insurance policy with comprehensive coverage that may cover the costs of preventative care and medication, or more liability-like coverage terms. With the help of comparison tools, you can now reliably choose between the pet insurance providers for your pet’s unique needs.

As a potential pet parent, it’s critical to understand the true costs of owning a furry friend. These costs shouldn’t deter you from getting a pet if you can afford and care for them. By considering the necessary payments and pet insurance coverage options, you can get peace of mind that you’ll be able to give your new pet an incredible life.