The Cost of Pets

What does it really cost to own a pet?  More than non-pet-owners probably realize, although if you do own a dog, cat or fish, you probably have a good idea that they’re not cheap.

Start with the initial expenses.  You can bring home a rescue pet—not just dogs and cats but also rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, reptiles and sometimes fish—for the cost of a one-time fee (sometimes $0) and, for the mammals, the cost of vaccines, spaying/neutering and a microchip, which can run upwards of $500.  Purebred dogs and cats obviously cost more, sometimes much more.  The website puts the average one-time cost of bringing a dog home at $838.

What about ongoing expenses?  Hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits need their bedding changed regularly, plus occasional toys and treats.  Add in food, and the cost averages $600-$700 a year.  Cats and dogs need food, treats and toys, yearly medical checkups, flea and tick prevention and licenses.  Cats cost an average of $670 a year, while dogs can cost more than $1,000, depending on size and, therefore, food costs. Those figures don’t include the cost of walkers or sitters—or medical bills if your pet becomes injured or ill.

Of course, it’s hard to be logical about the financial decision of acquiring a pet that will become a loved family member.  Just be aware of the costs and budget for them ahead of time.

About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years.  Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site:

Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association. 



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