Many new pet owners are met with sticker shock when the reality of responsible pet care sets in. Caring for a pet is a serious commitment that comes at a serious price tag. While the love and affection pet lovers experience is priceless, your wallet may be in for a bigger hit than you expect.
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), the baseline first year of care can run $3,221 for dogs and $1,904 for cats, and $1,391 to $1,149 respectively on a recurring annual basis.(1)
If you’re wondering how the cost of a four-legged friend could be so much, let’s take a look at a breakdown of some of the basics.
Pet Food Prices: The ASPCA estimates the annual cost of pet food at $225 for cats and $300 for dogs, though this is on the low side. Fresh premium pet food brands can run you as much per month as that low-end annual estimate. (2)
Pet Care Supplies, Toys & Treats: Pet care supply costs vary depending on the pet, and, you may need a wide range of items, as well as professional grooming, boarding, or training. (2)
Pet Medical Care: Medical care for pets can be pricey, and its cost can literally be a matter of life and death. The ASPCA estimates initial medical costs, including spaying and neutering, to range from $325-600. They put routine medical costs, such as vaccines and wellness visits, at $160 per year for cats and $225 for dogs. For preventive measures, such as heartworm, flea, and tick medicine, the cost is approximately $140 to $185. And emergency room visits, hospitalization, and advanced care can cost many thousands of dollars. (2)
Pet Insurance: Pet insurance may help defray the cost of veterinary bills and medical care, but of course, it comes with a cost, too. Rates range from about $6 to $155 per month, depending on your pet’s age, species, breed, pre-existing conditions, and location. Pet insurance can be a lifesaver and a budget protector, but be sure to read the fine print. (3)
Costs vs. Benefits of Pet Ownership
Factoring costs versus benefits when deciding whether or not to invest in a pet will not give you an easy answer. Some will say the love of a pet is priceless, while others will focus on the calculable price of caring for one as a counterargument. The bottom line is, if you think you will enjoy a pet, you need to determine if there is room in your finances for the expense. Healthy pets can live for decades, so it’s not a decision to take lightly.
For more information on additional costs involved with owning a pet, visit https://betterpet.com/pet-cost-budgeting/. Sources:
(1) https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/20/health/benefits-of-having-a-pet-wellness/index.html (2) https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cutting-pet-care-costs (3) https://www.usnews.com/insurance/pet-insurance/how-much-does-pet-insurance-cost
Brendan is the Managing Director for Waymark Wealth Management. He has extensive experience in comprehensive wealth management. His focus includes retirement planning, behavioral finance, investment portfolio construction, education funding, insurance & risk management, taxes, charitable giving, and estate planning. Brendan has an ability to take clients' complex visions and distill them down to simple action plans, helping them move from where they are today to where they want to be tomorrow.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This material was prepared by Crystal Marketing Solutions, LLC, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate and is intended merely for educational purposes, not as advice.