Calculating the Cost: Getting a New Pet

    12/13/2023
    5 minute read
    Learn the financial realities of pet ownership and what factors to consider before getting a pet
    Owning a pet can be an incredibly rewarding experience providing companionship and unconditional love. Many of us view our pets as additional family members, and like humans, they have needs that will impact our finances. Before taking the plunge into pet ownership, consider the financial realities and other critical factors that could impact your finances both in the present and later down the road.
     

    Initial Expenses

    Adoption fees or purchase cost. The choice between adopting and buying from a breeder can make a big difference in how much you spend. On average, adoption fees fall between $50 to $200 and typically cover spaying/neutering, vaccinations and other initial services. Purchasing from a breeder can range anywhere from $500 to over $8000, primarily depending on the breed of the animal. Be sure to do your research and include the adoption or purchase cost into your spending plan before deciding.

    Essential supplies. Aside from the adoption or purchase cost, there will be several immediate items you will need to factor into your spending plan before you bring your pet home. Plan to purchase things like a leash, collar, litter box, tank, food, bedding, etc. as these items will be necessary depending on the type of pet you are getting. If you are purchasing your pet from a rescue organization or a reputable breeder, they will likely include a list of necessities you will need to take care of your pet.

    Pet deposits. If you are renting, you may be asked to pay a pet deposit. This fee can be monthly, annually or a one-time charge during your stay. The amount can vary depending on where you live and is used by the landlord to clean, replace things like carpets or curtains or fix damage caused by a pet.
     

    Ongoing Costs

    Pet ownership is a long-term commitment, and the costs don't end with the initial expenses. Research the life expectancy, overall health, common medical issues and diet of the animal you are wanting. Factor in these ongoing expenses to your spending plan:
     
    • Food. Depending on the size and type of your pet, food costs can add up quickly. Some pets may also have allergies or require a specific type of food which may be more expensive.
    • Veterinary care. Regular check-ups, yearly vaccinations and routine medications are necessary for your pet’s health.
    • Grooming. Some pets require frequent grooming, which can be costly.
    • Pet insurance. Consider purchasing pet insurance to help cover unexpected medical expenses.

    Unexpected Expenses

    Pets can be unpredictable, and unexpected expenses can arise. It's crucial to have an emergency fund as part of your spending plan to cover unforeseen costs like injuries, illnesses or damage to property.
     

    Long-Term Commitment

    Some pets can live for many years. Think about the long-term financial commitment you will be making that can extend over several decades. Consider how your finances or lifestyle might change during this time, such as job changes, having a baby or moving to a new home.

    Pet ownership can be one of life's most rewarding experiences, but it's important to be financially prepared for the journey. By considering the financial factors, you can provide your pet with the care they deserve while maintaining your financial stability. For personalized guidance with your spending plan, visit your nearest Financial Health Center.

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