At first glance, one might think that the financial cost of having a pet goes no further than the purchase price (if any), the cost of food and occasional trips to the vet. However, owning a pet can be quite expensive. This article will highlight some of the costs that are often overlooked. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing primarily on dogs and cats, as they represent the majority of pets owned in the United States.
The Purchase Price
The price varies from free to very high, and often depends on the source and pedigree. For example, if you get your pet from a shelter, you might get it at little to no cost. On the other hand, if you purchase your pet from a breeder, the purchase price is anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
There are some expenses that cannot be avoided when it comes to pet ownership. The following are some that would be considered primary and necessary by most pet owners:
With food, the price can vary depending on the quality of the chow and how large your pet is. With cats the costs are usually consistent and they will average $115 annually. With dogs, a big factor is size; a small dog averages as little as $50 dollars a year in food costs. The costs for larget dogs can get as high as $235 per year, according to information on the ASPCA website.
This might seem like an unnecessary cost to some, but keeping your pet active is an intrinsic part of keeping him or her healthy. Further, since you might not always be around to give your pet attention, toys can help to fill the void when you are away. Toys are one of the cheaper pet-related expenses, and cost an average of $50 per year. The prices can be higher depending on the type and quality.
The cost for health-related and medical expenses vary depending on the services needed. Your actual out-of-pocket costs for check-ups and care for medical issues depend on whether you have health insurance. The average cost of pet insurance for a cat is $175 and $225 for dogs. Without health insurance, the cost of medical care for a sick pet can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars. The final cost depends on the extent of the medical care needed.
The miscellaneous costs of pet ownership vary, as the items covered are usually optional. These include buying special items for your pet, such as a doghouse or scratching post, getting your pet spayed and neutered, grooming your pet, or finding a place for your pet to stay when you go away on vacation. While these are usually more costly than expenses incurred for everyday living and maintenance, they are not mandatory and are not incurred as often. As a result, they should not be a deterrent for someone who is considering pet ownership.
The Bottom Line
When making the decision to get a pet, the associated costs should be taken into consideration. This will help to ensure that you can afford to provide the care that is necessary to keep your pet healthy and happy. When projecting the expenses, be sure to consider those that are unavoidable versus those that are optional.