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March 26, 2020

Financial Planning for a Pet

Bringing a new puppy home? Find out how much it will really cost.

Whether you’re surprising the kids with a new puppy or adopting a local rescue, you’re not alone. According to the National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of households in the U.S. have a pet. But with food, veterinary visits and ongoing care and supplies, how much does it actually cost to get a pet?

One-time expenses:

With a new pet, there are initial, one-time expenses—especially if it’s your first pet. Whether you  buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter, the cost of your pet can range from around $30 to a few thousand dollars. If you adopt from a shelter, it is likely that a checkup, vaccinations, microchipping, spaying or neutering may be included in the fee. If you’re purchasing a pet from a breeder, you should expect these initial costs:

  • Collar and leash: $16–$100
  • Food and water bowls: $10–$50
  • Checkups and vaccinations: $75–$150
  • Spaying or neutering: $145–$250
  • Microchip: $75–$150
  • Litter box (cats): $25

Ongoing expenses:

Once your new pet is home, the ongoing expenses of caring for an animal will begin. This should be included in your annual budget as long as you own your pet. Costs can vary depending on your pet, lifestyle and personal preferences, but below you’ll find a baseline for ongoing expenses of having a pet.

  • Food: $150–$500
  • Toys: $25–$100
  • Veterinary care: $160–$300
  • Pet license: $15–$20
  • Cat litter: $165
  • Grooming: $25–$60 per visit
  • Pet sitting/day care: $15–$30+ per day
  • Boarding: $35+ per day
  • Training fees: $100–$300+

Medical costs:

Keeping your furry friend healthy can be the largest, and most unpredictable, expense of being a pet owner. You may want to consider starting a pet emergency fund to help cover unexpected veterinary or medical bills. To help reduce risk and prevent medical issues, keep your pet healthy and schedule regular checkups.

While adding a pet to your family can add additional expenses to your budget, the benefits of pet ownership include companionship, lower levels of stress, increased exercise and opportunities to teach your kids about responsibility. Understand and prepare for the costs now so you can enjoy all the fun a new furry family member can bring.