Budgeting For Pets: The Real Costs Of Pet Ownership

The love of a pet is an invaluable gift, but the benefits of pet ownership do come at a price. Whether you adopt from a local shelter or rescue organization, or you purchase from a breeder, you can expect to face a lifetime of annual expenses, along with the initial cost of bringing your pet home.

Some owners fall in love with a pair of sweet eyes and the cutest wagging tail, but are totally unprepared for the costs associated with taking care of a pet for the duration of its life. They know they’ll need to pay for pet food, treats, vaccinations, checkups, and toys, but they may be unaware of other pet-related expenses.

This week is National Pet Week, so what better time to discuss how pets factor into your budget? As a new pet owner myself, I had to take these costs of pet ownership into consideration:

Emergency care

Accidents and unexpected illnesses happen, and when they do I probably won’t think twice about rushing my dog to the vet. Emergency pet care, however, can be expensive. In one Kiplinger’s report, veterinarian Louise Murray said most pet owners will probably incur an emergency medical bill of $2,000 to $4,000 at least once in their pet’s lifetime.

Lodging while you're away

When you take a vacation, you’ll need to make arrangements for someone to care for your furry friend. You may opt for a pet sitter who comes to your home, or you can make reservations at a boarding facility. Even if you take your pet with you to a pet-friendly hotel, it’s standard for them to charge a non-refundable pet deposit for the convenience. Bottom line, making sure they are cared for can be costly. Here’s a “budget hack”: ask friends or family who also have pets if you can work out a deal. If you know they have a vacation coming up, offer to keep their pet at your place, if they’ll care for your pet in return.

Dental care

You’re probably noticing a pattern by now, but many pet costs are health-related. Dental care for your pet may be fairly inexpensive if you’re able to successfully maintain his or her dental health with regular brushing. Some dogs require professional cleanings, and if your pet develops dental disease, treatments cost a pretty penny.

Damage to your home and belongings

They can be lovable as anything, but pets can also be destructive. If your puppy chews up your favorite pair of shoes or your cat shreds the curtains, you’ll probably want to replace those items, which means money out of your pocket. You might also want to invest in some obedience training to ensure they don’t do worse in the future! Of course, even the best-behaved pet will occasionally have accidents that result in soiled carpets. Take it from me – if you have a pet, it’s probably a good idea to clean your carpets every year anyways.

Pet insurance

There’s a great deal of debate over the value of pet insurance. Some people believe it’s almost as valuable as human insurance in mitigating medical expenses. Others argue that pet parents would be better served by putting their money into a savings account and using the principal plus interest to pay medical expenses. Before you jump into pet insurance, be sure you thoroughly research your options and understand what a policy covers and what it doesn’t.

Despite these costs, pet ownership can bring a whole lotta joy into your life. But before you bring a forever friend into your home, be sure to adjust your household budget accordingly and prepare for unexpected costs that may arise. After all, no one should have to go broke taking care of their best friend.

Happy National Pet Week from all of us at Kasasa!


Tags: Budgeting