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Hidden Costs of Pet Parenting

Resisting the impulse to become a pet parent can be difficult when you’re up against children begging for a puppy, or that pang of need you feel when watching adorable cat videos on the internet.

Getting a pet might seem simple enough – adopt a pup or feline friend and live happily ever after – but there’s more to it than paying adoption fees and having the first vet visit. In fact, there’s a lot to consider before a prospective pet parent, like yourself, brings home a new fuzzy friend.

Dwelling Dollars

The shelter you’re adopting your pet pal from will probably inquire about your home situation, including whether you own or rent. Even if they don’t ask, it’s important to think about. Pet parents facing an average monthly “pet rent” fee of $35 can end up paying $420 more annually than a non-pet parent.

How much it costs to rent a pet-friendly property will reflect the cost of living where you are. In a city like San Francisco, you can expect to pay extremely high rent to live with your pet friend. However, living with a cat or dog in a less expensive metro area like Phoenix or Detroit will likely be much more affordable. But keep in mind, you’ll be renting with your furry companion for many years, unless you purchase your own home in their lifetime.

how to set a proper pet budget _ dog laying next to man using a laptop

Proper Pet Budget

You know you’ll be buying food, kitty litter and toys for your cat, but do you know how much you’ll be spending every year? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) estimates the annual cost of cat parenting to be $700. The annual cost to dog parents is in the same ballpark – around $600 to $900 depending on size.

But that doesn’t count the additional capital costs of the first year, which include spaying and neutering, collars and pet furniture. You can expect to tack on an additional $600 for dogs and $400 for cats.

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orange kitten scratching up a chair

Hidden Costs

Now that you have your yearly pet budget nailed down, there are a couple of hidden costs you’ll need to add:

Going on vacation

Unless you’re traveling with your pet, you’ll want to hire a pet sitter or board your pet pal. There are kind friends who might take on the task for free, but you should expect to pay around $130 for a cat and $333 for a dog to keep your pet safe while you’re away.


Appetite for destruction

Cats scratch, and puppies chew. There are ways to get around these kinds of shenanigans, but you can and should expect that your adorable pet will damage or destroy something you own. There’s no real way of saying what that might be, but it’s good to put a little cash away for “just in case” replacements.

Of course, there are also those pet-appropriate toys that will be destroyed due to normal wear and tear. You’ll get a feel for how often you’ll have to replace these the longer you live with your pet. Start setting some money aside in your budget now by doing some online comparison-shopping.


While you were away

Pets, like people, can get lonely when their friends are away. Some pet parents opt for services like doggie daycare or dog walkers to keep their pooches active during work hours. In some cities, the annual cost for a dog walker can be up to $5,000. Upper-end doggie daycares can cost up to $550 a month.

Cat parents get off a bit easier here. Although, the question for feline friends might be how much you want to spend on a web cam to watch your kitty frolic while you are away at the office.

 hidden pet health care costs _ mixed breed dog in a cone

Expecting the Unexpected

There are some costs that pet parents don’t often consider. Certain costs are unpleasant to think about.

For instance, a sick pet could affect your income. According to an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance survey, 30 percent of pet parents said that they have missed work due to a pet illness. Three out of 10 pet parents said they missed work days after the loss of a pet.

That lost time is in addition to the cost of emergency veterinary care which could cost anywhere between $2,000 and $4,000. BUT, pet health insurance can provide reimbursements for the treatment costs of accidents, injuries, illnesses, and more! Get your free quote now.

You know that your heart is big enough for a new cat or dog, but it’s important to make sure your budget is, too.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

You know that your heart is big enough for a new cat or dog, but it’s important to make sure your budget is, too. Check out more facts in the infographic below and be sure to share it with friends and family members who are looking to make the move to pet parenthood.

dental infographic

Article Sources:
http://www.realtor.com/advice/rent/should-you-pay-pet-rent/
https://www.aspca.org/sites/default/files/upload/images/pet_care_costs.pdf
http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp
https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-does-doggy-day-care-cost.htm
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance Pet Loss Survey, January-April 2016
http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T065-C000-S001-the-true-cost-of-owning-a-pet.html

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