Owning a pet, whether it be a cat or a dog, is not cheap. In fact, depending on the breed, age, or even color, a pet may be downright pricey!
I’ve seen a lot of sticker shock from first-time pet owners at my veterinary hospital in Milford, OH, and want to make sure new pet owners understand the responsibility they are assuming by owning a pet. My goal is not to deter anyone from owning a pet, but to be the best pet owner they possibly can be!
According to the ASPCA, in 2021, the average American spent between $750 – $1500 on routine examinations, vaccinations, and preventatives.
Owning a pet is expensive and the first year usually costs the most
What I have found over the years, is how many clients do not realize that the first year of owning a pet is usually the most expensive. A new pet owner should expect to pay between $1500 – $2500 during the first year they own their pet.
Why do you ask?
Adoption fees, spay or neutering, vaccinations, and preventatives all add up fast. Puppies and kittens need to go through a series of vaccinations (just like a child) and all pets should be on a heartworm/flea/tick preventative all year round, even if the pet is strictly indoors. This is particularly true for my feline patients as cats can get heartworm disease and you can bring fleas and ticks into your home and cause an infestation.
Pure, Exotic, and Designer Breed’s Cost More
The average value dramatically increases if you choose a pure, exotic, or what I like to call a designer breed of cat or dog. I have heard of clients paying anywhere from $1500 – $15,000 depending on a specific breed (per Nationwide Pet Insurance).
Let me be clear here: There is no such thing as a non-shedding hypoallergenic cat or dog! Read this sentence again if you have to…All mammals shed (including whales), just some more than others and it is the enzymes in your pet’s saliva that can lead to allergies, not their hair.
Please be aware that if you purchase one of these breeds, the likelihood of you and I becoming fast friends is very high as it is these breeds that have many health problems, mainly a condition called atopy (allergies) with secondary chronic ear infections. Come see us if you own a purebred, we are waiting for you and welcome you!
Additional expenses to consider
There are plenty of additional one-time expenses to add on top of the adoption or breeder fee. According to the AVMA, spay and neuters average from $250 – $500 for dogs and $50 – $200 for cats. Sometimes this may be less with subsidized organizations.
Then you have examinations, vaccinations, preventative, training, litter, leashes, toys, beds, etc. Should I go on? Yes, I think I will.
Furthermore, you need to consider your travel arrangements when thinking about becoming a pet owner along with a pet walker or daycare for clients who work long hours.
You’ll have another mouth to feed
Let’s talk food. Cat food averages $150 – $300 per year and dog food averages $250 – $750 per year. That is just regular food. Double or even triple that figure if your pet has a food allergy or if your family has a particular food lifestyle.
Homemade diets are usually more expensive on average than commercially available pet foods. Please do not fall for the “grain-free” diets! There is a time and place for specialized diets, but on average, it is the protein source that a pet is sensitive to, not the carbohydrate or grain.
Be Weary of Pet Insurance, Consider Our Health Care Plans For Cats and Dogs
Just like so many human health insurance agencies, pet insurance agencies may be just as bad.
Make sure to read the fine print as some only give discounts on prescriptions and some like Nationwide consider something like a congenital heart defect as a pre-existing condition and therefore will not cover treatment.
The preventative pet care plans we offer at Companion Animal Medical Centre are not insurance plans per se, however, they do cover unlimited visits, vaccinations, toenail trims, preventative exams, and other things.
For those things not included, you receive either 10% off (except prescription foods) and up to 25% off spay or neuters and dental cleanings. Learn more about our dog and cat health care plans. We offer specific plans for puppies and kittens, dogs and cats, and senior pets.
Owning a pet can be the best decision you ever make!
I know this is blog may be overwhelming, but I feel that it is super important that you realize exactly what you are getting into when you decide you’re ready to start owning a pet. We love seeing new faces at our veterinary care center in Milford, OH.
This article is not meant to scare you!
Owning a pet, especially a cat or a dog can be a life-changing experience for the better! You might just meet your new best friend after all! We just want new pet owners to be mentally and financially prepared to properly care for their new companions.