The cost of pet ownership can be a little bit of a surprise for first time dog and cat parents. Folks who work at animal shelters will tell you that they get a lot of animals from people who say they just can’t afford to have a pet. Your first impulse might be to ridicule these folks, right? If money was tight, why did you get a dog? But there are a lot of unexpected costs that come with pet ownership.
Rather than judge, I think we need to educate. If more folks knew the true cost of pet ownership going in, how many millions of animals could we keep out of shelters? The graphic below looks at the true annual cost of owning a dog or cat.
Cost of Pet Ownership: Unexpected Expenses
Some animals end up costing more than the estimates below, depending on their needs. This is definitely something to consider when adopting an animal. Don’t be shy about asking questions! If you can’t afford to care for a pet with special needs, be honest with the people at the shelter. They’d much rather help you give an animal a forever home than have you realize six months or a year down the road that you’re in over your head financially.
The true cost of pet ownership can vary quite a bit, and I’m no stranger to unexpected expenses when it comes to dogs and cats. Our cat Agnes has a chronic lung condition that has cost us far more than the amount below over the years. Jenna, our sweet but very anxious dog, has also cost more than this graphic estimates, because we’ve invested in training and treatments to help bring down her base level of anxiety.
Related Reading: Natural Remedies for Dog Anxiety
Remember: this animal is part of your family! When you’re thinking about adopting, I think it’s important to have a little bit of real talk with yourself about how you’ll handle expensive problems that pop up. It’s hard to stay logical when you’re looking into the face of a sweet dog or cat, but millions of abandoned animals wish that their owners had been more realistic.
Check out the graphic below. Is the average cost of pet ownership more or less than you expected? Do you feel like you spend around this amount on your fur kids?