One Way to Keep Pets Out of Shelters

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?

Cost of Pet Ownership

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Janet B.
Janet B3 years ago


Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Think twice before adopting an animal

Carole H.
Carole H3 years ago

a sensible idea to set out the costs for prospective carers - except of course our pets once we have them are 'priceless' - thank you

Nikolas K.
Nikolas K3 years ago

stop breeding pets will be a step forward to a better planet and many animals will not be required for use as cat or dog food, It amazes me how vegetarians go on about cruelty to animals and the need to eliminate meat eating yet have a house full of cats and dogs. Me smells something fishy in this double standard of do what i say not what i really do.

Nikolas K.
Nikolas K3 years ago

The only real way to solve these problems is for people to start learning how to unconditionally Love themselves and they will have no need for a pet as they will be enjoying life as we should be. Not sitting around expecting our pet to make up for what we cant do for ourselves and then cry on our pets shoulder when stuff up our lives.

Pattie T.
Pattie T3 years ago

Along with many others I found some of the costs way off. I feed my two cats a raw food diet so with different supplements added, their food cost for a year is more like $400. Our senior cat had a dental this year which set us back over $350. Both of our boys came from shelters and both came with medical issues that had to be treated. We love them dearly, they are family members and we will always put their welfare as top priority for our finances even if we have to go without. Nothing beats the gratification of saving a life, especially a senior animal, giving him the highest quality food and all the love and care you can, and see how they thrive!

Melania Padilla
Melania P3 years ago

So worth it! Thanks :)

Anita B.
Anita B3 years ago

for some of us Money dosn`t matter, but sadly it is been a "way of living" to own a dog, because everbody else got dogs, even ppl which don´t really like pets are buying them, i have seen TO many of these kind of ppl come to our hospital and telling us lies about the dog i biting or Things like that, so they will put it Down, it is cheaper than find new owners.
I get SO mad because most of those ppl should never have had a pet, only a stuffed teddybear.

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.