How Much Does It Cost to Become a Pet Owner?
Though the idea of being a pet parent appeals to a lot of people, pet ownership is a major life decision that’s often likened to raising a child. Beyond the one-time cost of buying or adopting their new pet, a pet parent will have to foot various weekly, monthly, and yearly expenses as well as emergencies they can’t always anticipate.
The true cost of owning a pet depends on factors like the type of animal that one decides to keep, the pet’s breed and physical condition, the cost of living in the area, and the owner’s lifestyle, among others. All the same, any pet owner should expect to dedicate a significant portion of their finances to their pet’s care. Like any lifelong investment, preparation is key.
If you’re thinking about becoming a pet owner, how much should you set aside for essential items like food, pet beds, and training equipment as well as speciality items like dog toys and a dog toy basket? Here’s a brief overview of pet ownership costs in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, plus a list of expenditures that you’ll have to address once you become a pet parent.
Is Owning a Pet Expensive?
With regard to the question above, the short answer is yes. Most pet parents are likely to spend at least a few thousand dollars or over one thousand pounds every year per pet they own.
Take the expenses that typically come with owning a dog, which is the most popular type of pet in the USA. The American Kennel Club estimates annual costs for owning a dog to be around USD 2,500 while The Spruce pegs that amount to be between USD 1,500 and upwards of USD 9,000. According to the pet sitting and dog walking network Rover, dog owners typically spend between USD 40 and USD 300 per month on each individual dog.
In the UK, data and statistics website Statista reveal that owning a dog costs an estimated £1,875 per year as of January 2022. Out of this amount, they state the cost of boarding a dog for two weeks is estimated to be £450 per year, which can be the biggest expense when it comes to owning a pup. Rover for the UK says the average canine parent spends between £20-£145 per month on their dog. So quite a varying sum. And over one year, a dog's expenses can cost anywhere between £230-£1,740.
Regardless of whose figures you think are the most accurate and most reflective of your situation, one thing’s for certain: it won’t be cheap to take care of a pet and to ensure that it lives a happy and healthy life in your household. You will definitely need to take that into consideration before you say yes to owning a four-legged animal like a dog or a cat.
What Do You Need to Spend on for Your Pet’s Health and Wellbeing?
To give you a better idea of how much you’ll need to spend every week, month, or year for your pet, here’s a breakdown of the most common pet expenditures:
Your pet’s nourishment is one expenditure that you’ll have to take care of regularly. A significant part of your budget as a pet owner will go to meals, drinking water, and other edible items like pet treats. To make the most out of the money you’ll spend, you’ll need to do research on how many meals your pet should eat in a day and what type of food is best for their breed and developmental stage. Costs can vary as you may choose to buy the cheapest pet food from the store, or you may decide a healthier and organic pet food subscription is worth the cost.
Shelter and Essential Supplies
Next on your to-buy list are shelter and lodging items like beds, kennels, and blankets as well as essential supplies like poop bags. Some of these items need to be bought only once or twice, but others—like disposable items—need to be replenished on a weekly basis.
Health is one of the most important expenditures that you’ll need to take care of as a pet parent. These include the following:
Regular physical examinations, as well as follow-ups
Prevention for parasites like ticks, fleas, and worms
Spaying and neutering
Daily vitamins and supplements
Medications for outstanding health conditions
Emergency visits, like in the case of a severe illness or injury
You’ll also need to spend on items that are necessary for your pet’s training, like collars, leashes, and harnesses. It would be good to look into the costs of other items you may use for training, like clickers.
For pets like cats and dogs, grooming services are not just for vanity. They’re essential in keeping a pet healthy by ensuring that the animal doesn’t get warm or cold too easily and that they don’t develop infections in body parts like their paws. Knowing that, however, you’ll need to allot a part of your budget to grooming needs like pet-safe shampoo and soap and visits to your local groomer.
Toys, Clothing, and Accessories
Many pets also need regular exercise and mental stimulation to live happy lives. That means that a pet owner should also expect to spend on toys, decorative and protective clothing, accessories, and other items that will serve these purposes.
Lastly, a pet owner will also need to take care of a number of miscellaneous expenses like adoption fees, pet licenses, daycare, and pet insurance, to name a few. Pet parents should always be ready to apportion part of their funds towards these.
Conclusion: Is It Worth It to Be a Pet Parent?
All things considered, if you are mentally, emotionally, and financially ready to own a pet, it may be one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make in your lifetime. There are few substitutes for the love and affection a pet can give, which is why many owners are willing to make the sacrifice.
The important thing is to set expectations for owning a particular kind of pet and to make all the necessary adjustments in your lifestyle to accommodate them. There are lots of things to consider when adding a pet to your family. It will be a huge responsibility, but one that you’ll be grateful to observe for a chance to live a wonderful life with your pet.