Skip to main content

Understanding the costs of owning a pet

What we'll cover

  • How much it costs to own a pet

  • Hidden costs that come with owning a pet

  • Considering your budget

It’s no secret that pets can bring happiness and joy to our lives. h=However, it’s important to understand the commitment they require physically, emotionally and financially.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average annual cost of owning a pet can range from $1,000 to $1,400 (depending on the size of your new addition), but that doesn’t tell the full story. The first year can be much more expensive, sometimes exceeding $3,000 if you are getting a brand-new puppy, kitten or a pet with special needs.

How much you actually end up spending depends on the type and breed of your pet, as well as your location, but here are some average costs and things to consider:

Infographic of average annual pet costs highlighted in the article
  • Food – this is one area that will have the biggest sway in cost depending on the size of your pet. While a small dog may only need $300 in food per year, a large breed could have you spending that same amount in one week.

  • Medical – preventative and routine medical costs will average around $200 a year, each. Vaccines, check-ups, etc. would fall under “routine” medical costs; heartworm medicine and flea/tick treatments are considered preventative.

  • Insurance – getting pet insurance isn’t required but when you consider the potential cost of an emergency vet visit (because your cute new puppy decided to eat the area rug), $400 a year for insurance doesn’t sound like a bad decision. Many of these plans also cover, or contribute to, wellness visits.

  • Boarding – if you don’t work from home, or travel a lot, boarding or having a regular pet sitter/walker is necessary. Average boarding costs are $25/day.

  • Grooming – while some breeds just need the basics (shampoo, brushes, clippers), others will require regular professional grooming, which can have a price tag of around $300 a year.

There are also some one-time or more infrequent expenses to plan for:

  • Training classes – $100 – $400

  • Carrier/crate – $40 – $100

  • Leash and collar – $10 – $50

  • Spay/neuter – $150 – $300

  • Toys – $20 – $40

  • Microchipping – $20 – $30

Remember that these are just average costs. Specific expenses will vary, but it is beneficial to consider your budget if you're thinking about inviting an animal into your family – and vital to making sure the new addition will bring happiness rather than financial stress.

Explore more

Save Budget Spend

Read next

Money solutions and strategies sent straight to your inbox.

Tips and tools to help you build your best financial future.

Let's Connect