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20 financial factors to consider before adopting a pet

by Daphne MacDonald

Pet ownership is a long-term commitment. You have to invest time and money into keeping your pet healthy and happy. While the costs of caring for other animals also add up, dogs and cats tend to live longer, costing more over time. People often underestimate true the cost of pet ownership. Be sure to consider these financial factors before adopting a furry friend.

First-time pet costs — Spaying and neutering costs

When you adopt a young cat or dog, you will likely be responsible for spaying or neutering your new pet. The costs of these procedures vary by animal type, size, gender, and vet clinic. For cats, the cost ranges from $50 to $100 for males and $100 to $200 for females. And for dogs, it costs about $200.

Veterinary expenses — Medical exam expenses

To keep your pet healthy, you should bring your pet to a veterinarian for annual exams. Also opt for vaccinations and parasite medications. The prices will vary, depending on the vet clinic and procedures, but you should expect to pay between $70 and $235 per exam for your dog and about $130 for your cat.

Pet care expenses — Litter box costs

Cats instinctively use the litter box, which is convenient for people who don’t want to let their cat go outside. But the price you pay for this convenience comes in the form of buying cat litter on a regular basis. Litter boxes cost around $25. But the cost of cat litter can add up to about $200 a year.

Pet accessory costs — Buying collars and leashes

You probably don’t need a leash for your cat. But both cats and dogs should have collars with their ID and registration tags. A collar will secure a leash on your dog and the ID will help lost pets make it home. This cost of $10 to $30, depending on the animal, will be worth it to keep your pet safe.

Pet nutrition expenses — The high cost of quality pet food

Just like humans, a pet’s diet can affect their long-term health, so it’s worth investing in high-quality pet food for your furry friend. A healthy diet could cut vet expenses later on by preventing diet-related illnesses. The average annual prices for pet food are $239 for dogs and $203 for cats. But expect to pay more for quality food.

Financial considerations for pets — Fees for obedience classes

Young dogs benefit from obedience classes or puppy school. These classes usually run for one hour a week for four to eight weeks and cost around $40 to $125 per week. Without proper training, your dog could develop behavioral problems. These problems could cost even more if you need to hire a private dog trainer or animal behaviorist.

Dog care expenses — Paying for dog walkers and daycare

Dogs need plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Without regular exercise and play, dogs can develop destructive behavioral problems. If you can’t take your dog for long, play-filled walks each day, you should invest in a dog walker or doggy daycare. Dog walkers charge around $22 to $30 an hour, and daycare costs between $2,880 and $6,600 per year.

Financial costs for pet accessories — The cost of scratching posts

Investing in a quality cat scratching post is worth it for a chance to save your furniture. A typical scratching post will cost about $30. But if you want a tall, sturdy scratching post that will keep your cat entertained, it could cost up to $200.

Paying for pet care — Boarding and pet sitting fees

If you have to go out of town, you might need to find a boarder or a pet sitter if you can’t find anyone else to care for your pet. Kennels cost between $15 and $55 a day, and pet sitters charge anywhere from $10 to $65 per day.

Vet fees — Emergency vet care fees

Emergency vet bills are a pet owner’s worst nightmare. You may face the tough decision of paying thousands of dollars to save your furry friend one day. Pet owners will likely have to pay at least one emergency pet care bill of $2,000 to $4,000 during their pet’s lifetime, so prepare yourself and build up an emergency fund.

Medical financial considerations — Pet medication costs

If your pet develops a health condition, expect to pay high monthly costs for medication. Pets can develop hereditary illnesses that are costly to care for. But these costs are worth it to keep your pet comfortable and healthy.

The financial cost of living with pets — Paying higher rent for pets

Some landlords request a monthly fee or a one-time deposit for renters with pets to cover pet damages. The amount of this “pet rent” is up to the landlord and will vary depending on the animal type, size, and breed. It could be $35 per month or a $200 deposit when you sign your lease.

Financial factors for traveling with pets — Paying extra for pet travel expenses

Most airlines allow small pets to ride with their owners on a flight for a fee. The pet must be in a crate that meets airline specifications. And this crate must fit under the seat in front of you. Larger breeds must travel in the cargo hold. The fees for air travel with pets vary, but are usually around $200.

Financial considerations for pet ownership — Pet insurance costs

Pet insurance can save you from paying large vet bills. But the cost of pet insurance is around $225 a year for a dog and $175 a year for a cat. If you opt for insurance, be sure to read the policy thoroughly so you know exactly what type of coverage you have.

The financial costs of pet care — Grooming costs

While you’ll have to trim your cat’s nails regularly, they’re pretty good at keeping themselves well groomed. But dogs need regular grooming, especially if they are a long-haired or curly-haired breed. Grooming costs will vary by groomer, but expect to pay $200 to $400, depending on the dog’s size. And don’t forget to trim their nails.

Financial aspects of pet ownership — The cost of carriers and crates

The cost of carriers and crates will vary by pet size and material. Expect to pay around $95 for a dog crate and $60 for a carrier. Cat carriers are around $40. Also consider buying a comfy bed for your pet to sleep on.

High financial costs of pet care — Pet dental care expenses

Genetics and certain foods can lead to poor oral health in cats and dogs. You can try to brush your pet’s teeth. But you might need to seek dental care for your pet at some point, especially as they get older. Depending on your pet’s oral health, you might pay up to $500 for pet dental care.

Buying pet accessories — Buying toys and treats

Pet toys are a fun way to keep your pet’s mind and body stimulated. And you should reward your pet for good behavior with treats. Cat toys and treats typically cost about $25 per year. Dog toys and treats range from $40 to $75 per year, depending on the size of the dog.

Financial responsibility for pet owners — Paying annual license fees

Most states legally require dog owners to register their dogs. This license fee ranges from $10 to $20 per year, depending on the local licensing department. This small fee is worth it to avoid a penalty and help increase the chances of finding your lost dog. The license tag also shows that your dog has had its rabies vaccinations.

Financial factors for adopting pets — Adoption costs

Adoption costs vary by animal breed and place of adoption. A reputable breeder will charge much more than an animal shelter. The average price of adoption is $500 for dogs and $200 for cats. Animal shelters might microchip animals and provide medical care, such as heartworm medication. Some even spay and neuter animals before putting them up for adoption.

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