How Much Do Pets Cost You?

by Miranda Marquit · 5 comments

I’m not a pet person. I like animals fine and don’t mind others’ pets, but I don’t want my own. The closest we’ve come to owning a pet was having fishes a few years ago, but I’ve never had the desire for furry friends.

Pets can be expensive if you care for them properly. On top of that, you also have to consider the time commitment and the care required by pets. While I’m not even overly thrilled about fishes, their relatively low cost (if you choose freshwater fish in a small tank) and low maintenance make them the most attractive pets for me.

Others prefer different pets, however. Cats, dogs, and birds are popular choices. Before you get a pet, it’s important to understand the costs, and be sure that you are prepared to pay those costs.

Monetary Cost of Pet Ownership

According to, there are a number of hidden pet costs that might take you beyond what you initial pay to get a dog. Here are some of the costs you could pay when you own a dog:

  • Pet insurance: about $35 per month
  • Teeth cleaning: around $400
  • Emergency vet bills: up to $3,000

That’s just for dogs. Cats can also cost money, and you might need other services for different types of pets. Another consideration is how much an apartment complex might charge for pets. Pet-friendly housing might charge anywhere from $25 to $50 per month as a fee.

You might also need to pay for specialty products and services for your pet. Certain reptiles might require extra care and medicines to keep them healthy. Even fish might require specialty items. When I was a child, our family goldfish (a fish we had for eight or nine years) ended up with a disease. Rather than flush the fish, my parents got medicine from the vet to help “Fishy” recover. I know people willing to pay thousands of dollars to help their pets fight cancer and other terminal diseases.

Understanding how much you are willing pay is an important consideration before you make the commitment.

Time and Care Investment

Don’t forget about the time and care involved in properly caring for a pet. You need to figure out what to do with your pet when you leave town. Do you pay for pet boarding? Do you pay someone to come check on your pet and care for it? Or can you bring your pet with you?

You also need to make sure you give some pets attention and care to your companion. This is especially important if you have a pet, like a dog, that prefers attention and love from you. This time investment might include play time on top of walking pets or doing other things required for your pets to be healthy.

If you don’t have the time to spend, you might need to make the trade off by using day camp or hiring professional walkers.

No matter your pet, chances are that you will need to spend time and money on your pet. These are serious costs, and should be carefully weighed before moving forward. I know that pets aren’t for me, and I wouldn’t take one on because I understand that. What about you? Do you keep pets? How much do they cost you?

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  • Abby says:

    We’re already saving and trying to budget for a child. I can’t imagine throwing a pet in there as well! I had a co-worker that used about $10,000 of her retirement money to keep her dog alive which caused her to push back her retirement plans. The dog had some type of oral cancer that kept coming back. She LOVED that dog, but she eventually had to put it down.

  • Jon @ Penny Thots says:

    A lot haha!!

    I had pets growing up but never since I was on my own. When I married my wife, she had 2 cats. When we set up a budget, I was blown away at the cost per month for food, litter, vets, etc. The kicker was we forget to include the cost to board them when we travel into the budget that first year.

  • Mohit says:

    Pets are our big responsibility, Yes it cost us more than we expect but I think what matters more is how we can care them. Because everybody can buy pet but there are few who care them.

  • Ben says:

    Pets can be very expensive, but totally worth it! In my opinion, the mental health benefits of pet ownership outweigh the financial costs.

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