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The Costs of Being a Pet Parent

Pets become a part of our family, our soul mates and our best friends that bring so much joy to our lives. However, our four-legged best friends can come with a lifetime of financial obligations. Many of these are sneaky expenses and unexpected emergencies — and your finances end up taking a huge hit.

Before you bring home your new pet, make sure you can give the proper care it needs. Love is free and easy, but love won’t pay for their good health and wellbeing! Check out the snapshot below for a glance at estimated financial responsibilities for becoming a pet parent, along with financial tips for pet ownership.


Shelter Adoption: $50 (mixed breeds) $500 (purebreds)

AZ License: $22 – $55

Vaccinations: $75 – $90/treatments total

Flea Pill: $150/year

Heartworm Control: $180/year

Vitamins: $100/year

Ear/Dental Care: $40/month

Spaying/Neutering: $200

Grooming: $30 – $90/treatment

Food: $120/year

Private Training: $30 – $100/60-minute session

Dog Sitting: $22/30-minute walk

Boarding: $25 – $45/night

Total One-Time Costs: $260 – $1,780

Total Annual Costs: $380 – $1,170


Adoption: $50 – $150

Vaccinations: $50 – $100/treatments total

Flea/Tick Medication: $30 – $60/month

Heartworm Prevention: $20/month

Vitamins: $31/year

Ear/Dental Care: $300

Neutering: $45, Spaying: $75

Nail Trim/Bath/Ear Cleaning: $45 – $65

Food: $188/year

Litter/Supplies: $72 – $240/year

Total One-Time Costs: $370 – $1,440

Total Annual Costs: $430 – $870






First, review these costs to make the decision on whether you can provide your pet with the care and happiness it deserves. Keep in mind, larger dogs tend to cost more than smaller dogs, certain breeds are more costly than others and dogs typically require more expenses than cats. Felines are more self-sufficient and usually don’t need as much attention. Here are some additional costs to consider as well:

  • Regular vet checkups
  • Equipment (food/water bowls, crate, bed, leash, toys, gates, outdoor fence, scratching tower, carrier, bed, etc.)
  • Treats
  • Breed-specific or special needs
  • Microchip
  • Travel costs for when your pet joins you on adventures (pet airfare, hotel pet fee, etc.)
  • Apartment pet fees
  • Repairs for home damages and professional cleaning services

Can you cover the expenses without going into debt? Do you have financial security so that you won’t be forced to rehome your pet down the road? These are questions to ask before you can commit to providing a forever home.

Pet Ownership Money Tips:

  • Adopt or rescue, over purchasing a pet from a breeder or store. Shelters often take care of expenses upfront like medical needs, vaccinations and treatments for maladies.
  • Set up an emergency fund (at least once, owners will most likely have to pay for emergency care for an illness or injury that’ll cost $2,000 – $4,000).
  • Consider getting pet insurance.
  • Don’t put off routine health care. Like car maintenance, you’ll end up paying more in the long run when health issues develop and worsen. Prevention typically costs less than treatment and costly emergencies. For example, by skipping routine dental care, plaque and tartar can build up on your pet’s teeth over time. Treating gum disease could cost upwards of $1,000!
  • Budget for your pet’s monthly expenses. Can you make the necessary sacrifices?
  • Talk to other pet parents to learn about their pet ownership experiences. Have they been able to invest the time and money without too much distress? Would they have done anything differently? What financial advice could they offer?

Having a pet enhances our lives tremendously, from providing companionship to keeping us active. It’s only fair though that we have the resources to give them a good life in return, so make sure to estimate what pet ownership will financially require from you!

The material presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.