Can You Afford a Pet?

Did you know that Americans spend an average of $126.19 every month on their furry friends, according to a recent survey?  Yes, owning a pet goes far beyond than just spending for the initial adoption fee and their on food and treats.

Pet ownership requires not just a huge emotional and physical commitment, but financial too.  If you are thinking of getting a pet, a dog or a cat to be specific, you need to know all the expenses to consider.

In general, here’s what you need to prepare for:

Adoption Fee

The fee varies from where you are adopting from and what type of pet you are getting – it can be almost free or very expensive.

In my opinion, the best deal here is to visit your local animal rescue center. There you can get a pet complete with all required immunizations for a reasonable price. Better yet, you will know that your pet really needs you.

Pet Rent & Deposit

Sorry, but if you live in an apartment, your furry friends need to pay their rent too.  First, you need to pay a pet deposit that can run from $100 to $500 and then you have your regular monthly pet rent which varies according to the breed and size of your pet.


Collars, ID tags, leashes, crates, carriers, beds, litter boxes, toys, nail clippers, grooming supplies, food and water bowls… these may seem like small purchases but if you add them up, it can be pricey.

Food and Treats

This category is an ongoing expense that can become bigger as they grow older.  Also, some pets have their own specific dietary needs or restrictions, which means that you might be paying more than the usual.

Do your pet a favor by feeding it the type of diet it really needs. For instance, cats are obligate carnivores who can’t even digest grains at all — a “vegan” diet will make it malnourished quickly.


Aside from their grooming essentials at home (shampoo, comb, nail clippers, toothbrush, etc.), some pets also need an occasional trip to a professional groomer.


Animals are cute and all but they can be messy, and you have to clean up after them if you want a clean and odor-free home, which again incurs some expense. Even an outside pet will need an occasional bath to control pests like fleas and ticks.


If you aren’t planning to do it yourself, you need to prepare a budget for your pup’s training classes.  Private training can cost you more, so opt for group training if you’re on a budget.

Better yet, budget the time you need to properly train your pet yourself. After all, why do you want a pet in the first place?


Dogs require daily exercise so you really need to spend time to take them outside for a walk.  However, not everyone will be able to do that because of work or oth er responsibilities.  That being said, you probably need to consider the costs for a dog-walker or daycare.  Also, if you are a frequent traveler, and have no family or friends to care for your pet, you also need to factor in the cost of pet-sitting services.

Vet Care

An initial visit to the vet is important to ensure that your pet is in good health.  You also need to spend on vaccinations and other important treatments to prevent future health problems, like de-worming for example. If you have adopted a pet from a rescue shelter, most of that initial expense will already be covered in the adoption fee.

Just like humans, animals also get sick from time to time, which means that you also need to prepare for that in case of emergency.  Make sure you set a good amount of money for your pet’s emergency fund, because vet bills can really go high.

Budgeting for a pet is a serious business; that’s why before you jump into this brand new responsibility, make sure you’re financially ready because pet ownership isn’t just all fun and games – it can get expensive.

A final point that I have briefly mentioned above, you need to spend some time with your pet (especially a dog, but cats need attention, too). If your lifestyle is such that you have trouble budgeting time for your pet, please don’t get one.

About Toni Marie

Toni is a regular contributing author on Guest Money Blog. In addition to writing about money topics, she also likes to write about relationships and health.
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