The Cost of Pet Ownership

Statistics show that up to half of all pets in animal shelters are owner-surrenders, and one of the most common reasons given by pet owners for relinquishing their pet is the cost of pet maintenance. The initial cost to adopt a new cat or dog is usually relatively low, making it easy to succumb to an impulse decision to bring home a new pet. Before adopting a pet, the prospective pet owner must be prepared to provide pet care for the life of the pet.  Perhaps having a better knowledge of the costs associated with pet ownership before a pet is adopted will help reduce the number of pets surrendered to a shelter because the cost of pet ownership was higher than expected.

According to the ASPCA, the estimated cost of owning a dog for the first year ranges from approximately $1,314 for a small dog, and up to $1,843 for a large dog, and $1,035 for a cat.  The first-year expense includes the initial investment for pet supplies needed for the new pet such as a collar, litter box, carrier and initial medical expenses including the cost to spay or neuter the new pet. The annual cost of pet ownership for subsequent years ranges from $580 per year for a small dog to $875 annually for a large dog, and $670 for a cat.  This estimated annual expense includes basics such as pet food, toys and treats, regular medical care, pet licensing fees and health insurance.

These estimated costs are just for your pet’s basic needs. Actual expenses may vary greatly depending upon your geographical location, and certainly a pet’s unexpected illness or accident can easily add to that cost. Being a responsible pet owner means making sure you can afford the monetary and time commitment before bringing home a new pet.

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