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Average Cost of Owning a Cat or Dog

Posted by Jennifer on March 30th, 2010

973476_dollarWhen you are getting ready to adopt a pet, one of the responsible steps to take is to figure out what you can afford – and to prepare for the unexpected! Being a good caring pet owner involves many things that don’t affect your wallet, like your time and love, but there are definitely some costs involved! Before you adopt, consider the likely costs that come with caring for different types pets. If you’ve never owned a particular type of pet before, knowing how much your new pet will cost can be complicated. So we put together this article to help you figure out the average cost of owning of different types of cats or dogs to help you out!

Basic Supplies – If you need to buy everything brand new, your “start up” cost will vary depending on the size of your pet… and if you choose to basic items, or are investing in fancy designer duds! For a small dog or cats, figure on $100, for a medium, $200, and for a giant breed dog, $300 and up! Basic pet supplies include:

  • Collar
  • Pet ID Tag
  • Microchip
  • Leash (for dogs)
  • Pet Bed
  • Bowls
  • Toys
  • Food

Average Yearly Cost - This not only depends on the size of your pet (a Chihuahua eats less than a Great Dane), but on the age, health and how well-trained your pet already is before you adopt them. It also depends on where you live, as vet care in cities tends to be more expensive than in rural areas. Puppies and kittens are more expensive because they typically need a series of vet visits for vaccinations, more toys larger collars as they grow, training, and tend to be the ones that chew up your couch cushions! The term “senior” for dogs depends a lot on the size of the breed, as larger breeds (and purebreds) typically develop health problems much sooner than smaller and  mixed breed pets. The dollar ranges below also include food and average annual vet care costs:

  • $300 – Adult indoor-only cat (1 to 10 years old)
  • $400 – Kitten (under 1 year old)
  • $500 – Senior indoor-only cat (10+ years)
  • $600 – Any age cat that goes outdoors
  • $350 – Small adult dog
  • $450 – Medium adult dog
  • $600 – Large adult dog
  • $800 – Small to medium puppy (under 1 year old)
  • $900 – Medium to large puppy (under 1 year old)
  • $1200 and up – Senior dogs, some purebred breeds, special needs pets, dogs who’s coats require monthly professional grooming

Additional and Unexpected Costs – these can change your average yearly costs drastically! It is a very personal decision figuring out how much you would spend on your pet in an emergency – theirs or yours! We explore some options in our prior blog article about preparing for vet costs, but there are other unexpected costs to consider too:

  • emergency vet care
  • long-term illness
  • extensive behavior training
  • boarding or petsitting if you travel
  • destruction of valuable items (shoes, furniture, landscaping)

Remember, being a responsible pet owner means not only budgeting for your monthly costs, but planning for the unexpected. We hope this article helps you to plan for a happy, healthy long life of your newly adopted pet!
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