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How Much Do Pets Cost?

How Much Do Pets Cost?

Pets can bring never-ending joy into our homes and the lives of us and our families. They’re our best friends and are the most loyal beings we know. But, with great friendship and love comes a price tag; how much do pets cost? Every pet we own, no matter what kind, has to be fed, watered, sheltered and generally cared for. It’s so important to look at the long run expenses when deciding what kind of animal you want to bring into your home. Luckily for you, the expenses have been broken down so you know what to expect in the first year of ownership and in the long run.


Dogs are of course man’s best friend, so it’s appropriate to cover their expenses first. The initial expenses for buying/adopting a dog vary widely, so be sure to include this price with the expenses you can expect to pay. First year expenses include food, medical, grooming, toys, treats, licenses, leashes and collars, bedding, dog house, crate, etc. (add health insurance if you plan to get coverage for your pup) and most of these you can expect to have to pay for every year. According to the ASPCA, expenses obviously alter based on the size of dog you want. For small dogs, expect to pay about $1,314 in the first year for all of the items listed earlier. For a medium sized dog, expect to pay $1,580 and for a large dog, $1,843.

American and English Foxhounds, American Cocker Spaniels and Schnauzers are the most frugal dog breeds to own based on their size, hardiness and overall health. Adopting a mixed breed from shelters is another great way to go; not only are you saving a life, but mixed breeds are generally healthier and live longer due to the lack of genetic disease which can sometimes happen from breeding.


If you want a pet who is more independent, and doesn’t have to be played with every day, a cat is definitely the way to go. Just as with dogs, the buying/adopting price varies, so be sure to include it when figuring out what you can expect to pay in the first year. First year expenses include food, medical, toys, licenses, litter box and litter, crate, grooming, etc. (again, add health insurance expenses if you want coverage for your cat) and most of these expenses can be expected year after year. First year expenses for owning a cat amount to about $1,035.

It’s difficult to say exactly what breeds of cat are the most frugal to own, but it’s safe to say any cat from a shelter or adoption center would be much more frugal. A mixed cat is healthier than a bred cat for the same reasons as mixed dogs.

Other Pets:

It goes without saying you can own a pet that isn’t the standard dog or cat. From rodents to reptiles (and even pigs), you can definitely find something to fit your personality and lifestyle. In the first year of ownership you can expect to pay $340 for a small mammal like a ferret, mouse, gerbil or guinea pig. Expect to pay $270 for a small bird, $1,055 for a rabbit, $235 for a fish and $705 for a guinea pig (again these prices don’t include the initial cost of the pet).

Foster and Adopt

When you foster a pet, you are giving the animal a lovely home and life until it finds it’s forever home. Fostering for local shelters allows for more room at the shelters, thus more animal’s lives get saved. When you foster an animal, the expenses are almost always paid for by the shelter you work with. Fostering is a very frugal option for someone who wants to love an animal, but doesn’t have the money to provide medical, food, toys etc.  If you fall head over heels for a pet you’re fostering, then you simply adopt them!

Do your Research

If you’re looking for a pet, it’s so important to do research on what you’re considering having as a pet; know what you can expect to pay for the first year of ownership and what to pay for the years to come. It’s also critical to keep in mind that certain kinds of animals have health conditions which can be avoided. For example, albino ferrets are prone to cancer and large dogs are prone to hip dysplasia and stomach torsion. Before picking your type of pet, consider what they could cost you based on the specie’s history and if you can provide a perfect environment for what they need.


Owning a pet can get expensive, but it definitely has its plusses. Adding a furry friend to your household brings so much love and happiness to your life. Know the expenses, do the research and consider rescuing!

Have any other pet costs we may have forgotten? Let us know!

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