Pets Aren’t Free

Article by Debbie Foster

There is a financial cost to owning a pet. For those who have owned pets previously, the financial impact of adding another pet isn’t anything new. However, if you’re a first time pet owner, or have only owned low maintenance pets, you may be in for a shock.

Of course, you can’t put a price on the unconditional love and loyalty you get from owning a pet. Those who have owned pets know this. One look at those longing eyes and you’re hooked. It doesn’t seem to matter about the cost of cat carriers, dog crates, pet beds, food, medicine or vet visits, you’re all in.

In today’s economic times, it really is important to know the financial impact of having a pet so that you’re sure you can handle it. Too many pets have been left at shelters because their owners could no longer financially keep them.

So what does it cost? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) provides cost estimates on pet ownership. These costs are based on expected costs of pet ownership and do not include any unexpected costs, which should also be factored in. Expected costs include standard items like food, normal medical care, toys, pet beds, collars, leashes, dog crates, cat/dog carriers, and other miscellaneous supplies. Many of these items, such as dog crates and carriers, are one time expenses typically purchased during the pet’s first year, so the financial impact will be more that year than normal. As your pet matures costs typically increase, so plan to spend a bit more during their senior years.

So what does the ASPCA have to say? Here are their guidelines:

Small Dogs: Little dogs cost less for food, but expect to spend ,314 a year for a 5 to 20 pound dog.

Medium Dogs: Pounds increase from 20 to 45 and spending increases to ,580 per year.

Large Dogs: 45 or more pounds cost ,843 annually.

Cats: Costs are less than with dogs. Typical cost per year is ,035.

Guinea Pigs: These little guys actually use more litter than cats and annual costs are about 5.

Rabbits: Approximately ,055 the first year.

Gerbils/Hamsters: About 0 per year.

Small Birds: One of the least expensive pets. Around 0 the first year.

Fish: Although their needs are different, costs run about 0 annually.

So if you’re considering becoming a first time pet owner, you now have some figures to make an informed decision. Please don’t buy a pet if you can’t make the financial commitment for the long haul. If money is low, use your money on the essentials like food and veterinary visits rather than extras. Spend time daily giving love and attention to your pet. That goes a long way by itself, and it doesn’t cost a penny.

About the Author

An animal advocate, Debbie Foster owns where you’ll find a wide selection of quality pet beds, dog crates, dog carriers, dog pens, cat beds, cat carriers, large dog beds, pet strollers and more.

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