Pet Debt: The Hidden Costs of Pet Ownership

It’s no surprise why people get so attached to their pets. They’re cute and hilarious, hence why pet videos are so popular on YouTube. They’re perfect for providing companionship. They basically become your children, only better, because they’re a different species.

What many people don’t consider before they decide to adopt that new companion is the true price tag of their pet. The reality is that one pet could cost you more than $10,000 over the course of its lifespan, and much of that will come from hidden costs you may not have thought about.

Whether you’re considering getting a pet or you already have one, it’s important to be aware of all the potential costs that could come your way.

What it really costs to own a pet

These pet costs will focus on cats and dogs, since those are undoubtedly the most popular animals people keep as pets. If you have a bird, lizard, rabbit, or other type of pet, your costs will vary.

How much does a cat cost? — According to PetFinder, cat costs typically range from:

  • $405 to $2,285 for the first year
  • $340 to $1,825 for every year thereafter

That’s for all the basic costs of owning a cat, including food, vet visits, vaccinations, toys, a litter box and litter, a scratching post, and a bed. First-year costs are higher since several of those expenses are purchases you won’t need to make every year.

How much does a dog cost? — Dogs are similar to cats in terms of costs, with PetFinder reporting the standard range as:

  • $395 to $2,455 for the first year
  • $326 to $1,967 for every year thereafter

Again, that covers basic costs, including food, vet visits, vaccinations, toys, a collar and leash, a bed or crate, and preventative medications.

Now, the lower ends of these estimates are essentially the bare minimums for keeping your pet reasonably happy and healthy. You may find that you spend more on pet toys and higher-quality foods. After all, you want your loved one to stay healthy for as long as possible. These estimates also don’t include some pesky hidden costs.

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