Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Not only are you responsible for their wellbeing, but you have to take care of your financial wellness at the same time. Before you make a commitment, it’s important to figure out if you can afford a pet.
Sure, you feel ready to own a pet right now—you’re in a good place, you know how to handle responsibility. And you feel like your little family just isn’t complete! But are you ready for the financial burden of a pet?
Even if you have balanced your budget, it’s a good idea to go over the numbers again. Make sure you keep the points below in mind as you do. Owning a pet can put a real dent in your finances, so it’s always important to check to see if you can do things more affordably.
You’ll be a good pet parent, as long as you’ve got the financing!
Before You Adopt
Before you adopt your pet, you need to prepare your home. This step ensures your pet has a safe and comfortable place to come into.
But, as all other things on this list, preparing your home for a pet is going to cost you. After all, you may have to invest in some preventative items to ensure your kitten or puppy doesn’t go around chewing on wires and digging in dirt from underneath your back door.
You’re going to need to invest in quite a few initial supplies. A comfortable pet bed, bathroom supplies (a litter box or doggy bags), pet crates, blankets, toys, collars, and leashes. You’re also going to need some proper pet furniture, like a scratching post, or cat tree, if you’re getting a feline friend. Dogs enjoy soft doggy beds to nap on and bones to chew.
Even when you buy all these items now, you’ll likely need to buy them again later on. Your pet will outgrow the puppy or kitten bed you’ve bought them, or your cat’s scratching post won’t be usable anymore, or that dog bone will fall apart from repeated use.
There are many one-time fees when you adopt a pet. You’ll usually pay them within the first few weeks of owning your new pet, and they definitely need to be given plenty of time and thought!
For example, finding the right veterinarian at the right price is going to take some time. You need to set up a vet appointment soon after you adopt your furry friend because they will need a once over and be up to date with their vaccinations.
Depending on where you live, you may also have to fork out for a pet license. It’s also a good idea to get your pet microchipped, in case they ever get lost or run away. You should also spay or neuter them to make sure you’ll never deal with the pitter-patter of tiny paws. These are both big costs to deal with, especially if you forget to factor them in.
Adopting a pet is going to be one of the biggest upfront costs you have to cope with. Coming up with money like this on the fly is going to be difficult, which is why you should get a firm estimate on what your dog or cat is going to cost to adopt ahead of time. If the person or company won’t tell you quickly and outright, take it as a warning sign.
Budgeting this cost, on top of everything else, can be tricky, as there is more than one one-time fee to deal with here. But once you’re sure you can pay for an adoption fee, feel free to look into places that have lab puppies for sale, for example.
Find the dog or cat you want to give a good home, but make sure their initial price point fits your budget. You may also find a center that allows you to adopt for free!
Of course, owning a pet is going to come with a lot of ongoing costs. These can really kick your finances where it hurts in the long run!
If you own a small puppy now, it might not eat too much at the moment. But you can guarantee it’s going to get a real appetite as it gets bigger and bigger, and that’s going to make buying food a big expense.
Buying food for a dog could cost you upwards of $250 a year, and can even be as expensive as $750, depending on the amount you buy and the brand your dog favors. The bigger your dog, the more calories they’re going to need from their food, which can mean you need to invest in more quality food, or simply buy and serve bigger amounts of it.
You also need to account for pet insurance. Insurance is a big cost no matter what type you get. Not to mention just how often and quickly the premiums can rise on you!
But insurance is a great thing to have for your pet. It’s one of the best ways to pay for vaccinations and annual checkups, as well as things like grooming. Taking out pet insurance should take some time; you need to chase down the right company and coverage and make sure you know who the best providers are.
The Bottom Line: Pets Can Cost a Lot
Don’t let this simple fact discourage you from giving an animal a good home, but face the facts about it too.
Owning a pet is an expensive thing—we all know that! Ensuring that you can afford to look after an animal in the long term is one of the most responsible things you can do.
Make sure you’re not putting any undue pressure on yourself right now, and make sure that any animals you bring into your home will be taken care of.