There are many benefits from having a pet that outweigh any of the expenses. The companionship, the unconditional love and the joy of caring for another creature are all reasons to have a pet.
Yet, if you can’t really afford one, then those benefits are difficult to enjoy. Before you buy a pet, especially a dog, then it pays to take some time to understand the financial burden a pet places on you.
If you are in debt already then having a pet may not be a good idea at all. And staying out of debt with pets can be a challenge.
Here are some expenses to be aware of ahead of time.
You may be thinking of buying or adopting. Either way, there are upfront expenses to deal with.
If you are looking at dogs for instance, then the cost of a purebred can run into the thousands of dollars. If you plan to adopt from a shelter, be prepared to make a donation in relation to the type of dog you are taking from them, plus a donation of food and other material things they are usually lacking.
Even adopting can run into the hundreds of dollars before you’ve even brought the animal home.
Then you’ll need to pay for things they need at home like leashes, beds, litter boxes, carrying crates etc. This usually equals around $100 to $200.
You’ll also need to take your pet to the vet for an initial check up and to possibly be spayed or neutered. This is another few hundred dollars.
Obviously, your pet will need to eat. Now, if you are talking about a hamster then the cost of food is minimal. If you have a Great Dane, then have your wallet ready.
Other ongoing expenses to consider are annual vet visits, pet insurance, litter for cats, chew toys and stays at a kennel when you are away.
Plan on needing around $1,200 per year for a dog and $1,000 per year for a cat.
And those numbers do not reflect any emergencies like vet visits if your pet gets sick. Also, if you have to pay a dog walker to come and take your dog out for a walk. You can pay as much as $150 per week depending on your needs.
How to prepare
Before you get that pet, make sure you are setting money aside. Use some money budgeting apps and see where you can cut out some of your expenses that can be swapped for your pet instead. Always have $2,000 on hand in cash or credit available for any emergencies.
And whatever amount you think you need, add about 30% more. Always shop around for good prices and buy in bulk when you can to save money on things like food and litter.