Budgeting For Pets

by Brandi Savitt – updated March 31, 2014

The Cost of Caring for Your Animals

Thinking about getting a pet?  Or maybe you already have a furry or feathery friend who you love to spoil?  Having pets can be a wonderful experience for both adults and kids, but too often people only consider the amount of time it takes to care for a particular animal, without considering the costs.  I was shocked to learn that in a healthy year, I spend about $1,200 on food, supplies, the vet, and kitty sitting for my cats, Tide & Angelo!  So, before you go out and spontaneously purchase that purebred you’ve always wanted, make sure you can afford it!

Purchase Price & Adoption Fees

There are an OVERWHELMING number of choices out there when it comes to choosing a pet, and you should really do some serious research and cost consideration before deciding on the type of pet that is right for you.  Depending on the rarity of the breed of dog, cat, bird, fish or reptile, the initial cost of bringing your pet home can range from the cost of a $5 goldfish to thousands of dollars.

Adoption fees for cats & dogs usually range from $75- $200.  This typically includes spaying, neutering, de-worming, and often a microchip for dogs.  Small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs are much less to adopt, but don’t count them out for budgeting!

The Initial $upply List

Don’t forget about the initial shopping list for supplies!  A caged animal can cost as much as $20 a month to care for, and cages themselves can ranges from $30 to several hundred dollars depending on the type of animal and cage you purchase.  According to Prevue Pet Products (the oldest bird cage manufacturer in the country), bird cages can range from $30 all the way up to $5,000 (and I would love to meet that posh parakeet)!

Depending on your animal’s needs, you may be surprised just how much it costs to set your new friend up with all the necessities.  Between the costs of food, bed, cage, leash, toys, bowls, aquarium – the average first shopping list to bring home a new pet is about $300!


Cats and dogs cost around $2.50 each a day to feed and even more if you feed them premium food.   The major pet stores have rewards cards and it’s good to sign up for them because you often get coupons or deals.  When a bag is on sale, stock up!  Bulk stores like Costco will often carry your brand of pet food for less.   If you have a dog who loves to chew you have to factor in bones and rawhide and that’s where things get really expensive.  Bones cost $3-$5 each and will only last a couple of days.  Guinea pigs are less expensive to feed but they like raw vegetables so you have to keep those on hand, and snakes and reptiles can be some of the most expensive to feed because they need live bait (luckily, they don’t eat everyday).

Continued on page 2…

| Print

Pages: 1 2

5 Responses to “Budgeting For Pets”

  1. Claudia says:

    Very helpful! Pets are so important to us all, but you are right, when we decide to get them we rarely think about the expense of their care. The pleasure my birds bring me is so worth it, but you must know you are able to afford your pet before you bring them home and fall in love. By the way, I LOVE the Prevue Hendryx cages I have my birds in!!! Great product!!!

  2. Candice says:

    I am a student and have two dogs. Both are rescues, and weren’t really planned. I have to work two jobs while going to school full time. My first dog wasn’t that expensive until she was attacked by a swarm of bees and had to have emergency services to save her life ( a couple thousand dollars)…My second dog, a pit bull, has had so many health problems I did anticipate., he got lyme disease, tore ligaments in his leg, got mange, and had a procedure to remove an infection within 7 months of having him. This left me in debt to my parents thousands of dollars which I have almost paid off. This is just emergency costs, food ( my pit is on a special food diet because of intestinal issues), buying new couches when the dog chews them up, training classes, neutering, dog license, dog park license, toys, dog beds, crates… it adds up!. please consider all the possible costs when getting a dog… I can’t go out drinking with my friends on the weekends, I haven’t gone shopping in months, and rarely go out to eat… my dogs are my life and such an amazing part of it!. but it does come with a cost!

  3. [...] survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 72% of all Americans are spending serious cash on feeding their furry friends – and that stat just accounts for dogs and [...]

  4. [...] the animal’s life – again.  So, before adopting a pet, do the math!  Create a pet budget and make sure you have the monthly funds to care for your new addition! Share [...]

  5. louie says:

    A Pet is a family member. Just like a child, they take plenty of care, attention, training and wellness. Be prepared to spend what it takes to take care of your “best friend”. It’s worth it. Don’t be fooled into thinking the most expensive foods are the best. Read the labels, just like you would for yourself. Even toys can be simple and inexpensive, although necessary to keep your pet interested, active and alert. All you need is plenty of love, attention, excercise and judicious spending to keep your Pal happy and healthy. Don’t forget, preventive veterinarian visits twice a year is recommended and might save you big bucks in the long run. Last but not least, make your purchases from reputable manufacturers like Prevue/Hendryx, who stand by and care about their products and families they service.

Any Thoughts?