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!
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).
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