- Dogs are generally more expensive to maintain than cats.
- Many pet owners spend $1,000 or more the first year they bring a pet into the family.
- Pet insurance can help lower your vet bills, but it comes with some costs of its own.
Now that the weather is warming up, many people are considering adding a new furry friend to their household. It’s a big decision, which will affect not only your daily life but also your finances, so it’s important to be prepared. Here are four common expenses that most new pet owners face.
1. Adoption fees
First, you have to pay to get your pet in the first place. Adopting a dog or cat from a shelter is usually less expensive than buying a purebred dog from a breeder. Dog shelter adoption fees can range from $100 to $725, according to Rover, while cat adoption fees can range from $35 to $200. But buying from breeders could easily cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
But there is always a personal preference to weigh in too. If you really want a particular breed of dog or cat, you may prefer to pay the extra cost.
2. Initial veterinary bills
Once you’ve brought your new pet home, you’ll probably want to take it to the vet for a checkup. They may need their vaccines if they haven’t already received them. And you can choose to have them neutered if you don’t want to worry about puppies or kittens.
Costs vary depending on where you live, what you want to do and if you have pet insurance (see below). But it is possible to spend several hundred dollars during these first visits to the vet. If you want to get a clear idea of what you’ll be paying, try contacting veterinarians in your area to find out what they charge for these services.
3. Pet Insurance
Pet insurance coverage is optional, but more and more people are investing in it to help them avoid surprise bills if their pet gets sick or injured. Just like health insurance for humans, pet insurance has deductibles, copayments, and premiums. Premium costs vary by location, breed and age of animal. You usually have a say in your co-pay and deductible.
It’s generally a good idea to compare the rates and coverage options of multiple pet insurers before buying a policy to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Generally, dog owners will pay significantly more than cat owners. But both can expect to spend a few hundred dollars a year, and more if they have to file a pet insurance claim.
Those trying to cut costs might consider an accident-only plan rather than a comprehensive accident and sickness plan. On the other hand, if you want the most comprehensive protection possible for your pet, you can look for a policy that offers optional wellness supplements for things like vaccinations and routine care.
4. Other pet supplies
Unless you already have pets, you’ll need to invest in things like beds, collars, food, food bowls, toys, and treats for your furry friend. It may seem like a lot of little things, but it can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars.
Price these items ahead of time so you know how much you’ll need to spend. And watch sales at pet stores to see if you can get some at a discount. You may also be able to find coupons for pet food and other supplies online.
No matter what you do, you can probably expect to spend at least $1,000 to add a new dog to your household or around $750 for a cat. And many people pay more than that. If you don’t think you can afford all those expenses right now, consider saving up and looking for a new pet this summer when you’re a little more prepared.