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Considering the True Cost of Having a Pet

Updated on August 26, 2009

Aside from a four year break, I have been a pet owner my entire life.  Growing up we had a dog, a bird, fish and rabbits.  In college I got a couple of parakeets.  As soon as possible my husband and I got a dog.  This turned out to be a very expensive dog and showed us the true cost of pet ownership.  You certainly aren't just buying a bag of food every now and then.

Once we had our dog, there was an endless stream of expenses including food, treats, routine vet bills and emergency vet bills, grooming, pet sitters and even surgeries.  It really set us back financially when our dog tore the ligaments in her knees and when her thyroid went bad.  Did you know that animals can have very similar problems as humans?  The difference is pet owners usually don't have insurance to cover vet bills for their animals.  It is available, but usually is only worth it if you have a pure bred animal.

Before becoming a pet owner you have to consider all the costs to owning that animal.  Each animal will require different things, but be assured that there will be costs other than just food.  Some animals might require very expensive food, or get extremely bored without new and exciting toys to play with.  Sometimes you end up with more than one animal so that the first pet won't be bored.  Well, you just doubled the cost of pet ownership.  What about bedding?  Some animals need new bedding each day.  Certain types of animals will be more expensive than others, possibly requiring monthly hair cuts or expensive training.  So rather than blindly picking any type of cat, dog or other animal, look into breeds and determine the best breed for your family, including the costs involved. 

I know people that spend $40 or more a day on doggie daycare.  I know people that have to board their pets on a regular basis, resulting in hundreds of dollars in expenses each time.  I know people that have to make weekly runs to the pet store for live rats and mice to feed their snakes.  I know people that spend thousands of dollars on cancer treatment for their animals.  The list could go on and on.

The point of this hub is to get people to realize that pet ownership can be expensive.  Maybe it won't be all the time, but stuff happens to pets, just like they do to people.  After our first dog died, we took a few years off before getting another one because I knew exactly how expensive it could be and knew that we couldn't afford it if anything went wrong.  I think pets are worth the money - if you have it.  I know too many people who struggle to pay their bills each month, yet on a whim come home with a new pet.  Please think before you adopt an animal.  You really don't want that animal to suffer if you can't afford to take care of it and I am sure you don't want to have to give up a pet that you are attached to because you can't afford it. 


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    • profile image

      mike 8 years ago

      good information,help me a lot

    • profile image

      tutteya 8 years ago

      "I know people that spend $40 or more a day on doggie daycare."

      wow i am amazed by this.....honestly i will never do that

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 8 years ago

      I have almost always had at least one dog. The vet bills and food have never really been a concern with me since the reward is so high in return.

      Sometimes finding care for them when I leave for a trip is tough, but luckily traveling with pets is getting easier so this does not happen much.

    • E. A. Wright profile image

      E. A. Wright 8 years ago from New York City

      The cost of having a pet is something I think about often. It's one of the major factors (along with a few logistical issues) that are standing between me and having a dog.

    • jeeznews profile image

      jeeznews 8 years ago

      The cost of pet ownership is critical when buying a horse. I've had four now, three of which were rescues. People ask how much it costs to buy a horse, and I tell them that just like children, it's not how much it costs to get one, but the true cost comes once you have them. Owning a pet is a commitment to another being. The reward is priceless.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Good advice. Here is another tip: get your pet micro chipped. If your dog or cat gets lost (or is stolen) this can help you get your pet back.

    • artrush73 profile image

      artrush73 8 years ago

      you have really good points there. Great hub :)

    • asalvani profile image

      asalvani 8 years ago from London, UK

      It is so sweet from you to share these feelings, l have a dog and the expenses for it are pretty high. But I hope this will help those who manage to abandon their pets during holidays, which is the worse thing that the humans can do. I think you posted this article with the right timing! God, save the pets.