Warning: Owning Pets Costs Money

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Owning Pets can cost you quite a bit of money, in fact even if you go by the ASPCA.org pet care costs and assume all averages, you are probably low balling the cost estimates for owning a pet.

According to this ASPCA calculator, the first year of owning a small dog breed will cost you $1,314 dollars which includes the one time adoption fee, neuter or spay, training, initial medical, treats, food, and first year coverage of all of those items. A large breed of dog has an estimated cost of just over $1800 dollars, but these assume that you are spending only $55 per year in food for a small dog and $235 per year on a large dog.

I know I have two Boston Terriers but due to their dietary needs, we have them on high omega 3 salmon dog food that is $50 a bag, which we go through about 1 bag per month for two dogs, so we are looking at over $600 just for food annually. Take the fact that my eldest dog who is over 8 years old, which is old for a Boston Terrier with a life expectancy of 10 years who has suffered a spinal stroke, urinary tract infection and pneumonia all in the last year which has cost over $500 in medical bills.

It is no suprise that if you factor your dog living for lets say 8 years on average, and estimate the $1,500 per year, you are looking at spending $12,000 caring for a small family dog over the average lifespan of the pet, with costs increasing as the dog gets older and more frail.

Many people do not consider this when choosing to adopt or purchase a pet for their family, and with economic times being as lean as they are you might decide now is not the time to financially afford a pet. By the way, even a cat as a $1000 per year estimate (which I think is too high, they are estimating you buy health insurance on cat which is $600 per year itself). A cat is more likely to cost about $400 per year if you don’t purchase health insurance, and a hamster or rat is estimated at $300 per year due to costs of litter, food and treats, no medical factored at all on hamsters in the calculator.

I believe pets are as essential to a family for so many reasons, but you must consider the financial aspect before adding a pet to your family or you could be stuck suffering financial hardship that you didn’t realize, or your pet may need an unplanned medical expense that you just will not be able to afford.

-Justin Germino

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Updated: September 21, 2009 — 6:49 pm