Has a dog or cat grabbed hold of your heart? It doesn’t take much. A paw on the arm. A lick on the nose, or a soft purr or whimper can turn most of us into dog or cat parents in minutes. With animal shelters across the U.S. frequently at their max, there are a record number of dogs and cats available for adoption. Of course, there are also those that are looking for a particular breed, and are willing to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars when they find it.
But whether you’re looking to adopt or purchase from a dog breeder, you need to be aware of the true cost of owning a pet. Here are just a few things to think about:
The cost of the initial investment. The initial cost of adopting a cat or dog varies, depending on whether the adoption is from an animal shelter or is obtained directly from a breeder. While shelter fees typically run between $50 to $250, the cost of buying a dog or cat from a breeder can be as high as $3,000. Of course, you’ll also have to tack on the essentials such as a crate or litter box, vaccinations, food, and training classes, which can bring your initial investment to between $1,000 to $4,000.
With improved care, dogs and cats today can live more than 15 years. That means you will be responsible for that dog or cat for almost as long as you would an infant. Today, the average monthly cost of owning a dog or cat is around $160.00 a month, which includes food, toys, treats, medical expenses, and even pet-sitting services. Multiply that by 15 years, and you’re looking at a cost of more than $28,000 over the life of your pet.
Like humans, emergencies can happen to pets as well. If something does happen, are you financially prepared to pay the vet bills? In the past, many pet owners have had to choose euthanasia if their pet became ill or was injured because they could not afford the vet bill. Also keep in mind that while pet insurance has become a popular option for pet owners, many of the insurance plans are structured on a reimbursement basis, meaning you pay for the service and you’re reimbursed. Be sure that you can absorb that cost before you commit to owning a pet.
While it’s true that many places have become more pet-friendly in recent years, there will likely be a time when you cannot take your pet with you; whether it’s a necessary business trip, or to a location that doesn’t offer pet-friendly facilities. The average cost of boarding a pet or hiring a pet sitter can exceed $30.00 a day, or higher.
If you’re an apartment dweller, consider that you’ll likely be paying an additional security deposit if you have a dog or cat. Also, whether you rent or own your home, consider the potential cost should your pet damage anything such as carpeting.
If you’re ready to make the commitment, for better or for worse, and understand the potential costs involved, you’re on your way to sharing your life and your love with a creature that will love you like nothing else will.
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