The High Price of Pet Ownership

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How much does your pet cost?

After reading an article with that title on Investopedia yesterday, I immediately wrote down all of the expenses for my 20 lb mutt, Jolie. She’s a lab and terrier mix whom I adopted at the Miami-Dade Humane Society several years ago.  She’s going to be 9 years-old in November.

After adding up grooming, veterinary visits, annual checkups, food, toys, etc., I found that my cute little mutt was just a little less cute and a little more expensive than I thought.  Last year alone, I spent an average of $100 per month on her, and while it might not seem like a lot, that’s an average of around $1,200 a year.  On top of the initial adoption or purchasing costs, multiply that by your dog’s life expectancy and it really hits you how much that sweetie pie is costing you.

When it comes to basic needs like food, Investopedia says that “with dogs, a big factor is size; a small dog averages as little as $50 dollars a year in food costs. The costs for large to dogs can get as high as $235 per year.”

Pet health insurance plans are another basic expense that most pet owners have to foot the bill for to keep their precious animal friends safe. According to a study by research group Packaged Facts, from 2003 until 2007, the number of cats, dogs, and exotic animals insured in the U.S. increased 56%. Dogs led the pack in 2008, with an estimated 2 million insured. Cats followed with an approximate 900,000 insured, according to data provided by the American Pet Products Association.

Furthermore, keeping your pet active and engaged is hugely important to their overall mental and physical health. Things like toys, collars, and leashes certainly add up.  Luckily, unlike insurance and food costs, “Toys are one of the cheaper pet-related expenses, and cost an average of $50 per year.” Miscellaneous items like pet beds, doghouses, all those expenses that are not inherent to day-to-day living of your dog are also not as high.

And the costs only increase as your lovable buddy gets older and develops more health issues.  I have certainly noticed that in the last couple of years, health care cost for my mutt – veterinary visits, vaccines, checkups, etc. – has increased dramatically.

In the end though, because a pet becomes part of the family, owners are willing to spend as much as necessary to provide proper comfort for their pets.

Do the math: how much do you spend on your pet(s) annually? Would you ever consider cutting back?

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