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May 08, 2020

Does a New Pet Fit Into Your Budget?

With most people spending more time at home, it stands to reason that pet ownership is on the rise. If you’re thinking about adding a furry friend to your family, it’s important to consider how it fits into your budget—not just now, but in the future, too.

Many new pet owners get so caught up in the excitement of picking out a new friend that they’re unprepared for the time, energy, and money that go into getting the animal settled into its home. Here are some initial costs that you should budget for in addition to the adoption fee or cost of the animal:

  • Food and treats
  • Food/water bowls
  • Toys
  • Leash and/or collar
  • Training crate/carrier
  • Potty training pads or litter boxes and litter
  • Home preparation items (i.e. baby gates)
  • Medical examination and vaccinations
  • Spay or neuter surgery
  • Pet deposit (for renters)

As you can imagine, these expenses will add up quickly! And before you know it, you’ll also start paying for recurring expenses, including but not limited to:

  • More food and treats
  • Litter or waste bags
  • Monthly pet fees (for renters)
  • Flea/heartworm prevention and other medication
  • Grooming
  • Boarding and/or walking
  • Routine vet exams

Don’t forget to also set aside some money in your budget for emergency expenses. Pets have a weird way of eating foreign objects or coming down with the sniffles when you’re already short on funds. Rather than rack up credit card debt, plan ahead and save in advance for those inevitable emergency vet visits.

Money saving tips for pet owners

If you have your heart set on adding a new pet to your family, here are some tips for keeping costs down:

  • Adopt, don’t shop. Animal rescues and shelters are full of pets who need someone to love them, all at a significantly lower cost than a breeder. Depending on the type of animal you choose, adopting versus shopping can save you hundreds of dollars.
  • Choose a breed that doesn’t require grooming and isn’t prone to certain health conditions.
  • Order food through a company that offers auto-ship discounts. Not only will you save a little money each month, but you’ll prevent last-minute trips to the store (and impulse purchases!), too.
  • If your pet takes medication, ask the vet for a paper prescription and shop around for lower drug prices.