Discover the Hidden Costs of Pet Ownership
Pets can bring joy, laughter, love — and even add years — to our lives. There’s nothing like coming home after a long day and being greeted by a furry friend who can’t wait to see you. But in addition to all those wonderful things, pets bring something else: added expenses.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates new pet owners will spend up to $1,500 on a pet in the first year and up to $875 annually after that. If those numbers surprise you, it’s probably because you haven’t thought about all the expenses associated with caring for a pet. Going beyond basic care and feeding, here are some of the hidden costs of pet ownership.
Replacing Damaged Items
One thing that surprises many first-time pet owners is how many things their new pet can destroy in a short amount of time. But the combination of teeth, claws and being in a new environment means pets will do what comes naturally, and that’s chewing, digging and scratching. All new pet owners can expect to replace some shoes, rugs, furniture or electrical cords. But the good news is, most pets can be trained not to indulge in these destructive behaviors.
That brings us to another cost: training. While it’s certainly possible to train your pet on your own, there’s nothing like professional training to get the job done quickly and correctly. It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. Many pets (and their owners) can learn the basics of ‘good citizen’ training in just a few sessions. And there are training options at all price points — from affordable group classes to more expensive one-on-one options.
Grooming & Hygiene
As a general rule, the longer your dog or cat’s hair, the more you will spend on grooming products and services. But it’s not just your pet’s coat that requires grooming. You’ll also have to trim nails, clean ears and keep teeth and gums healthy. Once again, these are all things you can potentially do yourself if you have the time and patience to learn. But whether you rely on professionals or purchase the necessary supplies yourself, grooming is one of the hidden costs of pet ownership.
Boarding or Pet Sitting
While it’s hard to imagine spending even one night away from your new pet, you will eventually have to travel without them. When that happens, who’s going to care for them? Unless you can count on a friend or family member to volunteer, you will have to pay to have your pet boarded, or hire a pet sitter. Depending on your lifestyle and how often you have to travel for work, pet boarding or pet sitting can become a significant annual expense.
Emergency Vet Services
Pets are like kids. At some point they will have an accident or illness that requires immediate treatment, which means a trip to the emergency vet. And emergency veterinary care is just like emergency medical care — expensive! That’s why it’s a good idea to start setting some money aside to cover these costs when they arise. Try putting more into your emergency savings account every month so you’ll be ready for it.