Are you thinking of adding another pet to your family or becoming a first-time pet owner? If so, congratulations! But it also takes grabbing a calculator and doing the maths: Cost of pet ownership are important.
Making this life-changing decision is something to celebrate and look forward to. But it is also important to remember that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
There are some important things to consider before making the commitment, and one of the most important things is cost. The average annual cost of owning a dog in 2020 was $3,500; while the average cost for owning a cat was more than $2,000.
Depending on your lifestyle and income, this might not be a lot of money to you. But it could be a massive investment for somebody else.
At the Animal Food Bank, we like to remind people that everyone deserves to have a pet that they love and cherish, but before making the grand decision of adopting or purchasing a pet, a responsible pet owner will create a budget and ensure they fully understand the financial commitment.
Adopt, don’t shop!
Before making a decision, ask yourself what type of lifestyle you live and if owning a pet is right for you. The average $3,500 for owning a dog for a year is definitely not the same for everyone with a dog.
Contributing factors include where you live, your work schedule, the type of animal you’re adopting, how old that animal is, what that pet’s specific needs are and ultimately where you get your pet from.
If you have your heart set on purchasing a purebred puppy from a breeder or a pet store, just be aware that this will likely cost you way more than adopting from a rescue or shelter. Buying from a breeder can cost more than $5,000.
This cost is just for the animal itself – this doesn’t include getting the animal spayed or neutered, vaccinations, dental work, grooming, breed specific medications, basic vet care, training if needed, food, pet equipment and more.
So, if you’re still thinking about purchasing or adopting, you should consider adopting because you will get more bang for your buck.
At the BC SPCA Kelowna Branch, adopting an adult dog with pet registration is between $344 and $444 and that number goes down to $173 if you’re adopting one over eight years old.
Adoption and registration fees for a puppy under six months is $444 while a small breed puppy is $544. If you’re looking at cats, adult cats with registration fees cost $165, cats over eight years old are only $83 and kittens are $195.
In addition to lower costs, adopting from a shelter also means the animal is going into your hands spayed or neutered, and with up-do-date vaccinations. Once you’ve got your adoption fees or purchase fees covered, you can work on creating a budget for additional costs.
Additional costs to take into account
Things like pet insurance, training, grooming, supplies, food and vet visits can cost between $1,000 and $5,000 per year. This obviously isn’t a guarantee, and this shouldn’t discourage you as a pet owner, but it is something to be mindful of in case of emergency situations.
Even if you’ve adopted an animal with all medical costs already covered, you have to be mindful of emergency vet visits because as scary as these things are and as much as pet owners do to prevent these visits, they can still happen at any moment.
An emergency vet visit can cost up to $2,000 or more if you don’t have pet insurance. If you do decide to invest in pet insurance, this will provide peace of mind if something happens and you have a huge vet bill to pay for. On average, pet insurance will cost $50 per month and will provide decent coverage.
To break it down, there are two areas you should focus on when creating a budget for your new pet. The initial costs which cover adoption, vaccinations and training (if needed), and you pay all these costs when you first get your pet.
Once you do this, you have to think about the costs of general supplies such as food and toys, as well as regular vet visits.
If we take a look at pet food, you’re going to be spending between $250 and more than $1,000 a year depending on the type of pet you have.
Some costs are optional depending on the pet owner and the pet – including grooming. Please remember this is to give you a general idea and costs will significantly vary depending on what type of pet you have.
Reach out! We’re here to help
If you think you’ve found the perfect pet and you’re still trying to figure out what it’s going to cost you, you have to continue to do your research.
Talk to local organizations including the Animal Food Bank if you have any questions related to pet ownership.
You can also get more information by joining online animal support groups. By following adoption pages on Facebook, Instagram and any other social media platform you choose you’ll get more insight. The great thing about the online world is the information is out there and its only a click away.
Talk to people who have experience with the specific breed you wish to take home. Remember, things will cost way differently for someone adopting a wiener dog as opposed to a Pitbull.
Whether you’re adding another pet to your family or you’re becoming a first-time pet owner, there are resources to check. Making this commitment responsibly at the most cost-effective way are in the same page.
If you’re unsure if you can afford a new pet, please give it a second thought. Put the animal’s wellbeing and needs before your wants and don’t go through with purchasing or adopting it.