Whether it’s a cat, bird, fish, or dog, anyone with a pet can likely give you a complete list of all of the benefits they’ve had since adding their fur friends to the family. And because of these benefits, we don’t really pay much attention to the financial cost of having a pet. Recently, new data has shown that the expenses for having a dog buddy have skyrocketed – costing way more than a lot of people are prepared for. So, how much does a dog cost? Here’s what you should know if you’re considering bringing a dog into your family.
How Much Does a Dog Cost Now?
In the past, we’ve tallied the monthly cost of having a dog. The total, at the time, came to about $60/month or $695/year. This was taking into consideration everything from food to annual exams and miscellaneous costs. Which, if you think about it, is really a small price to pay to have a dog to snuggle with at night. Today that breakdown has changed a little to the following:
- Food: $240/ year, $20/month
- Medical Exams: $235/year (annual exams)
- Toys and Treats: $120/year, about $10 per month
- License: $20/year
- Health Insurance: $1200/year, $100/month
- Miscellaneous Costs: $45/year, about $4 per month
Note that these expenses will vary quite a bit depending on where you live, the type of pet you have, and how much you spend on “extras.”
First Year Expenses
First year expenses are generally much steeper because you’ll pay a bunch of extra fees for adopting the pet and for shots, medical exams, spaying or neutering, and many others. At a minimum, this is typically around $500, and if you are purchasing your pet from a breeder, it could actually be thousands.
Pet Expenses Have Skyrocketed
However, recent data has shown that your dog buddy can now cost you thousands of dollars more than once thought. Why? One of the reasons, is that there are just more options – from special chew toys to healthier dog food t0 basically anything you need to make sure Fido lives a great life.
In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association, last year, owners spent nearly $70 billion on their pets. That’s a lot of squeakers and Scooby snacks. And, having a great life also means healthcare. In the past, people were less likely to view their pets as actual members of the family, so expenses were relatively low. When it came to illness or injury, there weren’t too many options available (or even considered). For pet care, healthcare is one area where the expenses have grown to be much higher than they once were.
The Cost of Pet Healthcare
Healthcare is a contentious topic by itself – and that’s just for people. In the U.S., the cost of healthcare – medication, doctor’s visits, illness, and injury, can cost the average person tens of thousands of dollars. Even if you have insurance.
For animals and pets, it’s no different. Although there are pet healthcare insurance options that cost less than $100 per month, most pet owners don’t actually have it. In a recent survey, about 10 percent of dogs were covered, and only about 5 percent of cats. However, it is still an industry that has grown 17.5 percent just from last year, to cover 1.83 million pets. As you might guess, this is expected to continue to grow as pet owners realize the true cost of having a pet without insurance.
Without dog health insurance, any illness or injury can end up costing pet parents a lot of money. According to the Animal Health Industry, you’ll likely end up spending approximately $9,000 to more than $13,000 on medical treatment over your pet’s lifetime.
Big Pet Pharma
If you thought human pharmaceuticals was a huge industry, you haven’t looked at pet pharma recently. Believe it or not, this field has grown to nearly $6 billion as of 2016 (the latest figure). This is an increase of about 5 percent every year. There are entire lines of drugs and pharmaceuticals available for pets, all from familiar names like Pfizer, Elanco, and Merck.
Which pet friend costs more in pet pharma? Dogs. Although there are approximately 5 million more cat friends than dog friends out there, dogs generally have more illnesses, diseases, and injuries that need to be attended to – primarily because they are likely to be outside more often.
Benefits of Having a Pet
Many owners will tell you there are clear benefits to having a pet. At first glance, they might all seem intangible and of no monetary benefit. However, there are ways that having a dog or cat at your side can save you money. First, research has shown that pets can help to decrease anxiety, stress, and blood pressure. When you consider how much the average hospital stay or doctor visit costs, plus the cost of medication to treat various heart-related diseases and illnesses, there’s a clear financial benefit to having a pet.
Further, people with pets are inspired to be more physically active, and many note that their furbabies just make them feel better.
The True Cost of Having a Dog
Of course, a lot of the expenses associated with having a dog are dependent on the breed and size, etc. While you might be willing to pay big bucks for purebred dogs, you can usually find one just as loving and snuggly at a local shelter for just a couple of hundred dollars.
However, in the end, the costs of having a dog are about the same, whether you have a purebred dog or one from the shelter. There are various ways to cut the costs of having a pet, but there really isn’t much available for eliminating the medical costs unless you consider pet insurance. If you plan on having your pet around for a while and wish to give him or her the best life possible, it’s something you might want to consider adding it in when you budget the costs of having your best friend at your side.
Do you have a pet? Are the expenses worth it? Share with us in the comments below!