The Price of Unconditional Love: A Hard Look at the Cost of Pet Ownership
Owning a pet is a gigantic responsibility. Not only are pet owners tasked with keeping their pets safe from harm, they must establish and maintain a high quality of life for all animals in their care. That can be a relatively tall order for many that struggle financially. It’s not a question of love or devotion. Taking a look at the bottom line is often enough to discourage impulsive pet adoptions, or result in painful pet surrenders. If you take a detailed look at the true cost of pet ownership before adopting, you can create a loving (and sustainable) home environment for your future furry friends.
Should It Matter?
When it comes to caring for a pet, love is paramount to a successful cohabitation. And while it might seem like that’s all pet owners need to make it work, pets require so much more than time and attention. Entering the world of pet ownership should never be done blindly, and it’s necessary to embrace manageable expectations.
The Startup Costs
The first year of pet ownership can really set you back. While future years may cost less, they can also require more out of your wallet than you ever imagined. You just don’t know what to expect, so it’s best to anticipate that the cost of pet ownership can be a lot.
The first year includes the adoption fee, spaying/neutering, microchipping, initial parasite prevention protocols, behavior training, and all the necessary gear. A new pet needs their own bed, travel crate, toys, food, dishes, and gear like leashes and collars. Costs may exceed $1000 dollars in the first year.
A Healthy Future
Assuming you adopt a healthy pet, you might be able to reduce annual costs to just the price of preventive medical care (vaccinations, dental care, and parasite prevention medication) and food. Depending on your pet’s health and lifestyle, breed and age, the cost of pet ownership may dip considerably after the first year. However, there are still fees associated with boarding/grooming, diet/nutrition, training, pet sitting or dog walking, and traveling together.
Part of Life
The truth is, accidents happen to pets. At one time or another, pets can suffer sudden illness or injury. Life-saving emergency veterinary care (including diagnostics, surgery, medication, etc.) can be upwards of several thousand dollars.
Veterinary financing is available through Care Credit. They make it possible for pet owners to provide care. Alternatively, prospective and existing pet owners should try to set aside a couple thousand dollars in the event of a veterinary emergency. This will remove the terrible decision of not being able to pay for a life-saving or sustaining treatment.
There are also veterinary insurance plans that can help prevent financial struggles in the wake of a costly pet emergency. They also help to offset some of the cost of pet ownership by covering disease prevention, dental care procedures, and some prescriptions.
The Cost of Pet Ownership
Despite the rising cost of pet ownership, we can assure that every single penny spent on an animal’s vitality and well-being is money well spent.