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The Real Cost of Pets

Posted: Feb 25, 2013 9:49 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2013 9:49 PM

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Most families will admit their pets are part of the family. According to a recent article in The Denver Post, the cost of owning a pet can be expensive.

"Owning a pet will cost thousands of dollars over the animal's lifetime. Throw in an unexpected veterinary bill and that can double or triple very quickly. Making the decision to pay for intensive veterinary care - such as repairing an ACL tear, chemotherapy for cancer, providing insulin to a cat with diabetes - can strain budgets. Yet many feel as the Stemm-Wolfs do: Pets are members of the family."

The Stemm-Wolfs paid thousands of dollars for their dog's medical care after he was hit by a car. Carol Kuzdek has paid for expensive treatments for her cat Magic when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She suggests pet insurance or health savings accounts for pets.

Some famlies cannot afford the cost of medical care for their animals, so they give them away to rescue groups or animal shelters or simply don't address the problem. Many families purchase a pet and only factor in the immediate cost for the animal. However, they don't realize there are costs for food, vet care, pet sitters, grooming, treats, toys, etc.

Recently my dog chewed up the door of a home we rented while on vacation. The cost for the door and repairs was about $300. We also have a dog who has chronic ear infections. Her monthly medicine is about $30 and she has to have special food due to a gluten allergy. We keep our dogs because they are just like members of the family.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates the following annual costs for owning dogs and cats, not counting unexpected veterinary costs:

About $1,000; includes food, routine veterinary care and vaccinations, spay or neuter and litter.

The following figures are for the first year and include food, routine veterinary care and vaccinations, spay or neuter, collars, dog beds, toys, treats and other expenses.
Small dog: About $1,300.
Medium: About $1,600.
Large: About $1,850.

Other pets:
Rabbits: About $1,000; includes food, litter, routine veterinary costs.
Guinea pig: About $700.

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