Biggest Expense for Pet Owners (And How to Avoid Them)
Buying a pet is an expensive investment, even if you’ve owned pets in the past that didn’t require immediate medical attention or special care requirements. If you’re considering adding another member to your family, you need to consider the upfront cost of the following expenses.
Going to the Vet
Taking your pet to the vet should be common practice, but it isn’t for several pet owners worldwide. Going to the vet is expensive, but routine checkups are essential, especially for cats. While dogs are typically vocal when they’re in pain, cats are more subtle, and you may not notice a behavioral change. The responsible thing to do is take them once every 3 months.
Buying pet insurance is the best way to save money on frequent pet visits and unexpected surgeries. To save more money, buy insurance as soon as you adopt your pet. Otherwise, they may not pay for preexisting health conditions. Frequent checkups will also help with preventive care, which will save you more money in the future and can lead to a longer life for your pet.
Buying a Pet From a Breeder
One of the most expensive things you can do as a pet owner right from the start is to buy from a breeder. Unless you need a pet for a specific purpose (i.e., a Border Collie for sheep herding) and you’re positive the breeder cares about their pets, you’re better off adopting. There isn’t even a guarantee of health for purebreds, as inbreeding is rampant.
To top that off, purebred dogs are also unhealthier on average, even when inbreeding isn’t present. Mixed dogs, or “mutts,” are much, much healthier due to their varying gene pools, leading to fewer disorders. Purebreds are 10x more likely to have a genetic disorder than mixed.
Besides better health outcomes, which lead to fewer vet visits, medications, and operations, here are some more ways you save money from adopting instead of buying from a breeder:
- When you adopt, you put your money towards an animal shelter that’s primary goal is to keep pets off the street. This leads to less money paid in taxes for services like euthanasia. However, breeders often contribute to the homeless population.
- Adoption agencies often fully or partially pay for essential care services, like their first shots, toys, food, beds, tracking chips, collars, and fixing, spaying or neutering.
- Adopted pets receive a tracking chip, making it easier for you to find your pet should they get lost. This saves you time and money on investigative services.
- Buying a pet from an adoption agency is significantly less expensive than buying from a breeder, who likely won’t pay for other services you receive for free or at cost from an animal rescue. Most breeders can’t even prove their animals are purebred.
If you really want a purebred dog, you can still get one from the shelter. 25% of dogs are purebred, so you won’t even lose out on the aesthetics of owning a thoroughbred. Overall, buying from a shelter can save you $1000 to $1,600 depending on the adoption fee and the pet you’re adopting. Some shelters even offer free adoption days for adult animals.
Any Pet-Related Emergency
An emergency pet expense can happen at any moment, be it unwelcomed vet bills, losing food during the move, or vaccinations. One common unexpected pet expense is surgery, but if you have pet insurance, that expense should be mostly covered. You’ll still need at least $500 for each cat, $1000 for each small dog, and $2000 for each large dog to protect your pet.
Some surgeries can cost over $4000, yes, even for a cat. It’s important that you put enough money aside to ensure your bills are paid, and your pets stay healthy in the long term.