What is the True Cost of Owning a Pet?

People often overlook how expensive pet costs can be. As a matter of fact, a PDSA report stated that almost 100 percent of owners underestimated the lifetime costs of owning an animal. New owners often forget that pets should have their basic needs taken care of beyond food and shelter. Not to mention the sometimes very expensive and totally unexpected medical fees. So, what is the actual cost of owning and taking care of a pet?

What is the True Cost of Owning a Pet

Pet Costs You Should Remember

Medical Care

Medical care is one of the most important pet costs you’ll have to consider before owning a pet. For one, all dogs will require some form of vaccination. They should have regular check-ups with the veterinarian, just as their owners should see a doctor for annual exams.

However, dogs, cats, and other pets can end up in accidents or with severe illnesses just like their owners. One way to defray these large out-of-pocket expenses is to get pet insurance through providers like Everypaw, for instance. They offer puppy insurance and kitten insurance with different plans tailored to your pet and their expected needs. They also provide insurance plans for dogs. Dog insurance will provide coverage if your dog is injured in an accident or attacked by another dog. It will also help pay for medical bills when the animal develops a long-term condition.

Once you sign up for a policy, it can be renewed for the rest of your pet’s life. However, initial injections and annual boosters are something you have to pay for, and pet insurance won’t cover the care for a disease that could have been prevented with proper vaccinations.

A dog could cost as much as $40,000 over its life if you pay for ongoing care when it is very old and fight to extend its life. The average cost of owning a cat is around $20,000.


Micro-chipping is around $20-25 per pet. Don’t try to skip this if this is a legal requirement in your country. If it isn’t done, you could be hit with a fine. However, the micro-chipping may be done by the breeder, or it may be done for free by the rescue shelter before you take possession of the animal.


The total cost of owning an animal depends on its size, how long it lives, and other factors. Expect to spend at least $7900 for a small breed and $12,000 for a large animal over its life. The regular monthly costs of food, toothpaste, worm treatments, and other ongoing expenses are $85 per month for a small dog and about $120 for a large one, with most of this going to food and pet insurance premiums.

All in all, pet food accounts for a third of the average lifetime cost of owning a dog and forty percent of the cost of owning a cat. Ironically, many pet owners over-feed their pets, driving up their food bill and running up expensive vet bills because of it, too. Don’t try to feed your pet takeaways. This increases the odds your dog will be overfed, raising their odds of developing diabetes or arthritis. If your dog or cat becomes diabetic, this adds $12,000 a year to their lifetime cost.

The Upfront Costs

When you get an animal, there are a number of necessary purchases you need to make. This includes a dog bed, collar, tags, food and water bowls, a few toys, and a car restraint. It is advisable to get a toothbrush and toothpaste for the dog as well. You’ll also need to stock up on little things like litter bags for a dog. If buying a cat, you have to pick up a litter box and kitty litter.

Some will prefer to have their pet neutered too. Know that this won’t be done by most breeders, and it isn’t going to be covered by pet insurance unless it is considered medically necessary.

If you’re picking out a puppy, you’ll also have to pay for monthly wormers until the dog is six months old. A coat for the dog is a good idea but may not have to be purchased before it starts to get chilly. Note that none of this includes the cost of buying the animal if it isn’t a gift to you or adopted from a rescue center. If you decide to buy a pedigree animal, you may spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds for the pet.

Possible Additional Pet Expenses

Besides the upfront and monthly pet costs, you have to cover a number of services that you may need later on. For example, these estimates don’t include boarding kennels, training classes, and doggie daycare. And though they include a modest toy allowance, you may want to buy more than the strict minimum for your pet, so be prepared for that as well.


So, before you decide to go to the nearest kennel or shelter or decide to buy your pet at www.puppiesandkittens.co.uk, make sure that you know exactly how much you can expect to pay over the totality of your new furry friend’s lifespan. Then you’ll be able to make a decision that will benefit both your and your pet’s well-being.

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