The benefits of pet ownership are numerous.
They give unconditional love. They’re a forever friend. And they even provide
their humans with all kinds of physical benefits—from lower blood
pressure and cholesterol levels to more opportunities for exercise and
But they also can come at a big financial cost.
And, according to the American Pet Products Association,
we’re spending more on Fido and Fluffy than we ever have before.
The association’s survey found that pet care
spending in 2018 reached an all-time high of $72.56 billion, up 4 percent from
the year before. The number includes food, supplies, over-the-counter
medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other services,
according to the industry group.
Pet ownership costs, of course, will vary wildly depending on the kind of animal you have. When you get a single beta fish, for example, you’ll have initial costs when you buy the tank, filtration system and heater. But there will be little ongoing expenses once you’ve bought the initial jar of food that will last for months.
A dog, however, will cost more over time. The
lifetime costs to care for a dog hover around $14,480 for a large dog with a
life expectancy of 10 years; $15,051 years for a small dog with a life
expectancy of 15 years; and $15,782 for a medium dog with a life expectancy of
13 years, according to the American Kennel Club. That averages
out to more than $1,000 a year.
Kiplinger.com estimates it costs between $500 and $1,000 a year to care for a cat,
including food, toys, litter and vet care.
But there are ways to bring home that friendly puppy or cuddly kitten without breaking the bank.
Here are six ways to cut the costs of pet ownership
The ASPCA recommends regular check-ups,
updated vaccines and protecting them from fleas and ticks to avoid more costly
medical issues in the future. Brushing their teeth also is an important way to
keep them healthy. Dental disease, according to the ASPCA, can cause heart and
kidney problems. Pet insurance, which can run as little as $10 a month, according to
ValuePenguin.com, may help make these routine costs more affordable.
them at home
for low-cost vet care
When your pet is sick, the last thing you want
to do is watch them suffer. But many pet owners wonder how they’ll ever be able
to afford to take them. The Humane Society offers some tips for finding inexpensive veterinary care
when your animal needs help. Options include working out a payment plan with a
vet and going to a low-cost clinic at a local veterinary school.
Just like you probably aren’t buying the best
cut of steak for yourself at the grocery store, you also should be a bargain
shopper when it comes to your animals. Cutting coupons, shopping the sales and
buying in bulk all are strategies to cut your pet food costs.
Feeding them the correct portion size also is
a way to keep your costs low for two reasons. When you don’t overfeed them, you
won’t have to buy that new bag of kibble as often. And, they’ll stay healthier
when they aren’t overeating.
your own toys
Instead of spending money on toys they’ll
likely only pull apart, consider making them with items you probably already
have around the house. Care.com has 17 ideas for dog toys you can make
around the house. The Penny Hoarder has nine cat toys you can make for free.
When your daily finances to support the people in your house have become overwhelming, it’s time to look for agencies and nonprofits that can help you support your pets too. The Humane Society offers a comprehensive, state-by-state list of resources for pet owners who need some help.
If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a
solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your
options. Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of
our certified credit counselors.