Often when young people move out of their parent’s home and find their own place, they are all too quick to immediately rush out and purchase and adorable little puppy or kitten from their local animal shelter. Why not, right? It makes sense. The companionship, the sense of purpose and adult responsibility…
The thing is, it often comes with plenty of unforeseen surprises, namely the cost of pet care. And while this post is certainly not meant to deter anyone from purchasing a furry little companion, it is meant to inform and prepare you for the responsibilities that lie ahead and to help you determine whether or not you can presently afford the costs involved, which go far beyond the initial adoption fee.
Here are the facts. According the ASPCA, these are the average first year costs of owning a cat or medium sized dog:
One-time Pet Costs
- First Medical Exam: Dog: $70 / Cat: $130
- Spaying or Neutering: Dog: $200 / Cat: $145
- Collar or Leash: Dog: $30 / Cat: $10
- Litter Box for Your Cat: $25
- Crate for Your Dog: $95 (may vary depending on size)
- Carrying Crate: Dog: $60 / Cat: $40
- Scratching Post for Your Cat: $15
- Training for Your Dog: $110
In total, that makes: $565 / Cat: $365
Annual Pet Expenses
- Food: Dog: $120/ Cat: $145
- Annual Medical Exams: Dog: $235 / Cat: $130
- Kitty Litter: $200
- Toys and Treats: Dog: $55 / Cat: $25
- License for Your Dog: $15
- Pet Health Insurance: Dog: $225 / Cat: $175
- Miscellaneous: Dog: $45 / Cat: $30
Total Annual Costs: Dog: $695 / Cat: $705
So, altogether that makes $1,270 for your dog, and $1,070 for your cat. These costs vary depending on the kind of food you buy, additional or complicated medical expenses, etc. And that’s not even mentioning the cost of pet sitting or kennel services which will be required for you to travel.
Apartments also require pet deposits and cleaning fees, for which you probably shouldn’t expect a refund.
Reducing the Cost of Pet Care
Here are some ways in which you can reduce pet care costs in the long-run:
- Schedule regular appointments: It might seem counter-intuitive at first, but trust us. It is far more expensive to treat an illness than it is to prevent it entirely. And when you commit to regular veterinary appointments, be sure to compare fees between different vet clinics and choose the most affordable one.
- Purchase pet food that is high in quality: Again, it may seem counter-intuitive, but the same principle applies. High quality pet food is healthier for your pet in the long run, and can reduce problems such as obesity for your dogs, or Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) for your cat. Be sure not to overfeed your pet, even if they are active. This can result in a number of different health problems.
- Brush your pet’s teeth: Just like with humans, dental disease can result in heart and/or kidney disease. With a regular dental routine, you can keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy and reduce future treatment costs. But remember, only use toothpaste specifically designed for your pet. Human toothpaste often contains fluoride which can irritate your pet’s stomach.
- Prevent parasites: Fleas and ticks can cause all kinds of medical problems which range from minor issues like skin irritation, to possible life-threatening illness. Topical flea and tick solutions can help to keep these pests off of your pet. Remember: only use products as directed, never use a cat product on a dog or vice versa.
- Home-groom your pets: Learning how to groom your animal is easier than you might think. Regular nail-trimmings, brushings, and haircuts are also a great way of avoiding household problems, such as scratch damage or floating hair.
Queen City Petsitting, your Raleigh dog walking service provider, encourages responsible pet parenting, as we have a duty and obligation to care for the creatures we take into our homes. Only adopt an animal when you are absolutely certain that you can take care of and provide for their needs.
By keeping yourself informed and taking the proper steps to take care of your animals, you will be able to save energy and money in the long-run, and your pets will be happier and healthier as a result.