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How Much Do We Really Spend on Our Pets?

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Taking care of our animal friends can be a gift. They provide companionship and unconditional love, and they’re excellent listeners.

And we spend a lot of money on them.

The costs that go into caring for a pet can add up quickly. And those costs vary by type of pet. That goldfish you got at a carnival is going to have a very different overall average cost than the high-maintenance rare dog breed that only eats raw foods.

That’s all to say, it’s hard to nail down specifics on exactly what a pet will cost you. But we can get a pretty good ballpark sense of the general costs of pet ownership.

These numbers come from various sources that have aggregated pet-care costs. They’re averaged per year and dependent not only on the type of pet but also the area in which the owner lives. And, of course, anything can happen, so these figures don’t typically account for major disasters or huge unexpected costs. Unless otherwise noted, most costs are based on the most common household pets, cats and dogs.

Pets may not have the ability to pay you back or accrue financial value like other investments. But, remember, the love and devotion and joy they can bring into your life are often well worth the cost.

1Initial Costs

When it comes to cats and dogs, the initial costs of adding your animal to your home will depend on many factors.

No matter what kind of animal you purchase, you’ll incur preparation costs for your new friend. If you choose an animal like a lizard, snake, or fish, they’ll require the proper housing and environment, which can cost between $40 to $1,000 for housing and comfort basics.

When it comes to cats and dogs, the initial costs of adding your animal to your home will depend on many factors, including whether you already have accommodations for that animal (is this your second cat and you’ve already got a litter box in place?) and the age of the animal. Let’s say it’s your first cat, you’ll need to provide a litter box, the litter itself, standard food for a week or so, a poop scoop, maybe a cat scratching post, a bed, and a box of treats. A general search on Amazon for the most popular items of those basics will run you around $123 total.



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