The 3 Hidden Expenses of Pet Ownership
According to the American Pet Products Association, nearly 70% of all US households own a pet. That translates into an estimated $86 billion spent on food, supplies, medical care and pet services in 2018. Although the love and companionship our furry (or feathered, or scaly) friends provide is priceless, it’s impossible to ignore the effect that pet ownership has on our wallet.
Like walking the dog or scooping out the litter box, budgeting is a part of basic pet care. If you’re thinking about getting a new pet, start by taking a look at your finances. You want to ensure that you can provide for your pet’s regular needs and that you have the ability to respond to emergencies. Searching for pet expense worksheets online is a good starting point and will provide rough estimates for things like adoption fees, food, medicine, supplies and pet services.
As is the case with budgeting for other significant milestones, it can be challenging to anticipate all of the ways a new change will influence your monthly spending. To help you prepare, we’ve outlined three categories of “hidden” expenses below. Though all three are related to pet care, they’re often left out of the average pet budgeting worksheet and therefore have the ability to take you by surprise. Though we’ve written this guide with dogs and cats in mind, similar expenses exist for other pets.
When you welcome a new pet into your home, you’ll likely pick up a few items to make their stay more cozy. A plush dog bed, a fancy scratching post, or other pet furniture helps turn your home into a shared environment where your pet can sleep and play comfortably. Modifying your living space also makes your home safer for your pet. Identifying and eliminating potential hazards before you bring your pet home helps reduce preventable injuries and illnesses (not to mention the associated veterinary bills). Depending on your pet and on your living situation, pet-proofing may include a combination of the following expenses:
Even if you’re a watchful pet parent, it’s reasonable to expect a little (or a lot!) of mischief from your pet. This usually results in repairing or replacing damaged items in your home. Budgeting for a little extra property damage will ease the pain when Sparky decides that your brand-new shoes are his favorite chew toy. Though obedience training can help limit the frequency of pricy pet shenanigans, you can still expect to repair or replace a few of the following items:
In-Between & Veterinary Bills
Medical expenses should not come as a total surprise—as a new pet owner, you should already be budgeting for routine veterinary visits and have a healthy emergency fund set aside for serious medical issues. That said, there are some pet health expenses that fall outside of both regular checkup territory and emergency territory. Depending on your pet’s needs, you may be faced with one or more of the following overlooked medical expenses:
There are so many pet-related expenses that, even with the best of intentions and a ton of preparation, it’s easy to overlook a few of them. By factoring in the hidden expenses of pet ownership above, you’ll be better able to keep your pet happy, safe and well-cared-for.