How Much Does a Pet Cost?

cost breakdown of a puppy

Why you shouldn’t get an animal as a gift

Are you a cat or dog person? Or do you love both equally? That’s great! We agree, and we love our pets. In fact, it is because we love our pets so much that today we are going to talk about why you should NOT get or give a pet as a Christmas gift. 

You didn’t read that sentence wrong. We love our animals so much that we want to make sure all animals go to homes that actually want them and are able to care for them. It is no secret that pets can be a lot of time, money, and work. The last thing we want is for a pet to be adopted by someone that is not able to take care of them the right way. If you are considering getting or giving a new furry companion as a gift this year, you may want to rethink that plan. Here’s why:

Do not gift a puppy this holiday season 

The average price of a puppy is about $7,875! There are the standard one-time fees such as: the initial adoption fee, cost of spay or neuter, the first vet bill, and even initial care items such as a crate, bed, or collar. In addition, there are annual reoccurring costs such as dog food, annual vet visits, toys, and more. If you assume that the average dog lives for about 12 years, then those costs can add up fast! In addition, many pet owners recommend saving up a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on the side in case of a major surgery or two.

Along with financial costs, there are also a ton of other costs such as time and work. Likely the new puppy will chew through a few pairs of shoes, damage or scratch up some furniture, and is sure to have one or two accidents in the house. Dogs have a lot of energy and will need to go on walks daily; and families with a bigger dog breed will need a larger living space. In addition, someone will have to come home at lunch every day to let them out to go potty, and someone may even need to take time off work to potty train the dog for the first couple weeks or so. If the family goes out of town on vacation, the dog will need to be boarded during that time. 

Do not gift a cat this holiday season 

The average cost of a cat is about $9,445! There are the standard one-time fees such as: the initial adoption fee, cost of spay or neuter, the first vet bill, and even initial care items such as a bed, collar, and tag. In addition, there are annual reoccurring costs such as cat food, annual vet visits, kitty litter, and more. If you assume the average indoor cat lives for about 15 years, then those costs can add up fast! In addition, many cat owners recommend saving up a few hundred dollars on the side in case of a major surgery or two.

There are other costs besides just the financial costs. The new kitten will likely scratch up furniture, knock over and break décor, and even have one or two accidents in the house. Most cats are fine with running all around the house (and we mean all around the house – even on top of the fireplace), so walks aren’t necessary. You will not have to come home to let them out, but you will have to take time out of your schedule to clean out their litter box a few times a week. If you and your family decide to travel for an extended period of time, you will need to board them or pay a pet sitter!

Don’t adopt if you can’t care for a pet

Surprising someone with a new pet isn’t a gift; it’s a burden. Every year, many animal shelters see an influx of animals at the start of the year as families return unwanted pets they received for Christmas or the holidays. Pets are not like a toy that can be returned or just thrown away. They are a living breathing animal that needs to be taken care of and loved like a member of the family. Pet adoption is a big responsibility, and one that should not be taken lightly.

Really feel like you need a puppy or kitten fix? Consider volunteering at your local shelter. You will want to adopt one of those sad little faces, but you will be able to see how much time and energy goes into caring for an animal. Alternatively, you could sign up to be a pet walker or pet sitter and get paid to take care of someone else’s pet for a short period of time.

How to adopt if you can care for a pet

If you do decide to get a pet this holiday season, you should be sure to discuss the decision in full with your family, including the costs and work that will be necessary to care for the new addition. Every member of the family will need to pitch in to take care of this new animal. If getting a pet isn’t feasible or within your budget or time restraints, then now is not the time to get a new pet. If you do have the ability to properly care for an animal, consider adopting from your local pound or animal shelter. There are thousands of animals that have been abandoned and need a loving home right now. Another bonus of adopting a pet from the pound is that many of them are already potty trained and spayed or neutered!

Want to learn more about pets that cost less than $7,000? Check out our list of Alternative Pets That You’re Sure To Love (For When Cats and Dogs Are Just Too Expensive Or Mainstream)

Be sure to watch our Vlog on Pet Expenses, too! 

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