Can you afford a Pet?

Are you thinking about buying a new furry friend for your house? You might want to take a few minutes to read about some of the expected costs you get with a new animal before you take the plunge. Buying a new pet is serious business. Animals need good, loving homes and a stable environment to thrive. Purchasing a pet before you can afford it may mean that Fido ends up in a shelter … or worse. Therefore, before you pick out the cutest puppy of the bunch, here are a few financial considerations to look at:

Food: You have to feed your pet. Like human babies, animals need food and water to survive. Unlike human babies, they do not (or should not) eat the same food as you. As puppies, and cats, get bigger, they eat more food. Dog food costs between $10 and $40 a bag on average. Bigger dogs may go through a bag or two per month.

Keep in mind that some puppies have allergies, sensitive stomachs or food preferences that may rack up the cost of their monthly food bill.

Toys and Supplies: When you buy a pet, you will likely want to purchase a kennel (especially if you need to travel, or you want to sleep train them), toys, a bed, litter, a leash and a collar. If you get a cat, you may need to purchase a scratching post to keep your furniture safe. These costs can add up quickly.

Licensing/Chipping: When you buy a new pet, you will want to get them licensed and you may consider having a chip implanted. The license and implant can help ensure your pet comes home to you if it wanders off. These fees vary, depending on the area you live in and you will have to renew your license every year.

Medical expenses: If you are not interested in breeding or unexpected baby pets, you will want to consider neutering/spaying your new furry friend. The cost of this procedure is upwards of $200. This procedure is essential for the safety and health of your pet, especially if you cannot afford to play host to six or more babies.

Additional medical expenses to consider include annual checkups, vaccines medication and insurance. Your family pet, like any other family member, should have annual checkups. This becomes even more important as they get older. Vaccines will keep your pet healthy and safe and help prevent them from passing on some icky illnesses to your family. As your pets age; they are likely to need medication. Additionally, you may end up taking an emergency room visit or two with a naughty pet that noshes something poisonous.

The average cost of a cat for the first year (including new toys, spaying, licensing etc.) is around $1,100. A smaller dog is $1,200 and a large dog close to $2000. The cost will likely go down in the following years, as you will not have to worry about some one-time expenses.

Getting a pet can be a great way to expand your family. However, if the expenses are going to put a strain on your budget, you may want to hold off until you have a larger budget before bringing a new family member home.

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