Many of us like pets and have at least one around. They are excellent companions and for many, they are like a family member. But, supporting a pet involves some financial considerations; going overboard with pet care can cause a dent in one’s budget, similar to any other recurring cost. Canadian Industry Statistics data (from 2009) reveals that pet and pet supplies stores had combined operating revenues of $1.4 billion in 2009 (up from $1.2 billion in 2008). The page also shows that sales at pet and pet supplies stores have increased 6.3% per year on average since 2000. With continued, if not rising, demand, it is important to review ways to keep pet costs down, while continuing to provide them good care. This post looks at the costs involved, primarily when bringing home a dog or cat.
Bringing home a pet from the pound saves money as such pets are bound to cost less than purebred ones. Unless the pedigree of an animal is of great significance, adoption might be a good way to provide home to animals from the pound. Typically, pets from shelters are available after they have been neutered, microchipped, and given their shots.
If opting for a pedigreed animal, then it is necessary to learn their specific behavioral issues, grooming requirements, etc. to prepare and allocate a row on the monthly budget sheet. As with other life expenses, it is prudent to shop around to keep grooming and sterilization costs low.
Other One-time Costs
Depending on the animal, some basic equipment such as collar, leash, food and water dishes, brush, litter box, scoop, and toys may be required. If not adopting, then neutering and microchipping may have to be paid for.
- Vet. Finding a good veterinarian, who does not drain your monthly budget is essential and knowing about different costs such as consultation fees, teeth cleaning charges, special charges for overnight stays, etc. would help in determining monthly pet care expenditure. The presence of a general emergency fund will alleviate some financial pain if an unexpected visit due to illness or injury is required.
- Food. Food and treats may cost around $500 per year.
- Licensing. Although licensing fees may not amount to much (< $50 per year), they still need to be considered while preparing a budget.
- Grooming. Depending on the kind of animal, nail clipping, haircuts, etc. may be required.
- Pet Insurance. While I would not buy one, some owners may prefer to buy pet insurance for the peace of mind it can offer. But, as with life insurance, please read the terms carefully and decide if the restrictions placed (certain breeds may not be covered, approved vets may be needed, etc.) are worth the while.
While comparison shopping, also include web stores to see if you can get a deal. Please browse this link to compare prices for food, toys, and medicines.
Do you have pets? What do you spend on your pet on an annual basis? Are there any other ways to save on pet care that one should be aware of?
About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.