Pets may seem enticing to many people because of the unconditional love that they give besides other physical and mental benefits therefore, they become eager to have them at home. Due to this, sometimes having a pet becomes an impulsive buy. Owning a pet means a lot of commitment in terms of time and money hence, being cognizant of what one is getting into can help in easing out the unknowns associated with it. One might need to make hefty contributions from their savings for owning and taking care of the pet. Therefore, it is important to know the associated costs.
Mentioned below are the indicative cost buckets for owning a pet which can give you insight for creating a budget for your pet for its monthly and annual expenses. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and it may vary depending upon the type, size, and age and health of your pet, brands you prefer, your lifestyle, and the region.
One-time Initial Expenses:
Buying/Adoption Cost- The first cost is the ownership cost. Buying a specialty breed from breeders may cost you a bomb while adopting a pet from shelter homes/social communities will cost you modest charges. Some adoption shelters also allow people to adopt a pet for no fee. Adoption may also include initial veterinary exams, spay/neuter costs, heart-worm treatment, and other benefits.
This would also include the costs associated with licensing for paper-based buying or for adopting the pet.
Equipment cost for Pet-Proofing: Bringing your little buddies home can be full of challenges. Many of our household items can be hazardous to their health. Hence, it is important to pet-proof our house to prevent such damages. The equipment might include fences to cover your open areas, covers for chimneys, fireplaces, etc. Read more about pet-proofing here.
Food, Nutrition supplements, and Treats- Every pet needs food to survive. The costs related to food can be split into 3 categories- regular food, food supplements (like vitamins, minerals etc.) and treats and it depends on the choice of pet and the preferred brand. A fish might sound pocket-friendly because it eats a few pellets in a day while a dog might sound expensive because it has a higher need for calories. Also, some brand foods may be costlier than the others because of the high-quality food. Check with your veterinarian to discuss your pet needs before selecting a brand.
Startup Supplies: This includes the pet essentials that are needed in your home before you bring your pet. One can read the details of the initial setup kit for their pet here. It includes items such as Food and Water Bowl, Collar, Leash, Training pads, Crate/Cage, Leashes, Tags, Toys, Bedding, First Aid kit, Grooming Essentials, Scratch Pads, Clothes, Litter box, etc.
Vet, Vaccinations, and Deworming: Initial check-up of your pet’s health is vital since we are unsure of their medical history. Many of the dreadful diseases they carry are zoonotic and can be transmitted to humans. Hence, to ensure the well-being of the pet and oneself, a thorough check-up and vaccinations for avoidable diseases is paramount.
Preventive medicines: To prevent your pet from contracting dreadful diseases, a lot of preventive vaccines and antibiotics are available in the market which can be given to the pets on a timely basis.
Spay or Neuter: The health and behavioral benefits associated with spaying/neutering pets outweigh the costs. Hence, to prevent the unnecessary burden of carrying litters or managing fights between unaltered pets of the same gender, it is important to get the surgery done just when the pet reaches sexual maturity.
Insurance: One can never estimate the amount of expenses they might need to shell out to cover for your pet’s maintenance during the year. Hence it is advisable to get your pet insured to mitigate the risks associated with increasing medical expenses and vet fees. The majority of pet insurance companies cover for vet fees, check-ups, vaccinations, preventative medical expenses, and annual medical exams. Read more about pet insurance here.
Please keep in mind that the upfront costs for exotic pets like reptiles will be much higher than the others.
Food Nutrition Supplements, Treats
Poop Bags, Litter, Hay, and other grooming items like Shampoo, Teeth care products, Skincare essentials etc.
Toys and Miscellaneous Supplies
Routine veterinary care: To keep your pet healthy, it is important to have a routine check-up with your veterinarian. This includes routine tests to detect any anomalies in health as well as behavior and provide diagnosis.
Grooming (Professional grooming as well as self-grooming)- Grooming can be a relatively minor cost or a budget-breaking one depending on your pet type. Like reptiles, birds and fishes may not require any grooming while for dogs, long-haired breeds require much more grooming than short-haired breeds
Preventative medications (like Ticks and Flea, Heartworm, etc.).
Annual medical tests and Vaccinations
As needed Expenses:
Training: Pets like dogs, cats, and rabbits may require training (for setting their schedules, for understanding human gestures and sounds etc. ) that can be done professionally or by self at home. Usually, if it is the first time of owning the pet, the professional training is worth the cost.
Traveling: If you want to take your pet with you everywhere you travel either in the car, train or flight, there are several costs involved that are to be considered. This can include expenses pertaining to boarding, fare, lodging, resort permissions, car seat belts, car seat covers, pet taxis, etc. Read more on pet travel here.
Daycare/PetSitting– For some pets like dogs and cats, daycares allow you to leave your pet till the time you are at work and they manage your pet’s playtime, walking, and quiet times on your behalf in exchange for a fee.
Cleaning: There are few expenses like non-refundable fees for pet maintenance in rented homes, fees for cleaning fish tanks or terrariums, etc. that will be required based on pet owners’ needs.
Dog Walking: Owners that find it difficult to spare out time to take their dog for walking, dog walkers could be hired on a need basis
Emergency Health Fund: An emergency fund can take care of the unforeseen circumstances that your met might face like an accident, a major surgery, etc. which could otherwise be difficult
Euthanasia: Although it is difficult to talk about euthanasia of someone really close to you like your pet, but it is important to know the costs associated with it by consulting with your nearest veterinarian
Cremation: To make sure we provide a proper goodbye to our beloved friend so that we can be reminded of all the joy they brought into our lives, one needs to consult a local veterinarian who can help you in understanding the process pertaining to cremation and the costs.
While the companionship of a pet is priceless, taking care of them does come with a price tag. Depending on what kind of pet you choose and the situations you encounter, the cost of owning your pet could run anywhere between a few hundred and several thousand rupees each month. There are a lot of options to budget some of these costs like subscription of pet food delivery via online channels; consulting your vet for affiliates; and engaging in bulk-buying which one can be considered.
If you are contemplating the addition of a pet to your family, plan accordingly, and approach the issue with realistic expectations of the financial implications. Your pet – and your family – will be better off for the effort.