A dog hides his face as his pet parent reviews expenses related to his care.

5 Pet Expenses You May Have Forgotten

Pets are lovable, affectionate, and expensive. America’s 85 million pet-owning families spent more than a combined 100 billion dollars on their dogs, cats, fish, birds, and other pets in 2020. Even pet parenthood novices are aware of regular expenses like food and veterinary care, but certain costs can catch cat and dog owners (even seasoned ones) by surprise. Keep these oft-forgotten costs in mind to avoid unexpectedly breaking your pet care budget.

Security Deposits and Fees

If you rent, moving into a new house or apartment could mean paying extra money up-front on your pet’s behalf. Unless your pet is a certified service animal, it’s perfectly legal for property managers to insist on an additional charge. Specifics will vary from property to property, so be ready to discuss your pet while house-hunting and conduct some negotiations if necessary. You may be able to get your money back if your property manager agrees to charge a pet-specific security deposit as opposed to a non-refundable fee.

Homeowners Insurance Rates

Purchasing a home may not protect you from extra fees associated with pet ownership. Roughly five million people are bitten by dogs each year and the perceived risk leads some homeowners insurance providers to charge dog owners extra. Breeds including the American Pit Bull Terrier, German Shepherd, and Rottweiler are often associated with elevated premiums. Certain providers will even deny coverage to people with specific types of dogs altogether. Be prepared to shop around!

New Clothes and Furniture Repairs

The teething process is no joke for dogs and cats. As their permanent chompers grow in, young pets may try to soothe their aching gums by gnawing on furniture, shoes, and other household objects and furnishings. Some pets never outgrow the insatiable desire to chew. Even if you’re successful in diverting some of their chewing with treats and specially-designed toys, you probably won’t manage to intervene every time. For cats, scratching is a lifelong instinct that can leave their humans contending with damaged furniture and torn curtains for more than a decade. Surgical declawing is generally considered inhumane, so cat owners can expect to shell out for scratching posts if they want to reduce the risk of damage.

Travel Costs

Whether you’re bringing four-legged family members along or leaving them behind, travel could mean a host of pet-specific expenses. To fly with pets, you may need to purchase an approved crate or pay a special fee to the airline. That’s in addition to any medical expenses you may face to ensure your pet can travel safely. Once you’ve reached your destination, even dog and cat-friendly hotels may tack on an extra pet fee or refundable deposit. Pets who are staying put will still need to be walked and fed. If you don’t have family or friends to lend a helping hand, this will likely mean paying to board your pet at a kennel or purchasing the services of a professional pet sitter.

Pet Insurance

Just a small fraction of the nation’s more than 135 million domestic dogs and cats are currently covered by a pet insurance policy. Uninsured pet parents not only miss out on savings, but could wind up facing huge medical bills in the event of pet health emergencies like broken bones or poisoning. Promising the potential for continuous savings over the lifetime of a pet, insurance policies are one neglected expense that’s definitely worth remembering. Don’t wait, premiums are generally cheaper for young, healthy cats and dogs than for older ones.