Unexpected costs of owning a pet.

5 Unexpected Expenses of Pet Ownership

Are you considering adding a pet to your family, but worried about the financial burden of a new furry friend? While pet ownership can be expensive, it is a rewarding experience that will bring endless joy and laughter to your household. But, before you bring that bundle of fun home, prepare yourself and your budget for some unexpected changes.

1. Pet Food

Technically this shouldn’t be an unexpected new cost, but you may be surprised at the annual cost of pet food, especially if you go for a higher-quality food brand.

Cats are going to be the cheapest at around $50 a month ($600 a year) for mid-grade food. Dogs will have a range based on the size of the dog (bigger dogs eat more), starting at about $50 per month for cheaper food, and going all the way up to over $200 a month ($2400 a year) for high-quality or specialty food. These prices are per pet, so if you have pets at home already, expect to add this amount on top of what you already spend.

2. Microchipping

According to the American Humane Association, an estimated 1/3 of pets become lost each year, and 80% of those pets are never found. With staggering numbers like those, the cost of microchipping your dog is well worth it.

A veterinarian should implant the microchip, so you will need to spend the approximately $25-60 for the chip itself, as well as any fees your vet has for the exam. Additionally, most chips have an annual registration fee of around $25 a year. Microchips should be used in addition to collars and ID tags to increase the chance you’ll get your pet back should you end up separated for any reason.

3. Dog-Park Subscriptions

Some neighborhood dog parks are provided free of charge, but not every city offers them, so some small businesses have stepped in to offer members-only dog parks. These parks typically come with perks like extra space, cleanliness, and peace-of-mind that the other dogs are vaccinated and safe to be around.

Members-only dog parks are popping up in larger cities all over the country, and depending on where you live, they may be your only option. If you live in an apartment or city with limited yard space, you’ll need a place to let your pup run wild, and this could be your best bet, despite the $50/year cost per dog.

4. Cat Shelves and Perches

Cats love to perch on high-up spaces and look down on the world beneath them. While cat shelves may seem like an unnecessary expense, felines with anxiety or limited play space need an area all their own.

Expect to spend about $100 on a decent cat shelving system, and if you have multiple cats, you’ll want to be sure they each have their own space. Giving your cat a safe zone will ensure peace in your home and make every kitty happy.

5. Grooming

Maybe you selected your dog’s breed based on their limited grooming needs. Or maybe you’re banking on your cat grooming themselves. Trouble is, pets are unpredictable, and you may end up needing professional grooming help for a variety of reasons like pet anxiety, health issues, or even time. Each grooming visit for cats averages $30-70 and, depending on the cat, you may have to go several times a year to help them groom or get rid of mats.

Your dog’s breed will determine their grooming needs. Some dogs just require regular brushing, while others require the full gamut of grooming: bathing, de-matting, trimming, and nail clipping. These services can add up to more than $500 annually. You can save money by doing it yourself, but then you need to factor in the cost of scissors, clippers, shampoo, and more into your pet budget.

While preparing for your new pet, you factored in expected costs like annual vaccinations, vet visits, adoption fees, and toys, but there’s more to bringing a pet home than the basics. Hopefully, you’re more prepared and confident in your decision to adopt a new pet after reading our article.