Adding a pet to your family also means purchasing equipment, food, toys and more for your new creature friend.

The addition of a new family member — whether four-legged, two-legged, furry or not — is an exciting time for everyone in your home. Pet ownership is a commitment, but it’s full of irreplaceable memories and rewards. It’s important to do your homework on the cost of owning a pet to help set realistic expectations. After all, some pets can live 15-20 years or more and it’s our responsibility as their family to help ensure they live a healthy, happy life.

The most preferred pets among families are dogs (my favorite) and cats. These canine and feline companions are often the most expensive pets to own but they can also be the most engaging pets for your family.

Families spend an average of $500 a year, per pet. That amount can increase when you factor in breed, health issues and any personal preferences you have for your pet.

For example: A family who chooses a pedigree dog and plans to have the dog professionally trained, routinely groomed and occasionally boarded will spend more annually than a family who adopts a dog from a shelter or rescue organization, grooms their pet at home and takes the pet on vacation with them. Regardless of your personal plan for your pet, there are areas in which every family needs to put pen to paper.

There are always unexpected expenses with any pet, such as replacing household items that a puppy may have chewed or providing your pet with a birthday gift every year.

Checklists for other pets will vary. For example, fish need only a tank, food and cleaning supplies. Hamsters and guinea pigs require a cage, food, bedding, water bottle and a wheel for exercise. Since they don’t require annual check-ups, the initial cost of owning a hamster or guinea pig is under $100, with a yearly cost of another $100 for food and fresh bedding.

More exotic animals such as a gecko or iguana can be a little pricier due to the fact that they require heat sources such as heating lamps and heating pads to regulate their body temperature. The cost of a gecko’s monthly supply of live crickets will run you around $20. The cost is the same for an iguana’s fresh fruit or leafy greens.

When budgeting, keep in mind the lifespan of the pet you’re considering, in addition to whether your family plans to own multiple pets. Knowing this information on the front end may influence the kind of pet your family chooses, or the number of pets for which you plan.

Regardless of what kind of pet you add to your family, your new addition can certainly be affordable. Giving them a happy, healthy and loving place to call home is the best thing you can ever do for them.

Dog or Cat Ownership Expenses

One-time Costs
Adoption costs: Will the pet come from a breeder, shelter or rescue organization? Costs can range from $40-$9,000. (Do your research.)
First-year veterinary costs Around $500
Spay/ Neuter - Required for dogs and cats $50-$200
Kennel, cage or litter box $40 (Varies by size and brand)
ID tag $5-$30
Supplies (food and water bowls) $5 and up
Baby gates (for puppy) $10 and up
Training $25 per day and up
Annual Expenses
Annual vaccinations $50 and up (depending on any illness/injuries)
Miscellaneous health care (Heartworm, flea and tick, ear, dental, etc.) $500 and up
Collar and leash $15 and up
Monthly Costs
Food $40 and up
Kitty litter $20 and up
Toys $5 and up
Occasional Expenses
Bedding $30 and up
Medication Varies
Grooming $30 to $100 (depending on size of dog)
Boarding $40 per night and up

Anita Sedberry is the founder and owner of Canine Country Club of Arkansas, a dog care facility in Little Rock that offers boarding, doggy daycare, training and grooming, in addition to four acres for play and an in-ground swimming pool. Anita is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and currently is working on her certification for the Karen Pryor Clicker Training. Anita is mom to six dogs who go to work with her every day; however, they all agree it’s more “play” than work at the Club.

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