Pet Adoption and Your Finances

You’re scrolling through social media when you see an image of those big-eyes and sweet face that says “pick me!” Before you know it, you’re heading into the local animal shelter or breeder to find your newest family member. Those who know me know that I am a committed and incurable dog lover. We have a pack of four rescued dogs and one foster dog at this time, and can’t imagine life without them!  

Falling in love with a new pet is easy. They can provide a lot of joy to you and your family. However, making the decision to adopt a pet shouldn’t be taken lightly. While pet ownership is extremely rewarding, it is also a big responsibility both in time and resources. Here are some things you may want to consider prior to pet ownership.

Initial Cost

These are the fees associated with acquiring your new pet. These include adoption costs, vaccinations, training, etc. The price of purchasing your pet depends on whether you are buying from a breeder or adopting from an animal shelter.

  • Breeder – The price of purchasing from a breeder is generally influenced by the demand for the particular breed of animal. Avoid purchasing your pet from an illegitimate breeder — their practices tend to be money focused rather than on the care of their animals. The Partnership for Animal Welfare provides a guide for identifying the difference between legit and illegitimate breeders.
  • Animal Shelter – Adoption costs from an animal shelter vary depending on location. Shelter adoption costs may or may not include additional expenses like spay/neuter, microchipping, initial vaccinations, etc. Do your research.

Food Costs

A large portion of your pet budget will go toward pet food. Prices can vary depending on the type of food you opt to purchase and the size of your pet. A large dog, for instance, will go through a 50-pound bag of food quicker than a small dog just by the nature of how much food they require daily. Research food options to determine what meets your pet’s needs and your budget.

Medical Costs

Typically, the most expensive part of owning a pet is the medical costs. A yearly visit to the vet for a routine checkup can run anywhere from $50 to a couple hundred dollars depending on vaccinations, parasite testing/prevention, etc.

  • Yearly preventative medication – Examples of these include heartworm and flea prevention and can cost $20 or more per month.
  • Dental care – Dental cleanings can run a couple hundred dollars for both dogs and cats. The frequency of dental cleanings needed depends on the dental health of the animal.
  • Spay and neuter – The cost of neutering or spaying a cat can range from $45 to $100 in most locations. For dogs, the surgeries can be up to $200 depending on the vet and facility.
  • Breed-specific medical issues – Certain breeds of animals are more prone to medical issues than others. Make sure you research the animal breed you are interested in to determine if there are specific health issues that need to be budgeted for.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is similar to health insurance for humans. Pet owners pay a monthly premium to help offset the cost of medical expenses for your pet. It can be used for routine vet visits and emergencies, depending on your plan. The ideal time to purchase pet insurance is when you first get your pet. This reduces the chance of your pet being ineligible due to pre-existing health conditions. The cost of pet insurance can vary depending on breed, provider, etc., but typically ranges from $15 to $75 per month.

dog lying in bed looking at cameraPets are a wonderful addition to a home, but they are also an investment. You’ll want to evaluate your current finances to determine whether or not it is an ideal time to purchase and care for a new pet. If the time is right, your budget will include the funds required to love and maintain your pet. Your financial advisor can provide advice, and in my case, personal experience in helping you to make your decision.

Wood Smith Advisors, a woman-owned Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), is a fee-only financial services firm that partners with its clients to simplify their financial lives. We focus on women, entrepreneurs and individuals with complex financial situations, providing objective and competent advice, education and services to help them develop and build their businesses and reach their financial goals. We can be reached by clicking here.

"Finance Made Simple" blog posts are intended for educational purposes and not for specific advice. Each person’s situation is different. Consult your financial advisor for advice relating to topics discussed.

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