The Costs of Owning a Pet

Most of us grew up with a pet. Now that you have a place of your own, you may be thinking, you’d like to have a pet to welcome you home each day after work. You can go for walks or just curl up on the sofa. A dog could also provide protection.

Then you remember the other responsibilities involved in caring for a pet:

  • Flea protection
  • Food
  • Litterbox cleaning
  • Obedience training
  • Vaccinations

No worries, you did all that growing up as part of your contribution to the family. Maybe it wasn’t fun but you loved your pet and it was part of taking care of it.

According to, these are the ten biggest benefits to owning a pet:

  1. Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
  2. Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.
  3. Kids with pets get outside more—to go for walks, run and play—and enjoy all the associated health benefits.
  4. Pet owners require fewer doctor visits.
  5. Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.
  6. Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to "parent play"—to practice being caregivers.
  7. Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.
  8. Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.
  9. Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.
  10. Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety.

Okay. You’ve decided to adopt a pet but how much is it going to cost on your tight budget? That depends on several factors

  • Dog or cat?
  • Kitten or puppy?

Adopting a mature dog has some advantages. For one thing, you’ll be able to learn about the animal’s history. By asking certain questions it will be easy to determine if the dog will be a good fit. Find out why the animal is up for adoption. Is he or she good with children? Has it ever been around other animals?

More reasons to consider adopting mature pets:

  1. Senior dogs at shelters need homes just as badly as younger dogs. 
  2. Adopting an older dog may save its life by recuing it from an overcrowded shelter before it’s put down.
  3. Older dogs are not necessarily “problem dogs” as many tend to think. Senior dogs need homes and make wonderful household pets.
  4. Older dogs usually come trained and understand at least basic commands.
  5. You can teach old dog new tricks. Dogs can be trained at any age.
  6. Older dogs are calmer and less energetic than younger dogs.
  7. Older dogs make instant companions.

Whether you decide to adopt a mature dog or a playful kitten or puppy, you should consider the financial costs involved in owning any pet:

Some expenses of owning a pet are ongoing throughout their lifetime:

  • Cat Litter
  • Flea protection
  • Food

In addition, some costs of owning a pet are necessary but may be a one-time or periodic event:

  • Grooming
  • Obedience training
  • Spay/Neuter
  • Vaccinations

To help with some of the cost, every large city has a local pet clinic that provides low cost spay and neuter services to pet owners as well as flea protection and vaccinations. They also have resources to find a veterinarian or obedience training. One of the best resources is other pet owners you meet while walking your dog or visiting the dog park.

Don’t forget that the primary cost of owning a pet is time. If you put in the time to care for, feed, train, and protect your pet it will love you unconditionally and will return your affection whole heartedly.