The 12 Hidden Expenses of Pet Ownership

There’s nothing like the greeting of a wagging tail and a wet nose at the end of a long day (or maybe an indifferent tail flick if you own a cat). Pets do so much to enrich our lives, give us companionship, and frankly, make us laugh—but they also can put a major dent in our bank accounts over the years. It’s estimated that Americans spend roughly $75 billion per year on the pet industry, giving an indication of how much we love our pets, and also how expensive it is to keep one. If you’re thinking about adding a furry friend to your family, you expect regular expenses like food or kitty litter, but owning a pet can involve so much more of a financial commitment than many realize. Wanting to adopt soon? Here are the 12 hidden expenses of pet ownership that you should prepare for.

  1. Replacing Damaged Carpet

    Cost of replacing pet damage to carpet

    Whether it’s claw marks or repeated accidents, pets can wreak havoc on carpet, leaving behind shredded pile, stains or odors that have soaked down to the carpet padding. The cost to replace the damaged material can vary depending on what type of carpet and how big your room is, but you can roughly expect to spend anywhere from $7–$12 per square foot.

  2. Additional Insurance Costs

    Cost of insuring home with large dogs

    Your precious pooch would never harm a fly—unfortunately, your insurance company won’t just take your word for it. While dog bites are usually covered under homeowner’s insurance, if you have a dog (and in particular a larger breed like a Doberman, Rottweiler, or Pitbull) you can expect to pay a slightly higher insurance premium as they may be considered a liability.

  3. Pet Deposits and Rent Add-ons

    Cost of paying pet rent and deposit

    Bringing a pet home with you is going to cost more than the adoption fee: You’ll also have to account for a pet deposit and pet rent if you are leasing your home. Depending on your city’s tenant laws, pet deposits are typically a one-time fee of anywhere from $200–$400 (which may or may not be refundable), and pet rent can range anywhere from an extra $10–$50 per month.

  4. Additional HOA Fees

    Pet fees homeowners association

    Renters aren’t the only ones who have to worry about paying a little extra for Fido or Fluffy. If you own a condo or townhome that belongs to a homeowner’s association, you may be expected to pay a one-time fee for each pet that you bring into your home, which will range according to your HOA rules.

    Related: 20 Common Household Items That May Be Harming Your Pet

  5. Tags and Licenses

    Cost for dog tags and pet license

    A jingling pet collar complete with tag and license is more than just a way to let you hear your pet wandering inside the house—it’s also the law. In most states it’s a requirement to keep up with a license for your pet, which typically costs $10 to $20 annually.

  6. Boarding Costs

    Cost for pet boarding

    When you calculate the cost of your next getaway, don’t forget to include your pet’s room and board along with your flight and hotel. Unless you plan to take your precious pet with you on vacation, expect to pay at least $25 per day to board them while you’re away.

  7. Grooming

    Cost for pet grooming

    A trip to the groomer is so much more than just about looking cute—they keep your pet’s nails trimmed, their teeth brushed, and help their fur stay shiny and healthy. Depending on how big your dog is (and how much hair they have), you can spend anywhere from $30–$90 on a single trip to the groomer.

    Related: 10 House Hacks Every Pet Owner Needs to Know

  8. Annual Vet Visits

    Cost for annual vet visits

    Keeping your pet healthy and happy is part of being a good pet owner, which means that you’ll have at least one annual visit to the vet. Annual visits to the veterinarian include all of the required shots and screenings, and are typically $200–$400 for dogs and a little less for cats at $90–$200.

  9. Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Prevention

    Cost for flea tick and heart worm prevention

    Even if your pet spends most of his or her day lounging around on the sofa, you still need to protect them from harmful parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms that can make them seriously ill. To prevent these critters from attacking your pet, you can give them a topical treatment or a chewable pill, costing you about $160–$200 per year depending on the treatment route you choose.

  10. Pet Daycare

    Cost for pet daycare and dog walker

    Unfortunately, when Monday rolls around, most of us have to leave our pets behind at home while we earn a living to pay for their lavish lifestyle. For some people who work long hours or who live in an apartment, this might mean paying for pet daycare or a dog walking service so that your four-legged friend can get exercise and entertainment during the day—adding up to hundreds of dollars every month.

  11. Toys and Engagement

    Cost for pet toys

    A busy pet is one that is not tearing up your shoes or scratching up your couch. When thinking about bringing a pet home, don’t forget to include the cost of toys, cat trees, and anything else that will entertain them and keep them active.

    Related: For the Dogs: 11 Crazy Home Upgrades Made by Pet Owners

  12. Unexpected Medical Treatment

    Cost for pet medical treatment

    Just like humans, pets can unexpectedly need medical treatment, and sometimes it can even be an emergency. Whether they swallowed a piece of their rubber ball or they have cancer, pet owners need to be prepared to spend a hefty amount at the vet’s office at least once in their pet’s lifetime.

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