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How Much Does It Cost To Own Different Kinds Of Animals?

Since we had to take our 15 year old cat to the vet, it got me thinking about the varying costs of owning different pets. We would not want any other animal right now as he has been hanging out with me since college and he is kind of like a dog in that he fetches, he asks for his food, he sits when told…and on top of that he likes olive oil, mangos, red peppers and various other strange foods for a cat. But anyways…it got me thinking and I decided to go look up some numbers on pet ownership. If you are thinking of getting a new pet, be sure that you know ahead of time what it will cost you annually!

DOGS
The annual cost of a small dog””including food, veterinary care, toys and license””is $420. Make that $620 for a medium dog and $780 for a large pooch. This figure doesn’t include capital expenses for spay/neuter surgery, collar and leash, carrier and crate. (ASPCA)

CATS
About $25 for a litter box, $10 for a collar, and $30 for a carrier. Food runs about $170 a year, plus $50 annually for toys and treats, $175 annually for litter and an average of $150 for veterinary care every year.(ASPCA)

RABBIT
About $90 for a cage, $30 for a carrier and $25 for a litter box. Food runs about $125 a year, plus $25 annually for toys and treats, $125 for veterinary care and $400 annually for litter and bedding material. (ASPCA)

HAMSTER
$35 for a cage, food runs about $50 a year, plus $20 annually for toys and treats, and $220 each year for litter and bedding material.(ASPCA)

FISH
To get set up, a 20-gallon tank, filters and air pump, stand, light & cover, gravel, plants, fish and food will cost you about $200 to $250. Feeding costs are very low””about $15-$20 annually””but there will be some electricity used to run the light and filtration system. (ASPCA)

GUINEA PIG
When you first get your pet, you’ll need to spend about $35 for a cage. Food runs about $75 a year, plus $25 annually for toys and treats, $50 for an annual veterinary check-up and $400 per year for litter and bedding material. (ASPCA)

BIRDS
About $75 for a cage. Food runs about $75 a year, plus $30 annually for toys and treats. (ASPCA)

HORSE
A lot. A real lot. (About.com)

And before you decide to bring home that new friend, be sure in it for the long haul. There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing an animal that is neglected or given away because the owner could not afford to take care of it! I think that pet costs are worth the price of admission for what they bring to your life and would recommend that anyone who can afford one, have one.


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Comments (17)

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  1. “HORSE
    A lot. A real lot.”

    I actually couldn’t stop laughing.

    Very interesting post… I’ve owned several dogs, one cat, and my wife smuggled in a turtle from South America a few years back. (In her pants… I’m not joking)!

    We always, always, always underestimate the price of our animals!

  2. Guinea pigs are a lot more than that. Ours would “whistle” LOUDLY if you didn’t bring her fresh greens on a daily basis.

    Here’s another expense — finding out Dad is alergic only after the kids are attached.

  3. David says:

    Now THAT is definitely an added expense, Ron!

  4. Angie says:

    Having a cat is not even close to the values listed. I spend maybe $12 on food every 4-6 months. $20 on litter every 3-4 months.

    If you have an indoor cat there is no real reason to bring them to the vet yearly

  5. david says:

    I have had a cat for 15 years, and it’s pretty close to my reality. I spend about $17 a month on food and about $8 a month on litter. And I would advise you to bring the cat in to the vet once in a while, even if an indoor one. True that they dont need rabies vaccinations, but there are other things that cats can get sick and die from if not watched.

  6. Enrique S says:

    Let’s see, over the years, we’ve had 2 dogs, 4 cats, a goldfish, a rabbit, a chameleon, bantam chickens, toads, and several turtles. All I need now is an ark!

  7. Wow! Interesting! I was looking for guidelines like this! We are moving in a year and we are getting pets (right now we can’t have them where we live). Nice reference. I will look around for more info about it!

  8. Squawkfox says:

    We have 2 horses, 1 cat, and 1 dog. For the most part the horses just graze in our fields – since we make hay in the summer they eat what comes off the land. The cat is a barn cat, so he gets some kibble but prefers to hunt for his meals. I would say our dog is the most expensive animal on my list due to vet bills. Albeit, the dog is the favorite of the bunch so she stays. 😀

    Animal ownership (especially horses) is a lot more affordable if you have a sustainable means to provide for them and space for them to roam. Living on a farm also opens the opportunity to board horses and earn some extra bucks.

  9. Kira says:

    That’s assuming they never get sick.. we have spent $1,000 on tests and surgery for a cat with a bladder stone, $750 in hospitalization for a dog who ate something unidentified at the park and stopped pooping for a week, and $1,200 for each of two guinea pigs who developed uterine cancer (mother and daughter). While I realize most people would not have spent that much on a guinea pig, are you just going to put your dog down if it can’t poop? She would have died, slowly and painfully, from a ruptured intestine if we hadn’t gotten her to the vet. What if your cat gets her tail rocked over by a chair? Are you going to let her live in pain for months? Factor your pets’ health into what you need to keep in your emergency fund.

  10. David says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Squawkfox, I do look forward to having horses one day!

  11. rhysm says:

    That dog figure is way too low. Food+insurance is 80/month alone for a mid-sized dog. 45/month in food leaves little room for vet trips (which includes an annual check-up and deworming)…so that figure is way too low.

  12. david says:

    Well, it’s from the ASPCA, so it’s probably an average.

  13. david says:

    I agree – and why I linked to my articles on spending over $1000 on our cat. Gotta keep that in mind.

  14. Karen says:

    Our dog is about 40 pounds, and I’d say we spend about $600 a year for his general care. $18 a month for food, $100 a year for vet visits and shots, $160 a year for preventative flea and heartworm medication. We also spend probably $10 every other month on treats and chew toys to keep him occupied.

    We also save $25 a month in a separate savings account as “insurance” in the event of unexpected vet costs. Sort of a doggie emergency fund.

    Yes, it can all get very expensive, but if you’re a pet lover, the benefits really do outweigh the cost. 🙂

  15. I agree with Squawkfox on the horse. I’ve owned mine since I was 10, and she’s always lived on my parents’ ten acres with plenty of pasture in the summer and home-grown hay all winter. I do give her a vitamin supplement for her weak hooves that costs about $30 every two months. Also, now that she’s older, I’m having more done when the vet comes for his yearly visit. She’s soooo worth it, though 🙂

  16. Doug Stewart says:

    The cost of a horse varies so much. I have a horse breeder friend with 120 horses in northern British Columbia who keeps them in a ‘natural’ state. They live semi-wild (no stall, no shelter, not even when giving birth). Just a bit of hay (purchased in volume) in winter. Costs him about $50 per horse, per year. When I lived in the UK, near the towns you could spend 700 pounds ($1000) per year, if you used a professional stable. It is all about where you are, how you keep the horse, what you use it for (shows and competitions are very expensive) and how lucky you are (bad case of colic requiring surgery can set you back $5000 or more). Here is a calculator which might be of interest: http://wowhorses.com/cost-of-a-horse.html

  17. Doug Stewart says:

    Opps…In my previous message, that should have read 700 pounds per month in the UK (for stabling, not counting other costs such as vet).

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