6 Costs to Consider Before Deciding to Get a Pet
Are you considering becoming a pet owner? There are many benefits to being a “pet parent,” not the least of which is the strong bond you form with your animal. Unfortunately taking care of a pet can also come with some major costs you’ll need to plan for ahead of time.
With that, here are six costs and expenses you’ll need to consider before deciding to get a pet.
6 Common Costs That Come With Pet Ownership
Pet Deposit and Rent
If you live in an apartment or otherwise rent your home, there’s a strong chance you’ll want to talk to your landlord before bringing home that adorable puppy or kitten. That’s because oftentimes you’ll need to consult your lease and ensure you’re able to have pets on your property. Contrary to the “ask forgiveness, not permission” manta, in this case, you’ll probably want to inform your landlord ahead of time of your plans instead of telling them afterward and running into trouble (or having them discover your hidden pet in some other fashion).
Once you’ve established that you are able to have pets at your home, there’s a chance you’ll be subject to a few different fees. In many cases landlords will collect both a pet deposit and monthly “pet rent.” Obviously these fees can vary but could amount to a few hundred dollars for the deposit plus as much as $50 (or more) per month. Once again, this is why it’s a smart idea to look over your lease ahead of time and inquire about your property’s policies to that you can factor these fees into your budget.
Regardless of what type of pet you bring home, they’re going to need to eat. And, just like humans, your pet may have dietary restrictions you’ll need to adhere to. As a result the amount you set aside for pet food may need to be adjusted over time as you find the products that are best for their health and that they enjoy the most.
Of course pets also enjoy the occasional treat. Whether you want to use treats to reinforce good habits or just want to spoil your best friend, there’s no shortage of pet-centric treats to be found these days. As a result it’s easy to get carried away with trying to treat your pet, so make sure you have a budget for this as well.
Speaking of good behavior, while some pets are perfect angels from the moment you take them home, others might need some direction. Whether you want to limit the number of messes you’re cleaning up or teach your pet not to wake you up in the middle of the night, training classes may be a good investment. Since they rarely come free, this is yet another potential cost to add to your list.
Toys and accessories
You know what they say: pets just want to have fun. Okay, that’s not the saying but it is true that toys and other accessories can be helpful in getting your pet exercise and playtime. Depending on your pet, you may need to replace these toys more frequently than you might be prepared for. Luckily you can find affordable toys at various retailers or online. Alternatively, there are pet subsctiption boxes that will regularly send you new toys and treats. However, while convenient, these services might end up costing you significantly more than you would spend buying a la carte.
Other accessories you may need to pick up for your pet may be less fun and functional. For example smaller items such as leashes and collars may come at a low cost while larger items such as kennels/carrying crates or scratching posts might be a bit more expensive. And then there are potty-related accessories you may require such as litter and litter boxes for cats or pads and even grass patches for pups. While some of these may be costs you only incur once or every few years, others are more frequent and can add up quickly.
Just like you and me, pets require the occasional visit to the doctor — or veterinarian, in this case. From early procedures, such as vaccinations and spay/neutering to checks up and medications, it’s critical that you keep vet visits in mind when determining your pet budget. This is even more important as your pet grows older and you may need to make some tough decisions about their care.
Sidenote: did you know that there are insurance policies for pets? Similar to human healthcare, there are various policies to cover your pet from “nose-to-tail,” including accidents, injuries, and illnesses. So, if you don’t like unexpected expenses and would rather have a monthly premium you pay instead, these types of policies may be worth looking into.
Travel fees or pet-sitting costs
Even if you’re not a certified jetsetter, chances are you take at least a couple of trips per year that take you away from your home for a few nights. On these occasions you’ll need to decide whether it makes more sense to take your pet with you or pay someone to take care of your pet while you’re away.
If you opt for Plan A, you may be subjected to various fees, such as cabin fees if you plan on flying with your pet. These fees can vary by carrier but can be upwards of $100 each segment of your itinerary. By the way, if you do plan on boarding a plane with your pet, you’ll want to check your carrier’s various policies and perhaps consult your vet to ensure your pet is prepared to fly.
Once you arrive at your destination, there may be more fees to encounter if you’re staying at a hotel. If a hotel allows pet (heads up: not all of them do), they may charge an extra per-night pet fee. Additionally some may request non-refundable deposits or “cleaning/sanitation fees” for stays with pets.
As for Plan B, while you may be able to find friends or loved ones willing to look after your pet for free, depending on the length of time you’re away and the number of tasks your pet sitter will need to do, it’s probably a good idea to offer them some sort of compensation — be it a gift from your travels, some reciprocal favors, or just cash. Of course another option for ensuring your pet is well cared for while you’re out of town is pet boarding. These hotels for pets typically charge a per night fee but will provide your pet with care and companionship while you’re away. Once again, these services may have their own restrictions and policies you’ll need to adhere to so make sure to do your research before booking your pet’s stay.
Being prepared for the costs that come with pet ownership is not only important for your budget but is critical for your animal. Getting into a situation where you can no longer afford to take care of your pet would be devastating and is something no “pet parent” would ever want. Therefore, before heading to your local breeder, rescue organization, or shelter, be sure to consider all of these potential costs and factor your new best friend into your budget.
Also published on Medium.