This is a common question that doesn’t have an easy answer. There are websites that offer dollar amount lists of the costs associated with care of a cat or dog. However, there are so many variables when it comes to the cost of owning and caring for a pet, these lists can be very misleading.
What are the variables?
First, and perhaps most expensive among the variables is the cost of veterinary care. The prices of veterinary services are not standardized. Where you live may have a big impact on the cost of veterinary care. In my experience, veterinarians near a large city will charge more and on average, veterinary services in some states may be more expensive than in others. Pricing is largely dependent on the market and demand. Ask a few reputable, local veterinarians for a list of standard procedure and office visit pricing.
Food is another important variable because food prices vary a lot! From grocery store brands to high-end organics (and everything in between) there is a huge variety of pet food choices. Before adopting your pet you should research foods and determine the food you will buy. Your choice of food should be based on nutrition content and your budget.
Before adopting a pet find out if you have to pay an additional fee to your landlord or homeowner’s association. Sometimes you have to pay a monthly or yearly fee and the amount may depend on the number of pets you have.
Here is a general list of supplies and services you should factor in to your pet budget.
Waste management (Litter box, litter, bags, poop scoop, etc.)
Boarding expenses (if you travel)
Miscellaneous: Brush, comb, food dish, nail clipper, hairball remedy, shampoo, collar, leash, crate, etc.
If you are a first time pet owner this list and the associated costs may seem daunting. The good thing is that many items such as food dishes, brushes, crates, and other items may last forever or at least a very long time.