5 Ways to Financially Prepare for a New Pet

Preparing for bringing home a pet includes planning for nutrition, health care, training and a financial plan to provide for your new furry family member. Plan for your budget to include veterinarian well visits/vaccinations, food, toys, chews, bedding,  a crate, doggie daycare, grooming and health care products such as flea and tick control, heartworm medication, and supplements. Here’s everything you need to know about the monthly and lifetime costs of owning a pet before you finalize the adoption plans.

Know the True Cost

A 2018 Rover study reports that one-time fees for a dog (which might include adoption fees, neutering and a crate) can cost more than $1,400. Recurring costs include food, medicine, grooming fees, and boarding or dog walking.  

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimated that the annual cost for owning a cat is between $785 and $1,010, which includes food, flea and tick prevention, and insurance. Caring for indoor cats usually costs less than for ones that go outdoors, since indoor cats are less likely to get injured or need flea and tick protection, but still involves regular and occasional expenses.

Set an Estimated Monthly Budget

While exact amounts may vary slightly from month to month, set yourself up for success by creating a tentative monthly budget for your furry new friend. Start with the basics by deciding what kind of dog or cat food you’ll be purchasing and how much you’ll need to buy in a month to keep your pooch or kitty fed.

Next, budget for any monthly medicine that is needed. If you’ll be taking your pet to doggy day care or boarding your animal while you’re out of town on business, take those costs into account as well. And don’t forget about the minor things, like buying new treats or toys. By adding pet expenses as a monthly line item in your budget, you can make sure everything is taken care of.

Plan for the Unexpected

From a chipped tooth to flea and tick medications, unexpected expenses will always crop up. Set up a pet emergency fund each month so you’ll be prepared to pay for vet visits, emergency medication and anything else you might need along the way. It’s important to contribute to this fund on a regular basis so you will be able to properly care for your pet even if you lose your job or have to pay an unexpected insurance deductible.

Decide Whether You Want Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is similar to human health insurance, except that it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions — it typically only covers illnesses and injuries, so it’s important to think about whether it’s the right choice for your animal. If you do choose to move forward with purchasing insurance, compare the prices and offerings of several different companies to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Factor Unique Needs into the Budget

Ask your veterinarian about flea and tick control, heartworm medication and supplements to support the specific needs for your new pet. Supplements may include calming or hip and joint mobility formulations such as those from Purity Preferred products formulated specifically with pets in mind.   

By figuring out how much it costs per month on average to care for a dog or cat, you can make sure you will be well-prepared to welcome your new furry friend home.

Rebekah Bell is a writer who lives in Los Angeles.


  1. https://www.rover.com/blog/true-cost-of-getting-a-dog/ 
  2. https://www.thesimpledollar.com/insurance/pet/do-you-need-pet-insurance-heres-how-to-decide/

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