How Much It Really Costs To Own 5 Popular Pets

I just dropped $600 on my 9-year-old Dachshund, thanks to an unexpected paw surgery, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. So it goes when you’re a pet parent. Pet ownership is a $67 billion industry, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) — and growing.

Of course, it’s hard to predict a pooch’s potential medical bills, but surveys can give you a good idea of how much to budget overall if you’re planning to get a pet. We ranked five common pets from most to least expensive, based on the latest National Pet Owners Survey from the American Pet Products Association.

1. Horses

Not surprisingly, horses come out on top, price-wise, thanks to hefty expenses like boarding, stable help and food — on top of trainers, saddles, hoof care and vet visits. All told, the total annual costs can be upwards of $13,000.

First-timers get hit even harder: New horse owners will likely spend $1,500 to $3,000 on the purchase alone. Costs also go up if you’re raising a show horse: Training, entry fees, transportation and trailering add up quickly.

2. Dogs

Canine companions make the most popular pets: 36.5 percent of U.S. households have one, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. But they’re not cheap. The American Kennel Club reports the average dog owner drops more than $3,000 in the first year and about $23,400 over the animal’s lifetime. (Dog owners surveyed by the APPA report spending an average of $2,918 last year between food, medication and vet visits.)

Dog food can cost about $250 a year, but vet visits — whether for routine exams, an illness, emergency or some sort of surgery — are the biggest expense. You can cut the amount you spend at the vet over time, though, by keeping up with preventative care like vaccinations, says veterinarian Lori Bierbrier, ASPCA medical director of community medicine in New York.

3. Cats

Similar to dogs, vet visits for our feline friends can get costly — around $825 a year if there’s a health issue. Routine visits tend to run under $200 a year. Food and non-discretionary spending (think: toys, collars, treats and other supplies) can also add up to more than $200 a year.

APPA spokesperson Tierra Bonaldi says that’s driven by owners in their twenties and thirties, who are spending more on pets than older generations. “This generation is putting off having children and treating pet ownership as training for parenthood,” she says, and pampering their pets.

4. Fish

Fish have a reputation for being cheap, but this isn’t always the case. Ponds, tanks, stands, and aquariums represent the top expenses for freshwater fish, with total annual spending potentially falling in the $1,500 range. (Though, fortunately, such costs aren’t necessarily yearly obligations.) For saltwater fish, tanks, filtration, water conditioners and other supplies are the heavy spending areas. Total annual expenses can land at just over $1,200.

5. Hamsters, Guinea Pigs and Rabbits

These smaller, cuddly pets are likely the best bargain, especially for first-time pet owners. They’re usually easier on the wallet — in part because they usually don’t need vaccinations and their food is less expensive — and they require less work than other pets. “If people are feeding them an appropriate diet and keeping their surroundings clean, that pretty much does it,” Bierbrier says.

Read the original article on Grow. Copyright 2017. Follow Grow on Twitter.

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  • Lava Yuki

    My parents had a dog for 9 years and then a rabbit for 2 years. The dog was like a human child though, so my mum never regretted the expense in the same we she did not regret having me and my brother, paying for all our education, birthday presents and even the rent while at university. We didn’t splurge on the dog though, as in nothing fancy like grooming parlours, designer collars or fancy food. He was a boxer which needed almost no grooming anyway, and we used to get cheap dog food as kind of a supplement to human food (my mum gave him leftovers and mixed in a bit of dog food to make it tastier and economical as well). The real expense was putting him in kennels when on holiday though, as where they live almost everyone has a dog so their in high demand. Also, vet visits as we did not take out pet insurance.

    The rabbit was a lot cheaper as they just kind of eat hay and carrots.

  • alyjarrett

    “This generation is putting off having children and treating pet ownership as training for parenthood.” Well, I’m certainly not training for anything, since I’m never having kids, but man, do I spend money on my 2 cats. On a typical month, I spend $100, half on food and litter, and the other half on upgrading their cat furniture, treating them to new toys or paying friends to cat-sit. That doesn’t even count their vet costs.

    But hey, I’m not having kids, so *shrugs*…beats paying for college!

  • Louise Gleeson

    I’ve got two mini dachshunds and they cost me a fortune but they are worth it. I’ve recenlty written quite a simlar post to this, think some people are totally unaware of how much pet ownership actually costs xx

  • Taryn

    I spend maybe $30 every other month on my cat. I had forgotten how much time had passed since I got him and when he went to a new vet I told her he was 6. She said he was in incredible health, was beautiful and wonderful, just with a little bit more plaque on his teeth than is normal for a 6 year old. Come to find out, he’s 11, which explains the teeth, but makes me so glad he’s this healthy at his age.

  • Jenn

    I quibble a bit with the rabbits as cheap pets point. Rabbits can have complex vet needs (stasis, etc.); we definitely take our rabbit to the vet more than our cat. Additionally, rabbits should never be left alone for more than 24hrs at a time (as prey animals they do not show signs of illness until it is really serious and you need to act immediately), so if you travel you need to factor in pet sitting. Rabbits like to chew things, and I’ve had to replace my iPhone charge probably about six or seven times over the past three years; he’s also chewed through new shoes, Bose speaker cords, etc. There are ways to mitigate that, but it’s good for rabbits to have time to roam outside of an enclosure (rabbits need more space than most people realize), and accidents will happen. Rabbits need a diet that is about 80% hay and then fresh greens; not expensive, but it does add up. I think people think of rabbits as “starter” pets, but they really are complex in their own way and to responsibly own one you need to do your research, be prepared for vet expenses, and be able to monitor regularly.