We tend to consider our pets as family members, and reports show a significant increase in pet ownership since the start of the pandemic. According to the ASPCA’s 2021 update of annual pet care costs, on average, the cost of owning a dog runs about $3,221 in the first year, with cats not far behind at $1,904. Professor Pig is here to help you budget for owning a pet using a few basic commands.
Come - Bringing Home Your New Furbaby
Welcoming a new pet is an exciting time and one that involves a lot of decisions. Dog or cat? Purebred or mutt? One or two?
Adopting a pet is more economical than working with a breeder, and helping to clear the local shelter is great for your community! As a bonus, spay or neutering and vaccines may be included at a discount or even free of charge.
Most cities require cats and dogs to be licensed and registered, usually about $5 or 10 with proof of rabies vaccination. You may also want to consider microchipping and registering your pet with a service like HomeAgain to ensure you will be reunited if they stray or are lost.
Check with your apartment manager or homeowner’s association to ensure you’re aware of any deposits or recurring fees upfront.
Sit - Do Your Research
Take a seat and do your research before spending a lot of money on pet food and supplies. Depending on the type animal, a new pet needs a good place to sleep, food, a litter box, toys, a collar, leash, and those are just the basics!
Take some time to shop around for the best deals. Like humans, the better the food we put into our pets, the healthier they are! Buying pet food in bulk will likely save the most money, but online retailers like Amazon and Chewy, as well as brick-and-mortar pet stores like PetCo and PetSmart, offer subscription programs and loyalty rewards that can help cut costs.
Keep an eye out for manufacturer coupons and stock up on food and supplies while they are on sale. Check out Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor for great deals on unused and second-hand items in your area. When it comes to toys, sometimes spending a bit on one of the more durable varieties may help it last longer. Baking your treats can be a fun and healthy alternative to pricy store-bought varieties.
Donating unused items or things your pet has outgrown like beds, crates, blankets, towels, toys, and bowls to local shelters to make a difference in your community.
Stay - Healthy!
A healthy pet is a happy pet. Preventative care is as vital for pets as it is for us! Veterinary costs can be a significant portion of your pet budget, so it is best to schedule regular checkups and keep their vaccinations current to avoid surprises.
Watch for vaccination clinics in your area. Usually held annually, they offer discounted rates on standard vaccines and other services. Ask your vet for coupons or visit sites like PetMeds and GoodRx for discounts on pet medications.
Pet insurance can provide peace of mind while helping to defray costs associated with accidents or illnesses. You can customize your policy to cover wellness, accidents, and illnesses, or only accidents. BuyersGuide.org, Consumer Voice, and Investopedia have published handy overviews of various providers. Best of all, having pet insurance will help you avoid dipping into your emergency fund.
Regular grooming is an integral part of caring for your pet, and frequently, one of the most expensive. If you’ve got a patient pet and a good supply of courage, you may be able to save money by grooming your pet at home. There are a variety of well-stocked grooming kits and instructional videos available online. Turn it into a family activity and ask the kids to help with the bath! Your vet can be an excellent resource for advice on nail-trimming and teeth-brushing.
Play and exercise are critical to any pet’s health. A cat should have a variety of exciting toys. A cat tower for climbing and scratching post are also great ideas. Dogs need toys to chew on and time to play as well as regular walks. Grab the family and head to the park for a fun afternoon for the whole family!
Your training is complete! Now that you know what to expect and how to budget, you are ready to welcome a new furbaby!