Planning is a significant part of making any decision. As you do research about owning a new pet, it’s important to consider the initial and overall expenses required to take care of your pet for life. East Valley Animal Hospital (your local pet clinic serving Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa) knows that once your pet steps foot in your home, it will become part of your family. That means you’ll do anything necessary to ensure its wellness, so it’s best to plan ahead and be prepared.

1. Initial Purchase

The purchase price of your new fluffy friend will vary greatly, depending on where you purchase and the breed you choose. If you’re buying it from a breeder, we recommend selecting a Reputable Breeder as opposed to a backyard breeder. Not only will you receive a fairer price through a reputable breeder, but you will also have the confidence that your animal did not come from a puppy mill and was treated humanely.

If you’re choosing to rescue an animal from a shelter, you should still expect to pay something for your pet. The shelter has likely kept your four-legged friend’s vaccinations and treatments up-to-date, and possibly even neutered or spayed them.

Included in the cost of acquiring your new pup or feline will be the cost of an initial checkup with the vet, which may include shots and vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and/or flea and heartworm treatments.  

2. Lifetime Medical and Emergency Care Expenses

Medical costs for your pet will arguably be the largest expense over their lifetime. Depending on the age and health of your pet, you can anticipate making one to two scheduled checkups at the vet each year, which will include any necessary shots, as well as flea and heartworm prevention. If your pet remains healthy, this might be your only annual medical expense. However, it’s a good idea to save a little money each month for unexpected vet visits or emergency care.

3. Food Expenses

Whether you opt to choose high-end or budget pet food, feeding your cat or dog throughout its lifespan will make up another large portion of your monthly cost of owning a pet. If you’re wondering about selecting the right food, check out one of our previous blog posts for more information.

4. Equipment Expenses

Depending on the pet, the cost of equipment for your furry friend will vary widely. If you require a fence for your outdoor dog, then the upfront cost of owning your pet will be higher. Additional equipment can include food and water bowls, toys, leashes, chews, and treats.

5. Additional Miscellaneous Expenses  

  • Training: This category is more applicable to dogs. If you want Fido or Fifi to be on his or her best behavior, you may consider investing in a trainer. The alternative would be training him or her yourself, which will require a higher level of emotional energy and a greater time commitment.
  • Boarding: If you don’t have friends or family who enjoy looking after your animal when you’re out of town or on vacation, you may need to board your pet at a local kennel. These costs can add up quickly, especially if you travel frequently.
  • Walking Services: Another cost that will only apply to dogs is a walking service. If you work long days and have to leave your pup at home, you may need to enlist the help of a neighbor or even a professional dog-walking service.
  • Grooming: When purchasing a specific breed of cat or dog, take into consideration the possible cost of any ongoing coat maintenance.

These categories are not an exhaustive list of possible expenses you might incur over the lifetime of caring for your pet, but they’re a good place to start. In planning for your new four-legged friend’s arrival, take time to sit down and calculate the monthly costs and potential lifetime costs of owning your pet. If you have further questions about the financial investment of owning a pet, don’t hesitate to contact East Valley Animal Hospital, your local pet clinic serving Chandler, Mesa, & Gilbert.


Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst (6/14/2018)