Bringing home a furry bundle of joy can be a life-changing moment. For starters, you’ve just gained a best friend, but you’ve also gained a whole lot of responsibility.


Between house training, obedience lessons, vet visits, buying all of the toys and treats, and, of course, taking the time to truly bond with your new pet, it’s a big commitment on your time and your finances.


Even employers have taken notice, with more and more companies offering “pawternity” leave in the form of days off or a flexible work schedule to allow employees the opportunity to help their fur baby settle into their new home.


How can you tell if you’re ready for such an undertaking? For starters, it helps to know what exactly to expect. Here’s a rundown of the costs you can anticipate with a new dog or cat.


    The majority of pets come from friends and family members, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). If you fall into this category, you may not feel a financial hit up front.

    If you adopt from a shelter, you might pay up to $300, depending on the type of animal and breed, according to Money magazine. Many shelters will offer discounts when they’re full or beyond capacity, so be sure to check. Pet stores may run slightly higher, but it pays to make sure you’re getting an animal that’s healthy and well cared for.

    If you’re looking for a pure breed, expect to spend even more. Dogs can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000, and cats can run from $300 to $1,200, according to The Finance Geek. If you’re adopting the pet to show, you can easily double or triple these rates.


    There are no federal laws mandating the licensing of pets, according to the Michigan State University Animal Legal & Historical Center. Though all states require some sort of licensing for dogs. While fees can be nominal (about $10 to $20), you can be fined much more if this detail isn’t addressed. Cats are not required to be licensed in any state except Rhode Island, although cities and municipalities often require it.


    Some shelters and pet stores will conduct an initial checkup, take care of spaying/neutering and administer shots as part of the adoption package, but others do not. Check to see if you’ll need to enlist your own veterinarian for this. Here’s what you can expect to pay when you do, according to Petfinder:


    • First checkup: $100 to $400
    • Spaying/neutering: $35 to $200
    • Annual exam: $45 to $200
    • Emergency care: Up to $2,000 or more in some cases


    • First checkup: $50 to $400
    • Spaying/neutering: $25 to $200
    • Annual exam: $50 to $400
    • Emergency care: Up to $2,000 or more in some cases

    While these are average costs, yours could be lower or higher. A dog in need of chemotherapy or an organ transplant can run up $8,000 or more in expenses, according to The Finance Geek. Luckily, pet health insurance can help with emergencies, and some humane societies offer low-cost solutions.


    According to Petfinder, dog food can range from $165 to $230 per year; cat food from $120 to $200 (and that doesn’t include treats). Bowls and water dishes can cost a few dollars to a hundred dollars or more for automated feeding systems.

    At a minimum, a good dog collar or harness and leash for walking can cost $40 or more. A cat box may run $10 to $25 and up, depending on styles. The average annual cost for litter will run from $120 to $150 per year.


    You can groom a dog or cat on your own, but if you go with a groomer, according to Angie’s List, dogs can cost between $30 and $90, depending on the breed and size, whereas cats will run between $30 and $50.

    Prices for boarding vary depending on facilities and can range from $20 per day at an average facility to more than $100 for something fancier. The same holds true for dog-walking services.

    Doggie daycare costs can vary widely — between $12 and nearly $40 for a typical 10- to 12-hour day, according to Costhelper. An average dog with typical needs might cost $750 a year above and beyond what you pay to get your new best friend. It may very well be worth the cost, especially when you consider that it’s been proven that a pet can have positive health benefits, too. Just know the costs going in so you can focus on enjoying your new pet.

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