What’s the Annual Cost of Pet Ownership?

There’s a reason some company benefits now include pet insurance: Owning a pet can be a serious expense.

In fact, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – and as recently charted on this infographic – the average annual cost of owning a pet can reach $580 for a small dog, $670 for a cat or $875 for a large dog.

Personal-finance management service Mint.com estimates the average cost of pet ownership as $112 a month (or $148 in San Francisco, an expensive city) – adding up to an average of $1,344 per year. Multiply that by the median lifespan of a dog – 12.8, according to WebMD – and you could expect to spend roughly $17,200 throughout your pet’s life.

How do these numbers break down? The ASPCA’s conservative estimate of $695 for a medium size dog includes:

  • 34 percent ($236) for medical expenses.
  • 32 percent ($222) for health insurance.
  • 17 percent ($118) for food.
  • 8 percent ($56) for toys and treats.
  • 2 percent ($14) for a pet license.
  • 6 percent ($42) for miscellaneous expenses.

Of course, with their incredible ability to lower anxiety , a pet may actually save you money, since you may no longer need psychotherapy sessions or anti-anxiety medication. So ultimately, Boomer may be paying his own way.

How much do you think you spend per year on your pet? Are your pet expenses budgeted?


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  1. 1

    Wow, oh god .. that’s a LOT of money for a dog! I don’t have pet insurance, because my dog has hip dysplasia and it’s considered a preexisting condition. I have a membership with Pet Assure through my employee benefits, which basically discounts me 25% at the vet. But yeah, it’s definitely expensive to own a furry friend!

    • 3

      You’re absolutely right, Carol. For many, pets have become a part of their family and the costs are definitely worth it for them. Thanks for sharing with us!

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