young girl with pet dog

Owning a pet can be a deeply rewarding experience, but it comes with a fair share of responsibilities and expenses. Let’s delve into the costs and benefits of pet ownership to help you make an educated decision.

The Benefits

  1. Mental Health: According to the National Institutes of Health, dogs and cats can help reduce stress and anxiety. Their companionship can provide emotional support, ease feelings of loneliness and isolation, and boost mood.

  2. Physical Health: Bringing a pet into your life means increasing your daily physical activity levels, from completing additional chores to playing with your new companion. Dogs especially keep their owners more active, and the increased exercise can have lasting physical benefits, such as better heart health.

  3. Social Connections: Owning pets of any breed can be a great way to meet and talk to new people. Whether you’re walking your dog in the park, shopping for new toys for your kitten, or showcasing your pet snake at an exotic animal expo, pets are fantastic conversation starters.

  4. Life Lessons: If your household has a child, they’ll benefit from pet ownership, too. Helping to take care of a pet can teach your child empathy, compassion, responsibility, and the importance of caring for another living creature. Pets can also be a great source of comfort during difficult times.

  5. Protection: The security a dog may provide can be a big benefit. Well-trained dogs can alert you to suspicious activity on your property, deter criminals, and even help defend your family. Some insurance carriers might even offer a discount on your homeowners policy for having trained security dogs on your property.

The Costs

  1. Initial Costs: The upfront cost to adopt a pet will vary based on situation and species. Typically, adopting a pet from an animal shelter costs between $50 and $250 (depending on shelter and animal), while buying from a breeder or pet shop can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

  2. Supplies and Food: Initially, you’ll need to purchase supplies like food, bowls, bedding, toys, and carriers. Some animals may need special habitats to live in. These initial costs can range from less than $50 to more than $100, depending on your chosen pet’s needs and where you purchase supplies.

    The ongoing costs of food and replacements for items like toys, litter, and bedding can easily add several hundred dollars to your budget each year.

  3. Training: If you adopt a dog, you might need to pay for obedience and training classes. Training costs can vary widely based on the intensity and purpose of training. Basic puppy courses typically cost around $150, but behavioral coaching or guard dog training can cost thousands.

  4. Medical Care: Initial medical expenses include vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and a complete checkup, which can cost up to $300 – or even more, depending on your pet’s needs.

    As they age, your pet will also need annual checkups and vaccinations. If they have a medical emergency or illness, it could cost thousands of dollars. Purchasing a pet insurance policy can help cover some of these costs throughout your pet’s lifespan. If your pet will need professional boarding or grooming services, you’ll need to budget with those in mind, too.

  5. Time: Pets, especially young ones or those with special needs, require significant time and attention. This commitment can impact your daily routine and might even lead to additional costs if you need help from a dog walker or a pet sitter.

Unleash Your Finances

While pets bring immeasurable joy, they also come with ongoing responsibilities and expenses. Before you adopt, it’s essential to weigh the potential costs against the undeniable benefits. Remember: A pet is a long-term commitment for both you and your finances. Are you prepared?

Make sure your finances are in tip-top shape so you can provide the best life possible for your new family member. At Citizens Bank, our products and services – like competitive savings accounts and financial planning services – can help you nurture your financial health.