What Getting a Pet Will Cost You

What Getting a Pet Will Cost You

We love pets, but the playing field changes once there’s a little kid at home asking (nay, begging) for a cute creature to call her own.

62% of U.S. households—72.9 million homes—have a pet, according to the 2011-2012 American Pet Product Association’s National Pet Owners Survey.

All the more reason your kid will want one. (“But, Mom! Brian just got an awesome turtle!”)

First, if you’re having trouble deciding whether a pet makes sense for you, take our “Can You Afford A Pet?” quiz. Once you’ve made the decision to start a menagerie, be sure to consider all your options—and how much each animal is likely to cost you.

Here’s what you can expect to spend per year on a dog, cat, fish, bird, small animal or reptile, based on what pet owners spent in 2011.

Dog Cat Freshwater Fish Bird Small Animal* Reptile
Toys $43 $21 $25 $98 N/A N/A
Food $254 $220 $26 $99 $81 $78
Groomer/Grooming aids (including test kits for fish) $73 $34 $15 $37 $27 N/A
Kennel/boarding $274 $166 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Other supplies $66 $69 $32 N/A $80 $78
Routine vet visits $248 $219 N/A $117 $147 $97
Travel expenses $78 $48 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Vitamins $95 $43 N/A $24 N/A N/A
Total: $1131 $820 $98 $375 $335 $253
* Includes chinchilla, ferret, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, Hermit crab, mouse/rat, pot-bellied pig, prairie dog and rabbits.

These numbers include the basics like food, but some pets will come with more additional expenses than others (dog walkers, crates, pet insurance, etc.), especially when the unexpected crops up.

Discussion of the Day

Have you ever had an unexpected medical expense for your pet? What did you do?Share Here

That said, having a pet comes down to a lot more than numbers, and it can be a great way to help teach your kid about responsibility: to learn to love, be loved and know that her actions affect others.

Are you (or did you) get your child a pet? Why or why not?

And Here’s How to Save on ‘Em …

For 13 ways to save money on your new dog, read this.

No matter what kind of pet you have, here’s how to lower your expenses.

When picking your pooch, you might want to shy away from the 11 most expensive dog breeds.

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