The Cost of Pets

We promised our son if he earned straight A’s we would get him a dog as a reward for his efforts. Sure enough, Jackson proudly brought home straight A’s and we were on a quest to find a dog. We ended up with a beautiful German Sheppard, named Qwana.  What I didn’t expect is the ensuing vet bills over the first month and one half due to diarrhea and environmental allergies, nor the cost of the  “kennel” we built to keep her outdoors safely.  That got me thinking, what does it really cost to own a pet?  More than non-pet-owners probably realize (which we were prior to Qwana); although if you do own a dog, cat or fish, you probably have a good idea that they’re not cheap.

Start with the initial expenses. You can bring home a rescue pet—not just dogs and cats but also rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, reptiles and sometimes fish—for the cost of a one-time fee (sometimes $0) and, for the mammals, the cost of vaccines, spaying/neutering and a microchip, which can run upwards of $500.  Purebred dogs and cats obviously cost more ( a lot more as we discovered).  The website puts the average one-time cost of bringing a dog home at $838.

What about ongoing expenses?  Hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits need their bedding changed regularly, plus occasional toys and treats.  Add in food, and the cost averages $600-$700 a year.  Cats and dogs need food, treats and toys, yearly medical checkups, flea and tick prevention and licenses.  Cats cost an average of $670 a year, while dogs can cost more than $1,000, depending on size and, therefore, food costs. Those figures don’t include the cost of walkers or sitters—or medical bills if your pet becomes injured or ill.

Of course, it’s hard to be logical about the financial decision of acquiring a pet that has become a loved family member like Qwana to us.  Just be aware of the costs and budget for them ahead of time, and it doesn’t hurt to look into pet insurance plans either.(

Stay Diversified, Stay YOUR Course!


Empyrion Wealth Management (“Empyrion”) is an investment advisor registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Information pertaining to Empyrion’s advisory operations, services and fees is set forth in Empyrion’s current Form ADV Part 2A brochure, copies of which are available upon request at no cost or at The views expressed by the author are the author’s alone and do not necessarily represent the views of Empyrion. The information contained in any third-party resource cited herein is not owned or controlled by Empyrion, and Empyrion does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of any information that may be found in such resources. Links to any third-party resource are provided as a courtesy for reference only and are not intended to be, and do not act as, an endorsement by Empyrion of the third party or any of its content. The standard information provided in this blog is for general purposes only and should not be construed as, or used as a substitute for, financial, investment or other professional advice. If you have questions regarding your financial situation, you should consult your financial planner or investment advisor.

Sign Up for Media Updates