Adding up 7 costs of owning a pet

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Adding up 7 costs of owning a pet

That lovable puppy or kitten at the shelter will steal your heart. But before you go to the shelter, count the costs of pet ownership so you can budget your spending while keeping Fluffy or Fido happy. Consider what you’ll pay for your dog or cat in food, vet visits, boarding while on vacation, toys and treats, bath and grooming, and beds.

Click through the slides for seven costs of owning a pet.

Premium pet food for one year

Premium pet food for one year
— Average cat: $102 to $203.

— Small dog: $96 to $192.

— Medium dog: $188 to $225.

— Large dog: $260 to $276.

Food treats
— Dogs: $64.

— Cats: $37.

Sources: Iams pet food and a 2008 consumer survey by the American Pet Products Association.

The fine print: Premium food promotes better digestion and a healthier pet, according to Iams and animal advocacy groups such as Born Free USA. These advocates say that cheaper foods contain fillers your pet can’t digest. That leads to more, ahem, waste.

Veterinary care for one year

Veterinary care for one year
— Per dog: average $200 (AVMA).

— Routine care (vaccines and well visits): $225 (APPA).

— Average annual cost of surgical visits when needed: $532 (APPA).

— Per cat: average $81 (AVMA).

— Routine care: $203 (APPA).

— Surgical visits when needed: $278 (APPA).

How about getting a feathered friend, which can be cheaper? The annual costs of owning a bird can tally about $200, according to the ASPCA, and about $85 of that goes to annual veterinary costs.

Sources: American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and American Pet Products Association (APPA).

The fine print: The AVMA’s vet care costs include physical exams, emergency care, dental care, grooming, boarding, drugs, food, flea and tick products. APPA numbers, based on consumer responses, included vet care only, separated into routine visits and medical/surgical care. ASPCA numbers include an exam, vaccinations and relevant preventive medicine.

Taking care of Fido and Fluffy when you can’t

Taking care of Fido and Fluffy when you can’t
— Overnight boarding dogs: $14 to $39 (and more) per night.

— Overnight boarding cats: $9 to $15 (and more) per night.

— Doggie daycare: $12 per day. Add more for play sessions.

— Pet sitting: $16 for a half-hour visit to include feeding, potty breaks, medicine if needed, love and attention. Additional walks $5 per 15 minutes.

Per year averages
— Cats: $255.

— Dogs: $273.

Sources: Stone Henge Kennels and Williamsburg Pet Resort, Williamsburg, Va.; Lucky Dog Enterprises, Colorado Springs, Colo.; American Pet Products Association.

The fine print: Boarding prices will vary by region, time of year and by the size of the dog. Some kennels offer a discount for the second dog in the family. Any facility that describes itself as a resort might be more costly.


— Bath for small dogs: $20 to $30 to include nails, ears, brushing, bathing and drying.

— With haircut: $30 to $50.

— Bath for large dog: $25 to $50.

— With haircut: $25 to $50.

— Up to $80 for longhaired dog with matted hair.

— Annual spending, professional dog grooming: $165 to $220.

— DIY grooming aids cats: $22.

— DIY grooming aids dogs: $65.

Source: Petco, Lucky Dog Enterprises and APPA.

Pet extras per year

Pet extras per year
— Dog toys: $40.

— Cat toys: $19.

— Dog beds: $39.

— Cat beds: $30.

— Dog crates: $80.

— Cat cages/crates: $30.

— Dog carrier: $35.

— Cat carrier: $40.

Dog harness/halter: $25.

Flea/tick control products
— Cats: $57.

— Dogs: $76.

DIY training

DIY training
— Books, pamphlets, videos on cat care and training: $35.

— Books, pamphlets, videos on dog care and training: $18.

The fine print: These items are free on loan from the public library. But if your pet chews up a library book or video, there often is a reshelving fee added to the replacement cost.


— Invisible Fence Brand: $1,200 to $1,800 for one pet for one-fourth to one-half acre with lifetime warranty, on-site training and continuing support, and one-year pet containment guarantee. Add $300 per pet for additional pets.

— Chain link fence: $1,935 to $2,881 for 215 linear feet of four- to six-foot chain link fence, installed, for a backyard of about one-eighth-acre.

The fine print: Fence prices will vary by region.

Sources: Clark Distributors, Atlantic regional distributor for Invisible Fence Brand; Fence Center, Lanham, Md.

Additional resources

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