The cost of a fur baby

If you have a pet, you know what this title means. We have our fur-baby, a 4 year old Havanese mix named Badger. He has eyebrows! Here is our little prince:

Badger

I mean, just look at that face?! How could we NOT lavish him with all the treats, cuddles and chew toys?! Many of you either own a pet or wanting to own a pet. For those of you have made the jump, can attest to the expense of having a pet. We adopted Badger from our local humane society over two years ago (some asshat abandoned him and he was found in a parking, mid-January in -40 degree weather. Again, can you see why we spoil him?!) We were pretty shocked with the sticker price of pet ownership. We thought we had adequately budgeted (wrong) and had spent double our proposed budget by the time we got through year one.

When you’re thinking of getting a pet, you need to consider the basics:

  1. Food
  2. Cage/bed/whatever your pet needs to sleep on/in
  3. Leash/collar
  4. Chew/scratch toys
  5. Dishes for food and water
  6. Adoption/Breeder fees

Now, these are just the basics. However, here come the additional costs:

  1. Doggy daycare: Badger has pretty bad separation anxiety and howls when we leave him alone. Our neighbours, unsurprisingly, were not too happy about hearing him howl. We both work and the price for a dog walker was the same as doggy daycare. He goes Monday – Friday while we’re at work. As you can expect, this was an unexpected cost.
  2. Dog Walker: If you’re fortunate enough that your dog doesn’t have anxiety/behavioral issues (and yes, even if you get your dog from a breeder, they can still have these same issues) you can get a dog walker.
  3. Training: Before leaving the shelter, we had to show proof that we’d registered for a dog training course. Obviously, super helpful, but another cost we didn’t expect.
  4. Vet costs: Although Badger had been neutered and microchip, we still had a shit-load of vet visits in the first year. Our poor boy had a laundry list of health issues that needed attention. Even after the first year, we have to go to the Vet to get vaccinations, heartworm meds and other health concerns (i.e. when he eats something that was suspect and he poops his brains out for a week). You may need to budget in a visit for your pet to be spayed/neutered and micro-chipped, so they can be identified if they get lost.
  5. Grooming: our prince has long hair and gets matted easily. Therefore, we need to visit the groomer every 4 to 5 months.

Obviously, some pets aren’t as expensive as dogs (fish, birds, hamsters, etc) but regardless, you do need to list out potential costs and create a budget. Along with the financial costs, you need to think about:

  1. Who will take care of your pet if you go away for a holiday? Would you need to hire a dog sitter?
  2. What would I do if my pet had behavioral issues? What resources would I need to help them?
  3. Is your lifestyle conducive to having a pet? Are you able to spend enough time with them?
  4. If you like to go out at night, are you prepared to come home at a decent time so your dog can go for a walk?
  5. Is your partner on board with having a pet? Will they be equal in the care-giving?

Having a pet is a big deal. However, for all the expenses, majority of pet owners agree that their pet is like their child. And like children, pets deserve proper care and attention. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before bring a fur baby home.

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2 thoughts on “The cost of a fur baby

  1. This is a great list. We too had to put our pup in doggy daycare which results in quite a hefty unexpected expense. In addition to that, we pay for pet insurance. We were very thankful to have it when Teddy fell off a couch and broke his arm requiring surgery and a metal plate to fix it. The cost would have been close to $7,500 out of pocket without our insurance coverage.

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    1. Couldn’t agree more about the pet insurance, even the smallest procedures for your fur baby can really add up. Better safe than sorry. Unfortunately it is usually the last thing on the list for people to purchase for their pet.

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