Adopting a pet? Learn the true cost of pet ownership.

Adopting a Pet? It Turns Out Money Can Buy You Love.

03/07/2022 | Savings & Budgeting

Thinking about adopting a pet? You’re not alone.

Seventy percent of U.S. households own pets according to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA).

There’s no doubt about it, we love our pets and they love us back – unconditionally. They don’t care what we look like, whether our jokes are funny, or kind of car we drive. They even benefit our health. Pets help keep us active and reduce our stress levels. 

A study conducted by AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) revealed that more than 90% of pet owners believe their pets improve their quality of life. Some important statistics include:

  • 31% say their pets have improved their physical fitness level
  • 76% claim their pets reduce stress levels in their house
  • 65% believe their pets have improved their overall mental health

The benefits of adopting a pet are numerous

Adopting a dog or adopting a cat can help teach young children important life skills such as responsibility and empathy. 

A new pet can also be good for your love life. According to a survey by Purina, 54% of surveyed pet owners said their pets helped them start a conversation with someone they were interested in.

And if that doesn’t work, you always have someone to watch Netflix with. Plus, they make us laugh all the time. They’re always doing something funny and are a constant source of entertainment. 

Some pets are so entertaining they make money just by being their cute little selves. Just check out Instagram and you’ll find no shortage of pet influencers making their owners some serious change.  Manny The Frenchie makes $3,122 for every post on Instagram – that’s almost $200,000 a year. 

Adopting a pet is a big commitment

There’s no question, adding a furry, feathery or scaley friend to your home has undeniable benefits. But chances are, your little loved one won’t be bringing home any kind of income like Manny the Frenchie. So be sure you’re ready financially for the cost of owning a pet.

beagle head isolated on white

How much does it cost to own a dog?

According to, puppies on average will cost $1,300. Some can be found as low as $50 and some purebred puppies as high as $85,000! Yes, $85,000! Four out of five puppies fall in the $500 to $2,500 range. Adopting a dog from a shelter can be much cheaper and generally costs $50 to $500 up front. 

How much does it cost to own a cat?

Adopting a kitten or adult cat from a shelter usually costs between $50 and $100. Purchasing pet quality purebred kittens from a breeder typically costs between $300 and $1,200. And show-quality kittens can vary between $1,000 and $3,000 but can go up to $15,000 or more! (

The gray cat looks up, mewing and having widely opened a mouth

The initial cost of adopting a pet is the easy part

The initial cost, whether it’s the pet adoption fee you pay to a shelter or rescue, or the purchase fee from a responsible breeder, is just the beginning. So be sure you’re ready for a serious, yet rewarding commitment. Many pets can live well over 10 years, and caring for a pet can be a major expense.

While you can expect to pay upfront costs including vaccinations, pet training and more, you should also consider ongoing expenses including food, veterinary visits, pet boarding or pet sitters. 

According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $103.6 billion on their pets in 2020, an increase from the $97.1 billion they spent on pets in 2019.

What makes up that 103.6 billion? Let’s consider the basic annual cost of owning a dog and the annual cost of owning a cat — our two most popular pets. 


Surgical Vet visits$458$201
Routine Vet$242$178
Kennel Boarding$228$78
Grooming Aids/Brushes$47$31
Annual Total$1,480$902

 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey

Not a dog or a cat person? How about a tarantula?

Looking for a more unusual pet? Good news. You may be able to save some money. The Ferrets and Friends website lists annual and startup costs for a number of little critters including the ones below. While they can still be a serious financial commitment, most of them are a lot less expensive than a dog or a cat.

 Start upAnnual
Corn Snake$255$146
Leopard Gecko$100$221
Eclectus Parrot$340$540

Keep in mind that these costs are averages. Unexpected surgical procedures can run you well into the thousands. What if your pet needs special food or expensive medications? No one wants to be put in a situation where you’re deciding between the welfare of your beloved pet or being able to pay your rent or mortgage. 

If you’re going to own a pet, it’s a smart idea to put aside a few thousand dollars for emergencies. You can use our Budget Calculator to figure out how much you can put away based on your monthly income and spending.  

Is pet insurance right for you? 

If the cost of an emergency veterinary visit or serious illness would be a financial strain, consider investing in pet health insurance while your pet is healthy. 

Pet insurance typically includes coverage for accidents, illnesses, injuries and some routine exams. Some policies even provide coverage for prescription drugs and prescribed pet food. But shop carefully. The coverage you get and the price you pay depends on the policy you buy. 

How to keep your costs down

With owning a pet, you have a responsibility to care for your pet as best you can. With help from the ASPCA, here are a few tips to help you save money on your pet’s healthcare.

Don't skip your pet's yearly exam

It’s much more expensive — and risky — to treat illnesses than to protect against them. 

Shop around

Select your veterinary practice by comparing fees for preventative care and talk to your vet about personalizing your pet’s vaccine protocol. Some vaccines are optional. Many local shelters provide resources for low- or no-cost spay/neuter surgeries. 

Brush your pet's teeth

Dental disease can lead to heart and kidney problems and expensive procedures. Ask your veterinarian what products to use and how often. 

Protect your pet from fleas and ticks

A topical flea and tick solution can help you save money while keeping your pet parasite-free.

Watch the calories

Overfeeding your pet can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Groom at home

Keep up with regular nail trimmings and brushings, and save the cost of going to a groomer. 

Group of pets together over white banner. isolated on white background

Ready to find the perfect pet for you? 

Search for a pet that best matches your needs. Petfinder is a directory of nearly 11,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. You’ll also find discussion forums, a pet-care resource directory and a library of free pet-care articles.

Locate a branch near you.

Need help? Give us a call.

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