Pet Ownership: What It Really Costs to Own a Dog or Cat (2024)

If you’re considering pet ownership, whether for yourself or for your grandkids, it helps to be aware of all the costs associated with owning a pet. To help potential pet owners understand the financial responsibilities of owning a dog or cat, Rover has released its fifth iteration of the True Cost of Pet Parenthood. The report sheds insight into just how expensive it is to raise a pet, especially now that inflation has increased prices on many essentials.

In fact, Rover found that pet inflation is even outpacing other categories — 58% of pet parents say the cost of pet specific goods and services has increased more than the cost of other frequently purchased items. Those elevated costs will take a bite out of your budget. 30% of pet parents claimed they reduced spending in other areas of their life to make sure they can afford the items and services their pet needs.

Here’s a further look at just how much it actually costs to adopt and raise a dog or cat.

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What is the cost of owning a dog?

The annual cost of caring for a dog in 2024 ranges between $1,000 to $5,225 a year and $80 to $440 a month. This is a $100 increase from 2023. A major reason costs have risen is due to the spike in dog food prices, — which in some cases cost up to 80% more than last year — vet visits and treats and toys.

When budgeting for a dog, you’ll not only need to think about the cost of everyday essentials, like food and toys, but you'll also need to include any upfront costs associated with adopting an animal and any circ*mstantial expenses that may arise.

Here's a list of upfront expenses to plan for and their average cost, per Rover.

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Upfront Costs
ItemAverage cost range
Adoption fees$0 to $600
Vaccinations$167 to $515
Spay or neutering$250-$525
Wellness exam and parasite prevention$275-$435
Poop bags$10-$90
Food and water bowls$5-$80
Brush and nail trimmer$15-$125
Potty pads$5-$70
Cleaning supplies$5-$55

Adoption fees can vary widely depending on where you adopt your dog. Shelter adoptions are usually cheaper and include several upfront costs like neutering, microchipping and initial vaccines. If you choose to purchase a dog from a breeder, you could pay anywhere from $500 to $4500 for the dog alone, depending on the breed.

Whether you need all the above items, like grooming supplies or puppy pads, really depends on the age, size and breed of dog you're getting. However, the total cost of bringing a new dog home typically ranges from $870 to $4,565 for the first year.

After the first year, you'll just need to budget for monthly essentials and any additional dog expenses you might need, like pet-sitting or grooming costs. On average, expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $5,225 per year on essentials, and between $1,405-$6,235 for additional costs (which you may or may not need) — several of which are listed below.

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Ongoing costs
ItemAverage cost range
Flea and tick prevention$225-$265
Poop bags$65-$85
Treats and chews$20-$380
Annual check up$105-$130
Annual Pet License Renewal$20-$125

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Common additional costs
ItemAverage cost range
Emergency vet bills$0-$2,985
Dog boarding$50 per night
Professional Grooming$55-$195
Apartment pet deposit$150-$500
Pet insurance$10-$100

What is the cost of owning a cat?

Not a dog person? Overall, adopting a cat is cheaper than owning a dog, but maybe not as cheap as you think. Rover found that the annual cost of having a cat can range from $710-$2,865 a year, or between $60-$240 every month — an increase of $70 compared to 2023.

Here's a breakdown of what it costs to become a cat parent.

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Upfront costs
ItemAverage cost range
Adoption fees$0-$185
Spay or neutering$165-$250
Initial vet exam and vaccinations$200-$390
Food and treats$40-$155
Food/water bowls$5-$90
Litter box$10-$550
Claw trimmers$5-$40
Scratching post$20-$300
Pet license$15-$95

Once you've adopted your cat and have her settled, expect to pay about $710–$2865 per year. But additional expenses could also come up — like boarding costs, pet insurance and emergency vet bills — which add on average $2,080-$3,540. Here's a look at what you should expect to pay every year on essentials.

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Ongoing costs
ItemAverage cost range
Annual vet appointment$105-$155

Do you need pet insurance?

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save money on pet costs. You don't have to shell out for top-notch food brands or expensive litter boxes to keep your pet happy. However, if you're looking to save money, there's one place where it's worth the extra expense — pet insurance. You may not think you'll need it — until you do — and then you'll be happy you had it.

In 2019, a study found that 45% of pet owners spend the same or more on their pet's healthcare than on their own. Sure, you could be handling your routine vet bills fine. But all it takes is for your dog or cat to get sick one time, and you're out several thousand dollars. For that alone, pet insurance is worth it. According to Rover, out of the 45% of dog parents who have pet insurance, 93% agree it’s worth the added cost. When it comes to cat owners, 36% have pet insurance, and 92% of them agree it’s worth it.

There are also several ways to save on pet insurance. As with all insurance policies, make sure to shop around and get several quotes, look for discounts and choose a higher deductible (as long as you can afford it). Also, if you insure your pets while they are younger, premiums will typically be less expensive.

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), these are the national annual premiums for pet insurance.

  • Dog/Accident & Illness: $675.61 (monthly $56.30)
  • Dog/Accident Only: $204.16 (monthly $17.01)
  • Cat/Accident & Illness: $383.30 (monthly $31.94)
  • Cat/Accident Only: $116.11 (monthly $9.68)

Related Content

  • How to Save on Pet Insurance
  • How to Save Money on Pet Costs
  • Why Older Adults' Best Investment Might Just Be A Puppy
Pet Ownership: What It Really Costs to Own a Dog or Cat (2024)
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