By: Crystal Stemberger, Co-Owner
My husband and I got our first pet together about a month after I graduated from college and 3 weeks after we got married, lol. It wasn't the smartest financial decision we ever made, but it wasn't the worst either. We were pretty broke but we did have a small emergency fund, our first real jobs, and we had really, really wanted a dog all through college. 😉
Pets Can Be Expensive
We got lucky. Miss Doxie faked an amazing personality at the Houston SPCA and we took her 7 year old butt home before she ever showed any of her negative personality traits, lol. She ended up being a perfect fit for us – a fantastic apartment doggy with as few vet costs as possible for a living entity. She's made it through 3 big moves, a few foster dogs, lots of guests, and even gets along okay with Mr. Pug, who we adopted in 2009.
We love our dogs, but you have to keep in mind that pets cost money. The basics are constant – food, supplies, meds, etc. Then there are accidents, bad luck, and deeper medical issues.
Miss Doxie had a few teeth that needed to be removed when we first got her and has had a lumped removed yesterday from her belly. Other than that, we've only needed to provide food, blankets, flea and heartworm meds, and a treatment once for pneumonia. Overall, I can only estimate that we've spent about $4000 on her in 8 years.
Mr. Pug was special. He's a momma's boy, came pretty healthy except for bad teeth like Miss Doxie, but then there were surprises. In late 2010, he developed crazy allergies and it took about $2000 over about 6 months to figure out what was wrong and the best way to treat it. Now he just eats special dried food and takes a cheap steroid pill every day. That said, we have still spent at least $3500 on Mr. Pug in about 4 years.
That means that we've spent at least $7500 on dogs in the last 8 years. That doesn't seem so bad to me, but that is substantial money…
If You're Struggling
Overall, if you are struggling to save money or pay off debt, pets may not be for you. Unless you have set aside money for weird emergencies that pop up, a major visit to the vet (or worse, an emergency vet clinic) can set you back thousands of dollars. That won't help with your financial goals. I know it probably hasn't helped with ours, lol. Pets are great companions, provide a billion little blessings like simply being happy to see you, but they aren't usually financially helpful overall. Just something to think about if you've been considering getting a pet.
How much have your pets cost? Any great stories or surprises?