Financial Costs and Personal Benefits of Owning a Pet

Liberty Wealth Advisors |

Has a dog or cat grabbed hold of your heart? It doesn’t take much. There are many benefits to owning a pet. And with animal shelters across the U.S. frequently at max capacity, there are a record number of animals available for adoption1. Whether you’re looking to adopt or purchase, you need to be aware of the true cost of owning a pet. Here are a few things to think about:  

Your Initial Investment

The initial cost of adopting a pet varies, depending on whether the adoption is from an animal shelter or if the pet is obtained directly from a breeder. While shelter fees typically run between $50 to $250, the cost of buying a dog or cat from a breeder can be as high as $3,000. Of course, you’ll also have to tack on the essentials, such as a crate or litter box, vaccinations, food, toys, and training classes, which could bring your initial investment to between $1,000 and $4,000.

Veterinarian Care

For your pet to live a long life, they will need to go to the vet at least once a year for a checkup. Most regular visits cost around $100, but total expenses can be higher if your pet requires immunizations, procedures, or special treatments.

With good care, dogs and cats can live more than 15 years. That means you will be responsible for your dog or cat for almost as long as you would an infant. Today, the average monthly cost of owning a pet is around $160 a month2 which includes food, toys, treats, medical expenses, and sometimes, pet-sitting services. Multiply that by 15 years, and you’re looking at a cost between $15,000 and $93,000 with expenses including medical, dog walking, cat watching, toys, and other fees included for the lifetime of your pet.3

Like humans, medical emergencies can happen to pets. Are you financially prepared to pay the vet bills? In recent years, pet insurance has become a popular option for pet owners. Many pet insurance plans are structured on a reimbursement basis, meaning you pay for the service up front, and you are reimbursed by the insurance company after the fact. On average, a comprehensive pet insurance plan cost around $35 per month. Similar to our own medical insurance, cost is based on coverage, which allows the customer to create a plan that best suits their needs. 4 Be sure that you can absorb those costs before you commit to owning a pet.

Pet Housing, Travel, and Boarding

While it’s true that many places have become more pet-friendly in recent years, there will likely be a time when you cannot take your pet with you when you travel. The average cost of boarding a pet or hiring a pet sitter can exceed $50 a day. Similarly, the average cost of hiring a dog walker for an hour is about $40-$50. 4

If you rent, or you live in an apartment, your property manager may require an extra pet fee. In the US, the average pet fee falls between $200-$500. 5 Also, whether you rent or own your home, consider the potential cost should your pet damage anything, such as carpeting.

Commit to Your Pet

Owning a pet can be a fulfilling and joyful experience. If you’re ready to make the commitment, and understand the potential costs involved, you’re on your way to sharing your life and your love with a creature that will love you like nothing else will.

At Liberty Wealth Advisors®, we love our pets! They’re treasured members of our families. If you own a pet or are considering getting a pet and want to walk through the long-term financial effects (and personal benefits) of pet ownership, and how those may affect your long-term financial goals, email us at or give us a call at 800-448-3550.



This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information.




Beginning December 9, 2022, advisory services and related content on this website, including the video presentations herein, are offered and provided through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC, a federally registered investment adviser. Prior to this date, all such services and related content were offered and provided through Liberty Wealth Advisors.