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Is Your Pet Causing You Debt?

November 5th, 2012 at 09:21 am

I do not own a pet, but I have friends that do. I happen to know that pet lovers “love them some pets.” Matter of fact, many consider their pets children. I even have a friend that rushes home from work to see her dog, not her children. Some people have more affection for their dog than their spouse. But that’s another article. Nevertheless, debt is a problem in many households today. Debt is causing problems in relationships, making people lose sleep, and even causing physical health problems. With the cost of everything going up and stretching our dollars, we have to analyze everything to cut back and save. So my question to you: is your pet causing you debt?

A $3,000 Dog?
A friend of mine spent $3,000 to purchase her dog. Then she had to turn around and put it in training school for a couple of months. Of course when they went on their numerous vacations annually they had to pay for a dog-sitter. I am aware that a dog is supposed to be a man’s best friend, but it appears without a budget for your pet they can also put you in poverty! If you are not in the habit of tracking your money or living on a spending plan, you probably have no idea how much your lovable pet is costing you.

Americans spend $38.4 billion on pets.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) says that 63 percent of American households own at least one pet. It doesn’t matter what kind of pet you own, their care and maintenance will cost you something. For example, the average dog or cat lives around 6-15 years, so over that time-frame how much will you have invested in your pet? Many pet owners feel like money is not a consideration – it’s their pet for goodness-sake! However, if you want to get out of debt, the cost should definitely be considered.

Estimate of pet costs.
The numbers below are an average cost estimate for dogs and cats.

• Food - $240/year
• Dental care - $250-400/year
• Boarding or pet sitter - $15 to $100 per day
• Neutering - $142/dog and $99/cat
• Veterinarian visits - $211/dog or $179/cat
• Canine cataract surgery - $2,000-$3,000
• Cancer treatment - $5,000 or more
• Diabetes maintenance - $600-$1,000 a year


There is absolutely nothing wrong with owning a pet if you can afford it. But what if you can’t afford it? It really does come down to choices and priorities. For instance, if you spend around $1,000 a year on your pet, and they live for 10 years that is $10,000 a year. Do you currently have $10,000 in your retirement, emergency fund or 401K?

Again, it’s just a question. Is your pet causing you debt?

2 Responses to “Is Your Pet Causing You Debt? ”

  1. M E 2 Says:


    Lots of people who have kids can't afford them either. What do you suggest they do about that? And just like having a pet or pets is a choice, so is having a child/kids. Ta-mate-oh vs ta-mot-oh

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