Furry Friends

We love our pets, don’t we? Yes, we do. We love ‘em so much North Americans spent over $50 billion on them last year. Man, that’s a lot of kibble! And that’s an increase of more than 70% since 2001. Why the run-up? Well it seems we’re not happy to treat them like pets anymore. Now we want them to have all the stuff children have: designer outfits, stimulating games, organic food.

Back when I was a kid, my mother used to cook up a batch of cornmeal, throw in some veggies and add the left-over meat to make dog food. Not good enough anymore. Back then, “a dog’s life” mean sleeping outside and making do with table scraps. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association reports that 2% of dogs now sleep in the same bed as their owners. And owners are happy to shell out $400 for an indoor potty, $225 for a trench coat, and bucketsful of money for drugs. It’s estimated that 77% of dogs and 52% of cats have been medicated in the past year.

So how much do you spend on your furry friends each year? When I asked this question on a poll 55% of you said you spend $25-$50 a month. That’s a whole lot less than I thought it would be. Twenty-six percent said they spend over $75 a month. Hey, if you’re looking for ways to trim your spending on your pets so you can actually set aside some money for the future, why not:

Get pet insurance. It is astounding what people will pay to care for their four-legged babies. Just be aware that most pre-existing conditions won’t be covered and if you’re pet is older than 9, you may not get approved.

Stop buying so much food. In 2010, pet-lovers spent over $18 billion on food. Since more than 50% of cats and dogs are overweight, you’re not doing your poochie any favours with all that rich food you’re feeding him.

Learn to do your own grooming. Bath ‘em yourself. Clip their nails. Clean their teeth. Hey, remember why you got that dog, cat, bird, fish, or hamster: you wanted something to take care of. So do it yourself and you’ll save a fortune!

56 Responses to “Furry Friends”

  1. We spend about $1-2K perr year for 2 cats. Their cat food is exp – special from the vet. Other than that it’s toys and vet check ups as needed.

    I figure if one can afford it without scacrificing on budget or savings, then it’s well worth it for the companionship, love and fun they provide. If it came down to it, I’d give up some other non essential in order to care for my pets.

  2. avatar It's me, Sam Says:
    March 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Trying to lift an 80 lb dog into the tub alone is no easy feat, so I’d rather pay to take my dog to the groomers once a month at 30 a pop. The groomers are equipped to deal with the mess of washing, drying and clipping of his nails and do a better job than I can. for me, it’s money well spent.

  3. Am I the only one who finds it astounding that our pets eat better and have better health care than most humans on this planet? Don’t get me wrong I like pets but when I was growing up our cat was a pet, not a member of the family.

  4. We recently made the decision to sell one of our horses – it was such a hard thing to do, but with baby on the way, you do what you have to. Two horses on full board is not cost-effective! While I still fully believe our horses are worth every cent we pay, it does make you think…

  5. one stray cat came into our lives two years ago this June and never left.

    About $30 a month for food and litter. The biggest expense was getting her spayed. Will likely at about year 6 or 7 start saving for more expensive vet stuff – my 21 year old cat in his last year of life cost us quite abit due to kidney disease requiring regular visits to the vet to deal with chronic dehydration.

  6. avatar elizabeth c. Says:
    March 28, 2013 at 7:33 am

    when i was growing up, our dog was also a pet not a member of the family. for some, like seniors who have no one else, the pet becomes family. it seems to me that we are a society that excess in all things, except money, has become the norm. as long as you have your finacial house in order and are not dipping into your reserves or using credit cards to supply the pet with “only the best”, then it is an indivdual choice on how you spend your money. perhaps the excess amts spent in buying little fancy clothes etc, is limited to the those with a large steady disposable income ? i also am astounded at the amts of money that is spent on pets and wonder if perhaps some of that cash could go to a food bank for those that have lost their jobs throuh no fault of their own and have children to feed. but as i have said, its an individual choice. if you can’t pay cash, you can’t afford it though.

  7. During my time, dog and cat can eat only from our left over food. These pets usually sleep outside our house. The fur covering from dogs and cats can cause for asthma for kids and babies.

  8. avatar Leslie in Toronto Says:
    March 28, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I recently had to spend a bunch of money at the vet to get my little, old dog some much needed attention after a bout of a skin infection, followed by pancreatitis. He also started to need to pee sometimes before I take him downstairs to go out (I live on the 15th floor, and it is a long elevator ride), as he is having trouble holding it on occasion. So, now he has an indoor potty for emergencies. Both of my dogs and my cat are all rescues, and cost me a mimimum to bring into my home. But I believe that if you can feed them good food and give them a loving home, there is nothing wrong with getting them a little extra in terms of toys and treats (and coats – like it or not, some dogs need them in Toronto’s weather). The measure of society is not how we treat ourselves, but how we treat those who can’t provide for themselves. In my book, that includes underpriviledged people, and pets. That said, I can afford to do so, without debt.

  9. Sadly, so many people buy animals without ever considering cost or lifestyle, giving no thought to the life of that animal. Our animal shelters are overwhelmed, not to mention the animals that just get released outside. I agree completely that many people are spending more for themselves than their pet and ultra-fancy options really aren’t necessary. That said: you bought a living thing, and that’s a serious (financial) commitment that you must be prepared to see through. People who just dump their animals at shelters like they’re returning books to a library make me very, very sad.

  10. After losing 2 cats due to my inability to pay a $2000+ vet bill for each (1 open fractured jaw from jumping off fridge after being treated for a bad tooth absess, another $600. And 2nd cat had a bowel obstruction from what looked like a cap or other small item), I now have vet insurance. I pay $23/month but it makes me feel like I can care for her properly. She is only 4 yrs old but has had insurance since day 1, it raises if you get it when there older

  11. I have to disagree with Gail about the pet insurance. I had a dog who sadly had to be put down this past August. She was in good health her whole life, except for the last year where she probably cost between $1000.00 – $2000.00 dollars in vet bills. Knowing that things could happen I had started an account when she was about 7 years old, and put aside every month the equivalent of what pet insurance would have cost me, had I gotten it. At the end of the day I pretty much broke even, but had I been putting money aside since she was a puppy I would have had lots left in my account. I recently got a new puppy, and have started doing the same for her. I figure that the money is better in my account, to be used when necessary and kept if not needed, then to be paid out to someone else every month just in case something should happen.

  12. Robin… I don’t think that’s quite the point Gail was making. What if you put away $25 per month starting when you got your puppy at 2 months old, and something happens to him/her when they’re just 5 months old (puppies can get into anything!) requiring a $400 vet bill? The insurance would have covered it and you wouldn’t have enough saved up.

  13. You probably have to increase the amounts that people said that they pay out on their pets. Like your shows it is proven that many people have no idea what things are costing them and even if they did know they are not going to admit to themselves let alone on a survey.

    We have two big dogs that eat a lot of food. We buy dog food that it somewhere in the middle. The cheapest is just fillers and you have to buy more and are also clean up more after them. The most expensive is usually not better then something lower pricest. You are paying for the name. Read the ingredients to see what you are really getting.

    Our dogs also get table scraps. Why put them in the garbage. It doesn’t make sense to me.

    We only take our dogs to the clinic once a year for their rabies shot.

  14. I had pet insurance with my first dog and needed it more than once for pricey surgical bills. The money I received far surpassed what I paid in premiums.

    When she passed, and I got a new dog – I thought I would be ‘smart’ and just put the same amount of money in an account each month. The new dog was a bag of bad luck and had me at the vets or pet emerg at minimum monthly – random stuff – severe allergic reaction, urinary crystals, dehydration from illness after her vaccines, sharp stick to the eye from playing in the woods, serious skin infections…. every month was several hundred dollars and that poor little account was never enough or replenished.

    I finally got pet insurance after 8 crazy and expensive months. A policy fee is consistent and predictable to my budget and it takes away that sick feeling in my stomach of having to decide if I have enough money to take my visibly ill pet for care.

  15. Momma;

    That would be accurate if the cost was only $25.00 per month. I have a large dog and was quoted $50.00 dollars per month for insurance for her, which would mean it would only take me 8 months to accumulate the $400.00 dollars needed in your example. It is possible that my puppy would need expensive vet care prior to that, but not likely. I would rather play the law of averages, and keep my money in my pocket.

  16. My 2 cats need special vet food, due to digestion issues (they get very sick on store bought foods). Im sorry, but when I took in pets I made a commitment to treat them with respect and dignity. They are living creatures- not just toys! Therefore I would feed them what they need, not what is cheap (hey- its the same for HUMANS!). I think pets live longer today if we feed them well and take care of them- not feed them crap and tie them up outside. Taking in a pet is a big responsibility. If you cant fit the unexpected pet expense in your budget (like needing vet food!) then you shouldnt get one.

    That being said, outside of the expensive food they get homemade, cheap toys and attention. No fancy outfits or carriages or silly stuff like that!!

  17. For those of you who have pet insurance for your dog, can you recommend a provider? What kind of coverage do you have? Do you think it’s worth it?

  18. I got my cat from the shelter in 2009. He had health problems at that point from neglect, and I was lucky that the vet worked on them for over a year at no charge. He’s gotten me through a lot of difficult times. At the end of 2011 it was determined he had HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), and that a long life for him would be 7-8 years. Last year, I spent $40/month just on daily medication, and $350 on his ultrasound. I likely averaged $75-100/month total for his needs (including food, litter, etc.). Since this year’s ultrasound, he’s on less medication ($20/month, every two days), and we can wait two years for his next ultrasound. I’m willing to pay for his health and wellness because I made a commitment when I bought him, and because in my family, pets ARE family. He got me through some hard times, and I will return the kindness.

  19. Thanks again for the great tips! I started grooming and bathing my Shitzu cross dog at home and am saving $75 every second month! While I admit that he looked pretty rough the first few times, I getting a good handle on it now. I learned how to do it by checking it on Youtube!
    Also…what you said about spending too much money on pet food is EXACTLY what my vet said.
    Thanks Gail…. Love the tips!

  20. I had a sick dog for a good many years. She’s now healthy (knock on wood!), but was suffering from continual and repetitive urinary tract infections. Unfortunately, not knowing what the cause was, it would have cost us $800 for tests, then maybe another $2000 to operate, so we opted to treat the symptoms. Thankfully our vet got to know us and her from our constant visits, and often didn’t require that we bring our dog in, and would prepare the treatment. We tried all kinds of things – food, meds, cranberry tablets, etc. But none made a difference. Was it expensive? Absolutely. She was sick when we brought her home too (a rescue but not from a shelter) but we didn’t know it at the time. She’s doing much better now, and it’s essentially only our annual shots that we have to worry about.

    In all fairness, if we had known how sick the beast was, we may not have brought her home. But she had a tough life before us, so I guess it was meant to be? She doesn’t eat expensive food, and only has a few toys, but she does occasionally get her nails clipped and goes to day camp once in a while to burn off some excess energy. She’s a very wiggly Labrador who loves to socialize, so the 20$ we pay for day camp and a nail trimming is well worth it for us!

  21. It’s funny that people (okay, women) who own cats are given a certain stigma, but dog owners IMO are ker-azy about their dogs. People don’t buy costumes for their cats, but it’s all too common to buy them for dogs. And cats don’t run people’s lives. You have no idea how many times my dog-lovin’ friends can’t make plans after work because they have to go let the dog out or walk the dog or make sure the dog hasn’t torn the house to shreds. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and all pets, but if owning a dog takes up that much time and money, it’s a problem. We have two cats we love who play with anything and everything you throw at them – cheap balls, string, heck, even avocado pits! And they’re just as fun and cuddly as a dog can be.

  22. I have two cats (almost 4 years old) and one dog (13) and in the last week alone I have paid over $500 in vet bills….ugh! I can’t afford it but I can’t afford not to! I love my pets but when they pass – there will be no more pets for this gal! The added expense and responsibility is something I won’t miss – the pets seem like a great idea at the time when the kids are eager to look after them; however, once the novelty wears off – guess where the responsibility lies!

    Pet ownership is serious in my eyes – if you are going to have a pet one needs to be responsible. It is definitely young, busy families need to consider before making that commitment.

  23. It is definitely ** something young, busy families need to consider before making that commitment.

  24. avatar Dog Lover Says:
    March 28, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Another recommendation. Ask your vet during checkups whether all the tests and recommendations each year are truly needed. They often perform bloodwork every year that really can be done on a less frequent basis.

    We have a neighbor who had pet insurance. His dog has cancer. The treatments and surgeries have not been covered by the insurance.

    I spend $300 a month on pet food. I can afford it and want only the best for my dog. More is known about dogs and cats now than in the past. It’s the same as all other facets of life. Now that we know more, we treat them differently. My dog is a family member. He’s not a person, but he is part of the family. He is on a raw meat diet — what their digestive systems handle best. They are carnivores.

    I also pay $75 a month to take him to twice a week play groups with other dogs. He is in a controlled environment where all the dogs are current on their shots. In that group, I see that the attention you pay to researching the health and breeding of a pet and how you care for them can offset the future vet bills. As much as it is a charitable feel good option to source from shelters you can be assuming health issues due to bad breeding. That cute dog in the pet shop can also come with it’s fair share of health problems.

  25. I also wouldn’t get pet insurance and have had pets the last 15 years. I also live by a simple rule: I won’t extend my cat’s life to make me feel better, only to make him or her feel better. I believe in having insurance to protect against catastrophic loss (ie house fire, or death which means loss of all future income) not against minor inconveniences. Quite frankly I can’t see myself spending $3000 to keep my cat alive. It’s a pet, not a human. and I love my cat and recently had to put down my other cat (in November) once it became clear that risky surgery on a 16 year old cat didn’t make any sense for anyone.

  26. I made a mistake and took home two puppies. I planned on one, but ended up with two. It’s been a costly mistake. Double everything, I’m involved in agility classes & other training stuff. They are my life so I account for some of their budget under my entertainment. But I’m also of the mind that even if I had to give up my dogs I would still pay for their up keep with regards to food/vet. I don’t believe in if it pees in the house ect… problems that you drop it off at the SPCA and wash your hands. Unless, real life changes happen u should be responsible for the cost. The dog’s life depends on it. If you can’t handle the dog rehome/or consider paying the SPCA- for it’s care & not just walking away so it can be put down while you try to live guilt free & believe the dog found a home.

  27. I have Trupanion pet insurance. It is fantastic, covers about 90% of any treatments (but not the initial exam), no caps, they just send you a cheque in a matter of days. If you are looking for insurance, that’s what I’d recommend, and I recommend getting it as soon as you get the dog so the premiums are lower and they don’t have pre-existing conditions.

    We have had dog #1 for about 7 years. She has been fairly healthy, so I don’t think we’ve broken even on the premiums we’ve paid in insurance (although we might if things deteriorate as she gets older). In her case, the peace of mind has been worth it.

    Dog #2 has been accident-prone and unlucky. We are NOT doing unnecessary things to extend his life, but some things are shockingly expensive. Ear infection – over $300. Torn ligament from jumping around – could have been $5000 for surgery if it hadn’t healed with rest. Emergency visit for eating something wierd – $1500.

    Pets can get most of the non-life threatening ailments humans can get (asthma, allergies, skin problems, cavities, digestive difficulties, etc) and pinpointing what’s going on is a lot harder since they can’t talk – so takes more time and tests and more money. Not treating them affects their quality of life. So for me, pet insurance is worth it.

  28. I prefer self-insuring our large dog (Great Dane / Lab mix).

    She was going to cost $40 per month to insure, even for moderate coverage. The coverage was $1000 per year. So – in order to “access” $1000 (by submitting forms, waiting for the condition to qualify and hoping something wouldn’t be exempted) it would only give me $520 over and above the premiums.

    Insurance companies have a nice way of avoiding coverage, even after they have taken your money for years.

    I really love our girl, so I pinch my budget to set aside $$ for her every month (between $50 and $100) and hopefully it will grow to be a nice dog emergency fund. If she lives a long healthy life, the funds are still mine.

  29. I’m not sold on pet insurance – I budget an ample amount for veterinary care and expect it to increase as my pets age.

  30. I’m also not sold on pet insurance. Ever since we adopted our cat from the Humane Society four years ago I have budgeted for his annual check-up and shots. He is not an outdoor cat so I think he needs less of these, but he visits other animals regularly.

    In February he needed emergency surgery to remove urinary crystals. After the surgery, tests, medication, and boarding (over the weekend = more expensive!) it was about $1300. This money came out of our Emergency Fund and I am completely fine with that – that’s part of why I HAVE an Emergency Fund. He is also our only “dependent”, and I don’t buy him any treats, toys, etc. I agree with other posters here – it’s unfortunate, but people with limited incomes/children/other dependents should not get pets unless they have the means to care for them properly.

  31. I have a 5 year old dog. A black lab. We got ourself per Insurrance ,55$ months. So far, we are even with our Inssurance cie. Cliff (the dog) has no health issues , but he blow out a ligament and we got him the surgery so he would be able to keep us with us. Than othe from that knee replacement and a few damaged claws that was out of our reach as far as treating him. Our 55$ a month is money well spent.

    We are Dealing with TRUPANiON a truly amazing Compagnie . They are fast, for big expenses u can get per approuved in a matter of 48 hours .

    My dog is a pet . Don’t sleep with us don’t have all kind of toy, he dosnt get treat from store he get
    carrots. But we r responsible for his
    Well being and his health. So do what u have to do and treat your animal the right way

  32. I have pet insurance. It has been a god sent, I have had pet insurance shortly after I got her. She was 2 years at the time. The first year yea I paid more to my insurance company. Whoever this year, she has required two surgeries. One was $1200, the other will be $2000, that is $3200 in one year. So to me the insurance is well worth, I will never have to make the choice because I can’t afford it.

  33. I spend an average of $60 a month on food and litter, plus a toy or two, for my cat. My cat eats a premium food. The cost of it is well worth it as it will keep my furbaby healthier longer.

    I don’t believe in pet insurance. I have been putting away $20 a pay (paid biweekly) since he came home. This is to cover regular vet expenses plus unforeseen vet expenses. So far, this is working well for me. My cat is a year and a half old (I wasn’t expecting vet bills for another several years) and he has had some issues that cost almost $500. As I had been putting money aside for vet expenses, the money was in the bank to cover this. Had I bought pet insurance, I would have been paying the monthly premiums plus I would still have had to pay a 20% deductible to the vet – that would have been approx $100 on top of my premiums. Putting the money aside should keep me on the positive – or break even – side of the balance sheet. The key is to keep putting the money aside.

    I fully agree with a previous poster. If you can afford a pet and still put money aside for all other essentials, the joy and enrichment they bring to life is well worth the cost.

  34. Being a pet owner is like anything else in life-be responsible. Feeding a dog left over table scraps that are high in fat can cause painful pancreatitis. A large, discount store brand will do. If you do not have the finances to be a responsible pet owner, do NOT own a pet. Offer to pet sit for someone else for entertainment, companionship, and/or (to teach a child) responsibility.

  35. avatar Marilynne Says:
    March 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I got a little Shih Tzu/Poodle cross for free 3 years ago. He’s now 9 and now having some health issues – heart. He has a rain coat, a sweater and a heavy winter coat for really cold weather and a few toys. Last year I averaged $147 a month on food (yes from the vet – for his health, and grooming and vet costs) For about the last 9 months I have been grooming him myself saving about $40 every 6 weeks. This year I have spent $1400 since January at the vet – oral surgery and xrays and meds! I don’t have insurance. I love him dearly but would probably not get another dog when he passes – too expensive. As a kid we fed our dog table scraps and cheaper food and I don’t recall him ever going to the vet.

  36. Wow this has generated a lot of differing opinions. I have always had an animal or two or three from the time I was five to now. I am 48. I can’t imagine my life without some sort of furry creature in my life (men not included). Just recently I had to put down my most favourite of them all – my little persian Blu who lived to be 20.5 years old. He was by far the most expensive – $10,000.00 over that life span which, if you amortize it out is $476.00 per year. When I got him, I was only making about $30,000 a year and so pet insurance which was about $30.00 per month was a lot. Oh and that $10,000 doesn’t include food (good thing that he would eat almost anything) and litter.

    Having said all that, I don’t regret a penny of it because he was there for me through thick and thin. I think he left when he knew that I would be ok. My remaining cat has only cost me around $1,000.00 in the 10 years I have had her so I am ok with that but she is getting older (16) and the time will come where it will probably cost me more.

    For the next furry friend – yes there will be more – my mother thinks I am nuts but what can I do – I will investigate pet insurance but I am ashamed to say that putting the premiums in a separate bank account as some of you have done never really occurred to me so thanks for the excellent idea!

  37. Shortly after we brought home our new kitty, we made a video and posted it on youtube. Nothing special, just to show her off to our family and friends. Four years later the video has become successful beyond our wildest imaginations. She is now bringing in a steady $1,000 per month in income!! We put away half every month to cover income taxes when we file at the end of the year, and the other half we use for her food (usually around $20/month), toys, vet bills, etc. The remainder is sent to support a local no-kill cat shelter.

    We have been insanely lucky! Our little cat has brought so much joy to us, and she has enabled us to help improve the lives of other cats too!!

  38. One friend spent all her savings on a sick cat, cashing in GICs etc. That of course is her choice, but then she complained about being poor. The pet insurance wouldn’t have helped, but having put a certain amount away would have…

  39. We are with PetSecure, paying about $80/month for comprehensive coverage for our one dog, a purebred. (We also have two 11-year-old cats, indoors only, uninsured.) Our breeder had included a six-week (I think) contract with PetSecure, which we allowed to lapse, thinking “What could go wrong? She’s a healthy pup!” Three or four months later she had emergency surgery to remove a foreign body from her gut. The cost would have paid for a couple of years worth of premiums, even with the co-pay. Considering our dog’s temperament, we decided to reinstate the policy. We have had one incident since, also involving a digestive upset (no surgery required) and had no difficulty getting payment, other than a glitch with the paperwork. It’s expensive, no doubt. My husband and I are both employed and have made the decision to have pets and care for them. Although they are not people, our pets are certainly members of our family. They get quality food, the best veterinary care and a few toys; doggie-girl has a coat because winter in Edmonton demands it, and she certainly requires daily vigorous exercise! As posted above, we are glad that a decision for her health care/treatment will not be dependent on whether we can afford it, but only on whether it will benefit her and her quality of life.

  40. The costs of pet ownership are far beyond what most new pet owners realize. Readers here have given some good advice. I think it’s important to be realistic as to what the true costs are and if you can afford it and can deal with all the responsibilities, a furry friend can be a great addition to the family. If you have credit cards that are not paid off, a line of credit to pay back, or any other debts, a pet is not a wise choice.

  41. I have a big, big dog, so all the bills are bigger. Spend about $130/month on food, $23/month on joint support meds, $3/month on doggy bags. I think that’s it. Big wet nose worth every penny. Luckily he has a natural long coat, a doggy coat in his size, if I could find it, would cost me a fortune. I’d probably make one rather than pay $150+. I see small coats for peanuts, so $225 for a trench coat is an exaggeration.

    No pet insurance for me either, I have a vet fund. Had a terrible experience, and never again.

  42. I spend an average of $250 per month on pet food and vet bills for my 2 dogs and 2 cats. I chose to have pets instead of children, and feel this is a modest amount to spend considering how much human kids cost, so I don’t feel bad about my spending (and I am completely debt free, have an EFund in place, am saving plenty for retirement).

  43. I spend about $100 a month on my one healthy, 3 year old dog and my old, arthritic, age unknown diabetic cat. This cat requires twice a day insulin injections – so those that say cats are less work have never had one that’s diabetic! I wouldn’t trade him for the world, as no matter his issues, and the fact that I need to poke him with a needle, he still cuddles up to me and still plays with our energetic dog.

    Pet insurance would cover the insulin, but I never bought into it – as after the initial diagnoses cost it is a really manageable disease. It has only cost us an extra $30 a month for his medication. No cost is too great as long as my furbabies are happy. If he suffers unmanageable pain or is no longer happy – then I will let him peacefully go. They aren’t like humans, their expected life is only 10 – 20 years (depending on breed). Those years should be filled with as much joy as possible – for the owner and for the pet.

  44. I have a large pet family and work at an animal shelter. I recommend to adopters to start putting away $25-50 per month in a savings account to cover vet expenses, starting the day they bring them home. Pet insurance can be restrictive and a savings account lets you choose what you will treat, not the insurance company. Of course there is always a bit of luck involved, because sometimes the insurance would be the better option. It’s a personal decision. Maybe a combination of insurance/savings is best. One of the biggest things is that a dental can cost $600-$1000 easy, and often has to be done 3-5 times during a pets lifetime.
    In terms of food, I feed my pets high quality. The junk foods can lead to a lot of health issues especially as animals age, and food is cheaper than vet bills. It’s preventive. So many pets develop allergies now too and that food can be expensive.
    I see a lot of people who have money for cigarettes and alcohol, big fancy houses and vehicles, but will not even put out the funds to have their pets fixed, let alone provide any medical care. Having a pet is a big responsibility and it needs to be planned for. I also find a lot of people who have very little money take on pets, particularly cats. They should look into assistance programs for spaying/neutering – fewer stray animals and more responsible pet owners means less financial hardship for shelters too.

  45. @JP, pls tell me how to find your kitty on the web, I love watching cat antics and would like to support what you are doing. I’m a fan of Maru – the box sliding cat, he just cracks me up 😀 Looking forward to seeing yours 🙂

  46. avatar Elizabeth Says:
    March 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Read pet insurance thoroughly, most don’t cover things your pet breed may be genetically predisposed to. All of my dog’s major issues have been things that wouldn’t have been covered, glad I read the fine print!

  47. We have two dogs and two cats and they are our family since we don’t have any children. I love them all dearly and treat them very well. We spend about $120 per month on food and then there are treats, kitty litter, toys, poo bags, vet bills, dog walker etc. I do all the grooming myself (they are all long haired..!!) They cost money yes, but they are worth every penny. Heck, I even save money by not having to have a gym membership since we are constantly out walking and hiking. The dogs come along with us camping, canoeing, biking and hiking. In many ways our lives are centred around them and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Having said that, we are not crazy dog people, they don’t sleep in our beds, there are rules to follow, we don’t dress them up or put cute bows in their fur. They are still very much dogs/cats. I used to work in a vet clinic and did the math, pet insurance as far as I am concerned is not worth it. But you have to spend time with your pet, have rules and give it exercise and attention. So many health problems can be resolved by not over feeding and regular exercise. A lot of people have high energy breeds that are not compatible with their life style and after the cute puppy stage these dogs suffer because nobody has the time. A TIRED DOG IS A HAPPY DOG 🙂

  48. I have pet insurance on my two dogs which costs about $65 per month for the both of them. I have 5 parrots and three bags of seed/pellet cost about $45 every three months. My dog food a bag of raw costs $30 every two months. A 25lb bag lasts about 30 months and is $70. I take my dogs to get groomed every 6 months that costs around $80. I buy eggs, rice, cucumber, corn, carrots for the parrots for their fresh diet. That costs about $5/week. I have a turtle and his pellets cost about $25 once a year. My fish food is about $15 once a year. The thing that’s expensive are the vet visits if they need to go. Thus the dog pet insurance. If they offered it for parrots I’d have it on them too. I don’t have kids, I have pets as my family members. I figure they’re cheaper than kids with all of their school items and clothing and lessons/sports.

  49. the dry dog food lasts 3-4 months not 30

  50. I strongly disagree with paying for pet insurance. Paying $29.00 (or whatever your monthly premium is) a month for something that may or MAY NOT cover the needed medical attention seems like a giant waste. Put your month payment into a separate pet emergency account, gain interest and use when needed.

    I average $40 a month for vet, food, treats, grooming (have his nails clipped quarterly) and supplies. I have a smaller sized dog (30lbs) so his costs are lower than that of a larger breed dog.

    I choose to have a dog – he did not choose me, so he will have the things that make his life a happy puppy life. There is nothing like coming home to a happy puppy at the end of the day to make you smile.

  51. Okay. I will admit we are dog people. We both have had dogs most of our lives before we got together and all of the time since we met. We do spend a fair amount on them yearly but they are our kids. We could not have the 2 legged kind so we have the furry ones. We do still donate to both human and animal charities so everyone gets some of our disposable income. We try to share a bit with everyone.
    Anyone who says pets are not people are correct. They don’t lie, cheat, or tell you where to go. All they do is love you and accept you for who you are. No games, no hidden agendas, just truth.
    When I was so ill I could not get off the couch for months, my dogs kept watch at my side. When I suffered numerous miscarriages they let me hold them close and cry the hurt out. They do nothing but give love and affection so it is the least I can do to give them my respect, love, and to share what I have with them.
    There is a saying that goes something like…they don’t care if you are rich or poor, they will love you no matter what. My pets were there when it was all we could do to pay the bills and put food on the table. They were happy to share our lives no matter what we had. Now that we can afford it, we spend a bit more on them, but we think it is worth every penny. They make great therapists, exercise coaches, life motivators, companions, confidantes, portable heat sources, and a whole lot more. Without the dogs, our lives would still go on but they would not be as rich or so complete.

  52. You have to really read the fine print with a pet insurance policy. There are many things that are not covered.

    If you can religiously put away a bit of money each month for pet care aside from regular costs, you will likely be further ahead.

  53. I am a dog groomer, I cannot count how many new clients call and are shocked that it will cost over $40 for a grooming and they need to come in at least once every 3 months (I recommend every 8 weeks)…I then do not see those puppies till they are a year old, severly matted and terrified of the grooming process. because they were neglected they have nails in their pads, skin sores under the mats…to wild to be safely groomed. They are referred to the vet groomer.
    The vet groomer charges them for sedation, the grooming, the vet cost to treat the wounds, the antibiotics to the tune of $400-ish.
    People need to realize that ‘cheap’ puppies may have higher maintence costs.
    I actually own a stdard poodle and two yorkies…it was cheaper for me to go to grooming school and open my own business then to keep paying someone else:)

  54. I have 2 large rescue dogs and 3 rescue cats. The cats are all getting older now. 15, 13 and 9.

    With this batch of furry family members, the biggest expense was 2K for my 100 pound dog who blew out his knee. It was 2K or euthanize him. I am glad I could afford the 2K as he has already given me 2 1/2 years more of devotion.

    But yes, pets are expensive. I think (disregarding the 2K op) that my 5 animals cost me an average of 100 loonies per month. But as they die out, I will limit myself to one cat and one dog.

  55. avatar Tony Daniels Says:
    April 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    And don’t forget some pet stores have monthly installments to buy a pet. One store I know, after I calculated the interest by myself, charged about 48% for 12 months and 42% for a 24 monthly installment plan. Quite ridiculous! Buyer Beware.

  56. avatar flynnycat Says:
    May 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    SO sick and tired of any talk about companion animals revolving around how much they cost.

    When you decide to have kids, do you have lengthy discussions about what the little snots will cost? Probably not. You just have em anyway, and there is nothing you wouldn’t do for your precious little angels. Very few people have ever decided NOT to have kids because it’s too expensive and kids make a mess in the house.

    But pets? Pfff. Animals are commodities that you buy and sell as they become convenient or inconvenient. Oh, Daisy needs a $1000 surgery? Nah, pay less and euthanize her, then turn around and get another, because after all, she’s “just a dog”.

    Seriously, I am just tired of this mentality. No wonder shelters are full and companion animals are paying the price–with their lives–for human selfishness and stupidity.

    I think that the practice of keeping “pets” should be abolished. There is no way in hell that an animal should lose her life because you can’t be bothered to spend some money on her because you’d rather use it for a vacation or renos.

    Such BS.

    This is crap.

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