Dog and cat  with blankets over their heads. budgetPets can bring us many years of happiness. They give a lot to us, and they also need a lot from us in return. These needs often take the form of ongoing and sometimes unexpected expenses that can be more than some people expected. Before committing to adding a new furry family member to your home, you need to ensure you can afford to provide the care they require. Here are some guidelines for budgeting for a new dog or cat.

Lifetime expenses

Many people significantly underestimate the lifetime costs associated with keeping a pet. While estimates vary, the lifetime cost of owning a dog or cat typically falls within these ranges:

  • Dog: $15,000 to $40,000
  • Cat: $8,000 to $30,000

Dogs generally cost more than cats, and large dogs – as well as purebreds that are susceptible to health problems – can have the highest expenses.

First-year expenses

Not surprisingly, the first year with your new dog or cat is often one of the most expensive. Here are some of the year one expenses you can expect to pay:

  • Adoption: free to up to a couple hundred dollars (rescue) to over $1,000 (purebred puppy)
  • Start-up pet supplies: $100-200
  • Initial medical exam and spay/neuter: $200-300

Combined with the recurring costs mentioned below, the total first year costs for a dog or cat should fall into these ranges:

  • Dog: $1,000 to $1,800
  • Cat: $750 to $1,000

Recurring expenses

Once you’re set up with your new pet, here are the regular annual costs you can expect to pay:

  • Food and treats: $150-500
  • Routine vaccinations and medical care: $200-450
  • supplies and costs: $150

In total, your annual costs should fall into these ranges:

  • Dog: $1,000 to $1,500
  • Cat: $500 to $1,000

Extra expenses

Depending on you and your pet’s specific situations, there are several other expenses you may need to pay. Here are some important potential costs:

  • Condo/apartment pet deposit/fee: $200-500/move-in
  • Condo/apartment pet rent: $50-100/month
  • Dog walker: $15-40/day
  • Doggy daycare: $20-30/day
  • Boarding kennel: $25-45/day
  • Grooming: $250-400/year
  • Obedience training: $40-125 (group sessions) or one-on-one training: up to $1,000+
  • Pet insurance: $10-100/month
  • Major medical care (without insurance): $800-1,500+/event
  • Fencing: several hundred dollars (“invisible”) or several thousand dollars (physical fence)


As is so often said, caring for a pet is a big responsibility. If some of the higher cost ranges above feel like a stretch for you, consider choosing a cat or a small low-maintenance dog breed to keep your expenses down. Ask your local animal shelter for advice for your specific budget or pet preferences. By knowing what to expect before committing to your new pet, you can help ensure that both of you will enjoy many happy years together.