Skip to main content

Pet Insurance policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company.

The Hidden Costs of Pet Parenthood

By: Lizz Caputo

Figo explores the hidden costs of pet parenthood and owning a pet so you can approach life with your new copilot minus any unexpected surprises.

Woman in wheelchair playing with her cat

You're about to bring home the puppy or kitten of your dreams. Sure, food and vet visits add up. But it can't be that expensive, can it?

According to CareCredit, over half of pet owners admit to underestimating the total cost of their pet. So let's get real - do you know the real price of bringing a new companion into your life?

By taking time to educate yourself before becoming a pet parent, you can prevent some eye-opening surprises from hitting your budget later on. Be the best pet parent you can be and read up on some of the hidden expenses of life with pets below.

Initial adoption expenses

When embarking on the journey of pet parenthood, initial adoption expenses play a pivotal role. These costs encompass adoption fees, which can vary widely based on the type of animal and the source of adoption, whether it's a shelter, rescue organization, or breeder.

Additionally, there are transportation expenses to consider if your new soulful sidekick isn't local. That can be expensive, even if you try to save money on travel items. These costs accumulate quickly, especially if you need to travel a considerable distance to bring them home.

Once you have your new companion, don't forget about initial veterinary expenses, which include vaccinations and medical check-ups. Ensuring your pet starts on the right foot with proper healthcare is essential for their long-term well-being! The hidden costs of owning a pet are crucial to welcoming them into your life. So, it is completely impossible to skip over them.

Ongoing veterinary care

Ongoing veterinary care is one of the most expensive hidden costs, especially in a multi-pet household. Regular check-ups, typically recommended annually, help monitor your curious copilot’s overall health and detect potential issues early on.

Preventative medications, such as those for fleas, ticks, and heartworms, are essential to keep your companions safe and healthy. That is especially true when multiple pets share the same living space. In such households, the risk of disease transmission can be higher, making vaccinations and regular vet visits even more critical.

Forbes explored the average cost of vet care, claiming, "The average cost for a vet visit is about $61. But other vet costs can add up quickly if your pet has additional health care needs, such as medical treatment and medication. Pet insurance can be an effective way to help offset vet visit costs."

These visits also allow your veterinarian to provide tailored advice on nutrition, behavior, and any specific needs that arise.

Food and nutrition

Food and nutrition are central to your pet's health and happiness. Choosing food that's compatible with your pet's specific age, energy level, and breed can significantly affect their overall well-being. After all, tailoring their diet to specific dietary needs, like allergies or sensitivities, is crucial.

But how much should an average pet parent plan to spend on those tasty goods? According to Statista, "surveyed dog owners in the United States stated that they spent, on average, 442 U.S. dollars on pet food per year in 2020. In comparison, cat-owning respondents claimed to spend an average of 329 U.S. dollars on pet food on an annual basis."

Since prices are going up year over year, we'd say plan to spend at least that annually, if not more. And those costs are just for your run-of-the-mill pet food fare. As much as we'd like to, not all pet parents can afford to spend even more on pricey, high-end pet food. And that's okay! Consult with your vet to find a brand that works for you and your sidekick.

Additionally, considering treats and supplements can enhance their nutrition. Remember, a well-balanced diet isn't just about preventing health issues but also contributes to your pet's energy levels and longevity.

Providing the right food and ensuring proper nutrition is an ongoing commitment that pays dividends. So, invest wisely in their diet, as it's a key pillar of their health and reflects your care as a responsible animal owner.

Grooming and hygiene

Grooming and hygiene are essential aspects of animal care, demanding attention to detail and consistency. Regular grooming appointments, whether done at home or by a professional, keep your companion’s coat healthy and minimize shedding.

Ensuring your pet is clean and well-groomed improves their appearance and helps prevent skin issues and matting. So, grooming supplies like brushes, shampoos, and nail clippers are necessities.

Mobile pet grooming brand Wag'nTails estimates that "Pet store chains, such as Petco and Petsmart, offer the most affordable full pet grooming services... you can expect to pay between $76-$89.99."

Beyond grooming, maintaining a clean living environment with the right cleaning and odor control products is vital. Hygiene contributes to your animal’s comfort and overall health, making it an indispensable part of responsible ownership. So, embrace these tasks as opportunities to bond with your furry friend and keep them looking and feeling their best.

Training and socialization

Training and socialization are cornerstones of raising a well-rounded and happy companion. For example, enrolling in puppy training classes provides essential obedience skills, fosters social interaction, and ensures your dog’s safety.

Beyond basics, ongoing behavioral training addresses specific issues like barking or reactivity. Socialization activities, including exposure to various environments and people, help your pet grow into a confident and adaptable companion. These efforts contribute to a harmonious household, ensuring all pets get along and respect each other's boundaries.

"The average cost of dog training is $30 to $80 per class with most pet owners spending about $50 per hour [and] dog obedience training schools cost $200 to $600 per week", according to Homeguide. Plan to spend more if you need specialized training or have an anxious or reactive pet.

Effective training and socialization enhance communication between you and your companion, deepening your bond. So, even though they contribute to the costs, you should embrace these opportunities to help your companion thrive in their social world.

Pet insurance

Securing robust pet insurance is a wise move for responsible owners. Various types of insurance plans are available, and they offer peace of mind by helping to cover unexpected veterinary expenses.

Understanding the intricacies of different plans, including premiums and deductibles, is essential in selecting the right coverage. That is important since insurance helps ensure you won't be forced to make tough financial decisions in a crisis. It enables you to provide great care for your dog or cat without worrying about the high costs of emergency medical treatments.

In the long run, having solid insurance is not just a financial safety net but also an expression of your commitment to your companion’s well-being.

The cost of pet insurance varies depending on location, pet age and breed, and gender. You can get a quote for your pet here.

Read also: Dispelling Pet Insurance Myths

Boarding and pet sitting

Let’s be honest: a lot of work and care is required to move your pets safely when you travel. So, realistically, they will require some kind of care instead. Therefore, planning your pet's accommodations during your absence is crucial.

You can choose boarding facilities or hire a sitter who can look after your companions in the comfort of their home. Boarding facilities provide a structured environment with trained staff, but some animals may find it stressful. On the other hand, hiring a sitter allows your pets to stay in familiar surroundings, reducing anxiety.

Whichever option you choose, ensure that your dog or cat’s needs, such as feeding, exercise, and medication, are communicated to the caregiver.

Housing and pet-proofing

Creating a pet-friendly living space is essential for responsible owners. Such housing may include features like fenced yards or nearby parks for exercise.

When living in an apartment or rented space, checking and understanding pet policies and additional fees is crucial. Pet-proofing your home also means safeguarding against potential hazards by securing toxic substances, electrical cords, or small objects that pets might ingest.

Investing in durable furniture and using stain-resistant materials can save you money on repairs or replacements. Regular home maintenance is also necessary to ensure a safe environment.

By thoughtfully considering your living situation and making necessary adjustments, you'll create a comfortable and secure home where you and your furry companions can thrive!

Final thoughts on the hidden costs of owning a pet

Educating yourself on the hidden costs of pet ownership enables you to get ahead of them! And that's rockstar pet parenting behavior.

As prices rise and more and more families are struggling to care for their pets, budgeting and being aware of just how expensive life with pets can be can help keep future pet moms and dads from getting in over their heads.

Ultimately, the goal is that no one will ever be forced to choose between their wallet and giving their pets the life they deserve.

Lizz Caputo is the Manager of Content Strategy at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Figo writer Lizz Caputo


Lizz Caputo

Manager of Content Strategy at Figo

Pattern Blue

by you

Design your pet’s plan in less than 60 seconds!

medium sized cat illustration
medium sized cat illustration
Cat illustration
Cat illustration
Cat illustration
Your Pet's Type