Budgeting for a New Pet

Sep 29, 2020 10:08:25 AM

Maybe you’re thinking about adopting a pet or maybe you’ve already invited a furry new critter to join the family. Either way, it’s time to talk about budgeting!

Just like any other household expense, budgeting for a new pet is an important way to ensure that you’re always prepared for the best and worst case scenarios. Having a budget in hand will help you to get more control over your finances and reduce sudden expenditures, while also providing the best possible care for your new companion.

Here are a few pet costs to keep in mind:

Pet Insurance

Just like health insurance for humans, pet insurance can help to provide for your animal in case of a serious accident or emergency. Monthly premiums vary depending on which insurance company you choose, what kind of animal you own, and how robust of a policy you need. Some plans are $50 per year, others will cost you $50 per month. What’s most important is to check what’s covered, and to compare the monthly or yearly premium versus out-of-pocket deductible and co-pay costs. That will give you a more well-rounded understanding of what’s the best insurance choice for you and your pet.


When it comes to the cost of food for pets, size matters! A smaller cat might only need $5 worth of food per week, whereas a large dog could easily eat his way through $100 or more of food per month. Just make sure you’re spending what you need to meet your pet’s nutritional requirements, which will keep them healthy, happy, and ultimately mean less money spent on medical expenses in the long run.


Just like humans, pets need to stay active and entertained! Budget around $50 per year for pet toys, and pay attention to what they like so that you’re not wasting money on a toy that will be forgotten underneath the sofa. If your pet is a dog who loves to destroy their toys, select a super durable option that can satisfy your pup’s chewing needs without sending you back to the pet store every week.


There’s plenty of debate on whether or not pets should wear clothing, but in some cases pet clothing is not just about aesthetics – it’s a necessity. Short-haired breeds, puppies and older dogs will often benefit from a sweater to help them walk outside comfortably in colder climates. Dog booties are also sometimes recommended, again depending on where you live and your dog’s individual needs. Talk with your vet and budget accordingly for quality clothing that’s designed for dogs, which will help to avoid potential medical issues and medical bills in the future.


When it comes to pets and grooming, there’s just one budget rule to remember: Don’t skimp on the stylist! Many pet breeds require regular grooming to keep them feeling and looking their best. If you’ve got a long-haired dog, budget at least $100 per year for professional grooming, plus a bit more cash for at-home extras like a dog brush or grooming globe. Many cat breeds can also benefit from grooming. Ask your vet about what’s best for your breed and budget accordingly.


Traveling with an animal can easily add a decimal point or two to your monthly expenditures, depending on what kind of pet you have and how far you’re going. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft will sometimes allow pets to ride along with their owner, for a surcharge fee of around $3 to $5 – all dependent on your location and company policies, which are subject to change. Taking a pet on board an airplane is possible, but be prepared to pay the airline fee as well as the cost of a travel-compliant pet carrier; both of which will average around $100, and could be more.  

Pet Sitters

Pet-sitting prices vary, but you can expect to pay around $30 to $75 per day. Chat with other pet owners around your neighborhood to see if there’s anyone in the area who offers this service, and what they charge. The cost of boarding a pet at a professional facility will often be steeper than hiring a pet sitter to come to your home – however if you’ve got a young puppy or a dog with special needs, this can be well worth the cost.

Tags: Savings, Money Tips, Budgeting