In honor of National Pet Day (April 11), let’s talk pet ownership! Budgeting for a beloved creature is never simple, because you can’t always predict what your pet will need. Thinking beyond the basic necessities of food, grooming and regular visits to the vet, here are some less common costs of pet ownership to keep in mind.
If you’re renting an apartment or house, be prepared to pay a higher security deposit for the privilege of having a furry friend. While security deposits and pet fees don’t necessarily apply to a fish tank or small reptile, they’re usually required for a cat or dog. Fees may also be higher for bigger animals. Expect to add around $25 to your monthly rent bill for each pet, and keep in mind that in areas where landlords don’t often accept pets, you may need to budget more time and money to find the right home for yourself and your animal.
Taking a vacation is a little more complicated with a pet to think about. You’ve got two basic options: a pet-sitter who will come to your home, or a boarding facility. Costs vary widely depending on your location, but expect to pay around $30 per day for a pet sitter to come to your home, and double that if they’re staying the night. Boarding prices are comparable, but generally you’ll pay less to board than you would for an overnight pet-sitter in your home. For pets with fewer needs, consider asking a neighbor or friend to pop in from time to time for cage cleanings and feedings.
Just like you, your pet is susceptible to unexpected healthcare issues. Swallowed objects are a common cause of medical emergency, along with lacerations that require stitches or antibiotics. Urgent care may also be required for a pet experiencing heat stroke. The cost of an emergency visit can run anywhere from $100 for a general consultation, all the way up to $2,000 and up if surgery and an overnight stay is required. Preventative care, including vaccinations and flea and tick medicine, are an important way to reduce the need for emergency care and keep your animal happy and healthy.
Repairs & Replacements
Pets bring lots of fun and love into our home—but they can also bring a lot of mess. Budget wisely to accommodate for repairs and replacements. No matter how well trained your animal may be, it’s normal for furniture to be scratched or carpets to get stained. Especially if you’re bringing home a young puppy or kitten, hold off on purchasing any new or expensive furniture for a few years. The car is another area to be mindful of. If you want to reduce interior damage, spend the $20 on a water-resistant carrier or pet blanket and save your upholstery.
Most rental insurance already includes pet liability, to protect you from a certain amount of legal costs or damages if your pet harms a person or their property. This coverage extends both inside and outside of your home—so if you don’t already hold renter’s insurance, getting a pet is a good time to get it. Homeowners insurance usually offers pet liability as well, but check with your carrier to be sure. Many pet owners also elect to purchase a separate pet insurance policy for their animals, to cover veterinary costs or emergency care. Pet insurance prices range from around $10-50 per month, depending what kind of pet you own and how comprehensive of coverage you need.