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Expect the Unexpected Costs of a Pet

If you’re considering adding a furry companion to your home, hopefully you’ve already considered the basic costs of regular vet visits, food, toys, and, of course, purchasing the pet in the first place. But it doesn’t stop there; pet owners are likely to incur lots of unforeseen costs. Before you commit to taking in a new friend, make sure you’ll never have financial trouble providing for them. Here’s what it will cost to make sure your pet is taken care of.

Make sure that fleas flee. Fleas are an extremely common nuisance for both dogs and cats (and their owners). A few months’ worth of at-home preventive flea treatment costs around $40. Owners of strictly-indoor cats might be able to forgo this cost.

Accidents happen. On a daily walk, your dog could easily step on some broken glass and get a cut that requires stitches. A curious feline might swallow something small and intestinally-nefarious. Just about every pet owner will experience an emergency vet visit or two over the course of their companion’s life. You’ll want to have $1000 set aside to cover the cost, because chances are you’ll need it.

Toys will catch your eye. Even if you try to set a strict “toy and treat” budget, don’t be surprised when you find yourself buying your friend extra goodies every time you visit the pet store. Whatever you initially budget for your pet’s delights, pad it by $50 just to be safe.

Obedience isn’t free. As smart as they can be, new dogs usually aren’t good listeners. You’ll need to housebreak them, teach them to sit and stay, and to not jump on or bark at guests. If you’ve never trained a dog before, you’ll have to hire a professional, which can cost anywhere between $150 and $500. It’s not a good idea to skimp on training, or you’ll face bad behavior down the road.

Shine those pearly whites. Small dogs and cats should see a petdentist once a year to prevent bad breath and gum disease. Dental chews just aren’t enough. Expect a professional teeth cleaning to run around $140 to $200.

Gromming is probably necessary. Many dogs require some level of regular hair care to prevent dandruff and painful mats. Some breeds only need to see a groomer once or twice a year, while others need attention every couple of months. You’ll pay between $30 and $90 depending on your dog’s needs. Of course, you can save some money by investing in your own grooming kit.

Keep your friend parasite-free. Dogs and cats can suffer from various parasites, such as heartworm or roundworm. How often your pet needs protection depends on its lifestyle: Does it spend lots of time outdoors? Does it often hunt and eat small game? Depending on the size of your pet, a round of medication will cost between $20 and $50.

You’ll need someone to lend a hand when you’re away. Many pet owners don’t consider what they’ll do when they spend a weekend (or longer) traveling. You will need to pay someone to check in on your pet daily, feed them, change their litter box or take them on a walk. Even if you have a willing neighbor or family member, you should still pay them to ensure they are motivated to do a good job.

Make sure your pet can always find its way home. If your companion gets lost or slips out of the house without a collar on, you can’t be sure that they’ll find their way home on their own. A microchip implant and database registration should cost around $45, and will help ensure your pet is returned to you when they are found.

Adding a non-human member to your household is expensive. However, when they curl up by you on a cold night, you’ll be glad you spent every cent!