I might hear about this from both sides (pro-pet and anti-pet people), but I consider our pet expenses “fun” money.
Pets, specifically our two adopted dogs, are a necessary “luxury” expense for me. I don’t need them for any medical reasons – in fact, I believe they have turned me into a Claritin addict. We aren’t depressed without them. They aren’t making us any money at all and cost a pretty penny. But I’d still pay for the best pet insurance for them.
BUT, I love being able to come home and watch our dogs do silly things or have them on the couch with me…one keeping me company and the other keeping my feet warm. Most recently, watching them play has made me laugh until my side hurt. But, they are definitely an extra expense for us and are budgeted as such.
Our 12 year old dachshund mutt was a rescue from the Houston SPCA – $75 up front (years ago) plus a $45 vet visit 4 years ago. We also had her teeth cleaned for $150.
Our 7 year old Pug was adopted from PugHearts: Houston Pug Rescue – $200 up front (last year) plus a few vet visits in the last year. He had bad teeth, a removeable tumor, and some kind of strange allergy problem. This all cost about $750 and I’ve only had him a year. Yes, I’d get him again anyway, but I’m really glad we budgeted for crud like this.
For both dogs, flea preventative is about $150 a year, heartworm preventative is about $80 a year, shots are about $50 a year, a vet visit is a minimum of $65, and food is about $400 a year (Blue Buffalo since the Pug may have food allergies…we’ll see if this helps in the next month).
There are cheaper options (like feeding them Nutro Max instead), but this gives you an idea. We have spent about $3000 in 5 years and we’re lucky compared to other pet owners I have talked to.
In short, if you want a dog, I would aim for at least $1000 a year per dog. I believe they are totally worth it. I will probably always own at least one or two dogs at any given time. All I can say is, “Yay for discretionary spending!” Buying pet supplies online can also help a lot.
Do you have pets? Do you think they’re worth it?