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New pet ownership costs: How much is that doggy in the window?

When you get the urge to adopt an animal, have you ever thought about how much that new pet might cost, and for how long? It could be a lot more and for a lot longer than you think.

The ASPCA in New York has just released an updated guide to pet costs to help new pet parents plan and budget for their futures. (See below)

A large dog, for example, will likely require an average yearly food allowance of $225, while a bird’s diet is sparse in comparison, costing only $75 per year. Rabbits and guinea pigs like fresh bedding, which totals a whopping $415 per year, versus a fastidious feline, whose litter costs a modest yearly average of $165. (Assuming it uses a litter box.)

Recurring medical expenses such as yearly exams and vaccinations can range from $210 to $265 for dogs and $160 for cats. Pet insurance coverage varies, but some policies will cover spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and heartworm medication. Rates for dogs are an average of $225, while owners of healthy cats can find insurance coverage for approximately $175 per year.

In return for the gift of companionship, you may choose to spoil your new pet with toys and treats. It doesn’t take much to provide a fish with some extra stimulation, but a pet guinea pig can consume $30 annually in toys and treats. Expect to spend $25 to $75 per year on cat and dog goodies.

It’s a good idea to take a close look at your budget when you adopt a pet. If you live modestly, consider adopting a pet that won’t strain your wallet. Another alternative is fostering a pet or volunteering at your local animal shelter or pet rescue organization to get your furry fix. (I know, it still isn’t the same.)

You can find out more about how to adopt the right pet for you and your budget at

For more information about the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) visit

Now go hug your dog or cat and be sure to tell it what a wonderful and expensive pet it is! /Gary

Posted on Friday, March 14th, 2008
Under: Birds, Cats, dogs, Pet Costs, Pets | No Comments »