"Looks Like Our Girl Costs Us Greater Than $500 Per Month": Pet Parents Are Sharing Just How Much They Really Spend On Their Fur Baby

    "My family asks why I don’t get a second dog for company for my dog...I’d need a second salary."

    These days, pets are truly part of the family. We're throwing them birthday parties, making them social accounts, and dedicating a substantial portion of our budgets to their health and well-being. Unfortunately, with inflation rising, the cost of pet supplies and care is rising too.

    My cat living his very best life

    In fact, the January consumer price index showed that within the pet industry, food costs are up 15% and product costs are up 12% — and understandably so, toy purchases are down 16%. As people adapt to a higher cost of living, scrounging up extra cash for that adorable puppy subscription box or fancy cat house is proving difficult for many.

    Within the past year, Reddit has been a forum where many pet parents have come together to discuss the financial commitment of adopting an animal. I dove into the Reddit-sphere to uncover what people are spending monthly on their pets, and the responses were eye-opening.

    Also, February is Responsible Pet Owners Month!

    1. "I checked my financial spreadsheet, and I spent $5,551 on my two dogs. That averages to about $465 per month. They are pretty spoiled dogs. They go to the groomer every nine weeks or so (poodle mixes), go to doggy daycare at least once weekly, eat the best food, and get new toys occasionally."

    2. "I have a 12-year-old dog and probably spend $200 per month: $100 into a sinking fund to cover vet visits, $50 for food (I make half her food from scratch, so I spend around $20 every two weeks for fresh food and $30 every three months for dry food), and $50 for teeth chews and gels. And she gets new toys at Christmas but is obsessed only with the same toy she’s had for five years..."


    3. "It varies month to month, but the average for the year makes it about $300 per month. We have three senior dogs (12 to 15-plus years old) and one senior cat (16 years old). We adopted them as senior rescue animals, and they have health issues."

    "The $300 includes cat and dog dry food, bimonthly wet cat food, cat litter, medicines, and monthly heartworm and flea prevention. Yearly senior exams and vaccines are around $250 per animal."


    4. "One mini pig: $100 per year for a vet visit and tusk trim, $30 per month for dry food, $50 per month on something he destroys, and, starting this month, $25 per month on CBD oil."

    5. "I have three guinea pigs in two separate cages (one doesn’t get along with the others). They are spoiled rotten, since they’re my first 'adult' pets! My partner works part time at a pet store, and we get awesome discounts, which definitely helps. Their fresh vegetables are $30 per month, dry pellets are $11 per month, timothy hay is $20 every six weeks, treats are $10 per month, and the cost of new toys depends on how much they chew up."


    6. "Dog, almost 14 years old, 13-ish pounds: $50 every two months for food and treats, $70 every two months for grooming, $500 per year for an annual vet visit (shots, exam, heartworm prevention), and $4,000 over her lifetime for dental work, emergency visits, surgery."

    "Average per month (so far over her entire life) is approximately $130. This doesn't include leashes, dog clothes, toys, etc. I'd probably make it a nice, round $150 per month if I were budgeting for a new puppy."


    7. "Two cats. Monthly PrettyLitter subscription: $42; wet food: $100; dry food: $25; pet insurance: $52; miscellaneous things (water fountain filters, grooming tools): $5 to $10. There is also a vet fee twice a year for each cat that is about $100 per cat, so $400."


    8. "Wow, I'm kind of shocked at how much people spend on their pets. I have two indoor cats; one is 4 and the other is 8 months old. I didn't have to pay for the 8-month-old's vet care up to her spay surgery because it was all included in her adoption fee from the rescue we got her from (the fee was $250). Other than the startup expenses, we spend about $600–$700 a year on food, litter, and vet care. This works out to about $50–$60 per month. Luckily, we haven't had any emergencies; nor do they need to be on specialized medication. We chose not to have pet insurance and instead set aside money in case of emergencies."

    9. "One dog (7 years old, 42 pounds), New York City. Food: $20 per month ($60 for a bag that lasts three months); BarkBox subscription: $25 per month; pet insurance via Lemonade: $25 per month; treats and miscellaneous items: $20–$30 per month; chicken for training: $20 per month."

    "Annual expenses: $200–$300 for vet wellness, depending on what shots are due; $250 for heartworm/flea preventatives; $1,000–$2,000 for boarding depending on the number of days; and a $1,000 destruction budget. This kid is impossible."


    10. "Two horses in retirement (meaning they live in a field and eat grass and are not able to be ridden): $500 per month for boarding both; $180 per month for shoes for the senior; $40 every six weeks for a foot trim for the youth; $80 per month in supplements; $400–$600 for medications for the senior every three months; $600–$800 for annual routine care; and $200–$400 annually for 'extras' (fly spray, grooming supplies, treats, etc.)."

    "Also spent roughly $700 in vet visits for nonroutine issues." 


    11. "I live in an expensive city, so some dog costs are a lot higher than you might find elsewhere: $670–$690 monthly, plus $35 per night if he boards when I travel for personal or work; $150 for vet (three times annually); and $20 every three to four months for a new chew toy. My family asks why I don’t get a second dog for company for my dog…I’d need a second salary."


    12. "Two dogs, one cat. They see the vet every six months for wellness visits and to manage chronic conditions. They’re all 9 years old, so they're considered seniors, and I feel most comfortable knowing their health is regularly monitored. Their flea/tick prevention is more expensive than usual because you can only get it prescribed by a vet."

    "Dog 1's monthly expenses: $30 for food, $15 for treats, $30 for flea/tick prevention, $50 for insurance, $30 for grooming (averaged out), $12 for prescription eye drops (averaged out), and an $800 yearly vet visit with dental cleanings."

    "Dog 2's monthly expenses: $60 for food, $30 for treats, $30 for flea/tick prevention, $30 for medication, $50 for insurance, and a $200–$300 yearly vet visit."

    "Cat's monthly expenses: $40 for prescription food, $10 for prescription treats, $25 for litter, $30 for flea/tick prevention, $35 for insurance, and a $200–$300 yearly vet visit."


    13. "With insurance (90% reimbursement, $500 annual deductible), we’ve spent $1,600 on veterinary care for our 3-year-old, 35-pound shepherd-terrier with joint issues and allergies (this would be $9,000 without insurance)."

    "In addition to that, we spend $40 per month on the premium for his Healthy Paws insurance, $45 on pet rent, $30 on BarkBox, $60 every three months on a large bag of Purina Pro Plan kibble, and $300 every six months on flea and tick preventatives."

    "His supplements and prescription medications are all looped into the cost of veterinary care I mentioned above. I do keep a sinking fund to help accommodate these costs."


    14. "This is embarrassing, but I spend roughly $500 per month. I spend $100 per week on a dog walker now that I'm back in the office, and likely $100 on food, toys, heartworm pills, etc. I'm about to drop another $400 on a behaviorist this month to work on my guy's reactivity. I didn't realize it beforehand (though I should have), but caring for a large-breed rescue is no joke."


    15. "Alright, I’m about to put myself on blast. Looks like our girl costs us greater than $500 per month right now. And I am probably not even remembering everything. If I break down her lifetime costs over the 10 years I have had her, it adds up to about $215 per month. That puts her at an average of $750-ish per month for the 10 years I’ve had her. She was real cheap for the first five years and has gotten more and more expensive due to spontaneous health issues."


    16. "I have a 3-year-old rabbit. I think her adoption fee was $75. Other expenses include $38 per month for pet insurance (covers 90% of all vet stuff after meeting the deductible), $650 in overall vet and grooming expenses after reimbursement from insurance, $35 for hay every three months, $20 for pellets every four months, $10 per month for veggies, and $20 for litter every two months."

    "Rabbits are technically 'exotic' pets, which makes everything a bit more expensive than, say, for a cat. I buy a lot of her stuff from the cat aisle to avoid paying for markups. Also, vet expenses are an overwhelming amount in my pet budget. Those cute, lop-eared rabbits are apparently really prone to ear problems. Good exotic vets are hard to find and are often more expensive. I got pet insurance literally the day I got her just because I have anxiety…it turned out to be the best decision I made (aside from getting her, of course!)"


    17. "My dog expenses are $300 on a really good month, $700 on a bad month. Expenses like vet bills, new bed/leash/gadget, private training, grooming, group classes, and large treat restocking, for example, can make it really high. I also pay $152 per month to send him to daycare once a week, which some people don't bother with."

    "Baseline expenses each month are food, pet insurance, daycare, flea/tick/heartworm prevention, and treats. Rotating expenses are grooming, vet, leash, training, private training, and group classes."


    18. "My up-front costs for my snake were about $850 or so. But after the initial setup, snakes are very inexpensive to maintain. About $12 per month in food when they’re little, and even cheaper as they get older and only eat every two to three weeks. Large mice and small rats run about $3 each. The only excess cost besides food and substrate is the occasional vet visit. For smaller tank setups, the total cost can be under $500. Considering that most snakes can live for 15–30 years, I don’t think the up-front costs are too much."


    19. "I budget about $80–$120 per month for one cat, and that’s for food (dry and wet), treats, and cat litter (I grab three bags at a time so I don’t have to make as many trips). If I need to get toys or replace a cat scratcher, bed, etc., that would be an extra cost, but those things tend to last for a while. Normal vet checkup costs will be $125–$200, depending on which vet I go to and which vaccines they need."

    "I did need to visit the ER one time for an anal gland infection, and after the surgery, antibiotics, painkillers, and two post-checkup appointments, it was $2,000 total. I didn’t have insurance. I would make sure you have money put away for emergencies for your pet."


    20. "I'm 22 and I just adopted my first pup on my own. Two things I'd really suggest: a) Start saving at least $100–$200 per paycheck if you can afford that, as your emergency fund. When you feel comfortable with it, then you're in a good spot. b) Buy little things bit by bit. The adoption fee plus $500–$600 in supplies adds up quickly. What I decided to do was buy supplies little by little."

    "Finally, just make sure you're ready. My social time has dropped because I feel guilty leaving her at home or she needs something. My personal spending money has dropped because she goes through chews and toys like nothing. But at the same time, I can't picture my life without her."


    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity. 

    Pet parenting is a big financial commitment! If you're considering adopting a pet, make sure your budget is ready beforehand. Do you relate to these pet owners? Share your experiences in the comments below.