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Financial Implications of Having Pets

Do you own a pet? Pets have become almost a household staple in today’s world. In fact, according to The Humane Society of the United States:

Pet ownership in the U.S. has more than tripled from the 1970s, when approximately 67 million households had pets, to 2012, when there were 164 million owned pets.

The American Pet Products Association found that there were 83.3 million dogs owned in the United States alone in 2012. There were also 95.6 million cats owned in the United States.

With stats like these, it’s easy to see that pets have become the norm for most households. But have you sat down and thought about the financial implications of having pets? Having pets in your household affects every aspect of your life (and theirs), including your budget.

Not sure how? I’m glad you asked.

Spending More

-Medical Care. With this one I mean pet medical care. Vet bills can be expensive, especially when it’s an emergency, and it’s usually much harder to figure out what is wrong with your precious Fluffy than it is to ask little Johnny what’s wrong when you go to pick him up from the nurse’s office at school. At least Johnny speaks English. However, there are many different ways you can save some money on pet care. You can always invest in one of the cheaper pet insurance companies, such as Bivvy insurance

-General Pet Care. If you aren’t a pet owner then you don’t have to have a line item in your monthly budget for general pet care. This includes things like bathing and grooming, food, treats, regular check-ups at the vet, shots, etc. However, most people find that the joy pets bring to their life is worth these costs and more.

-Pet Toys and Equipment. Some pets need toys to stay occupied so that they don’t tear up your house.  Or maybe you like to dress up your pet for fun when going on a walk (we are definitely loving these dog backpacks!).  These things all cost money.

-Pet Care When Traveling. One of the biggest costs associated with having a pet is taking care of them when traveling.  This could be in the form of having them stay at a pet hotel while you’re traveling.  Or it could be in the form of taking your pet with you.  Flying with a dog, for example, is possible but has costs associated with it.

Spending Less

-Entertainment. Pets, especially babies, are extremely entertaining. It’s easy to sit and watch them for a whole evening as they play, explore their surroundings, and learn new things. (Or is that just me?!) Pet toys cost money, but you usually don’t have to shell out much to entertain your furry friends and yourself. In fact, my dog’s favorite toy is a balled-up old sock. Talk about frugal!

– Home Security. This post on Free Money Finance took an interesting turn when one reader pointed out that pets can actually save you money on home security costs. A barking dog is a great home security tool when you are away at work during the day – as long as the burglar doesn’t find out that your dog’s bark is worse than her bite.

-Medical Care. In this instance, I mean human medical care. It’s been proven time and time again that owning a pet is great for your health. Pets are a great comfort and can help calm your stress level no matter what is going on in your life at work or at home. Not only that, pets are also great for your physical health too. Dogs encourage you to go out and get some exercise as they are usually chomping at the bit to get outside and run off some energy too.

-Pest Control. Growing up on a farm, we always had barn cats that helped keep pests under control. Not only do cats eat mice, they also keep the bird, rabbit, snake, and bug population down. Now that I’m an adult with a small breed dog, I’ve seen my little dog in action as a pest control measure too. Disgustingly enough, she loves hunting down mice and bringing them back to proudly show them off to me. Yuck!

Do you own any pets? What kinds? Do you think they are worth the costs of ownership? Do you save you money in any other ways? Don’t worry, if you don’t own a pet you can always entertain yourself with funny cat videos on YouTube. 😉

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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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The content on is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not financial advice and we are not certified financial advisors. strives to keep its information accurate and up to date, but it may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with companies listed on our site. We may receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products or services. We work hard to write authentic and accurate articles.