5 Hidden Costs of Adopting a Pet

adopting a pet

Lots of studies have been done proving the health and social benefits of adopting a pet. I have pets myself, and based on my own experience of rescuing pets over the years, it has been rewarding and life enhancing, and I wouldn’t trade my pets for anything, even when they annoy me. 🙂

However, if you too are shopping for a pet to adopt, don’t forget to look past the cuteness and keep in mind the costs of pet ownership. Pets cost more than just their up-front adoption fees. There are also several hidden costs of adopting a pet. Here are 5 hidden costs of adopting a pet that you should keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line.

A Pet Gate

Not everyone needs a pet gate, but if you have an area of the house where your new pet is not allowed, a pet gate is essential. For instance, I have a basement and my pets are not allowed to be downstairs unless I am with them. This forced me to purchase and install a pet gate at the top of my stairs as a safety precaution. There are a wide variety of pet gates available for purchase on the internet, but you can typically expect to pay between $35 and $65 for one.

I actually had a hard time finding a swinging pet gate that would fit the dimensions of my staircase, so I opted for a baby gate instead, so there is always that option too.

A Fenced-In Play Area

When I bought my house, there was already a fence in the backyard, but my dogs quickly discovered that it had definitely seen better days. They found every hole and loose board until I finally replaced the largest section of fence to prevent them from getting out. Would I have replaced it if I hadn’t gotten pets? Probably. But I probably would have waited until I was a little more financially prepared instead of being forced to do it by a falling down fence. I’m not even going to tell you how much my fence cost, but I’m sure you get the picture.

Of course, some people don’t have a yard at all, which means they have to put more time and energy into making sure their pets get exercise. They may take their pets for a walk on a leash or go to a nearby dog park. This will save you some money vs. fencing off an area for them to play in. But it’s probably not as convenient as just opening the door and letting out in the yard.

Crates, Beds & Houses

Getting a pet for the first time isn’t as easy as just picking it up, getting food and a couple of bowls. They need a place to sleep, just like you. They may need a dog house or crate if you plan to travel or take them to the vet. These items can add up, so make sure you are prepared to pay for them before picking out your new pet.

Mandatory Medical Procedures

When you adopt a pet, some shelters require not only vaccinations, but also spaying or neutering as well. Check to find out how much it is going to cost you before you make a final decision. This way you aren’t surprised when you pull out your checkbook.

Chronic Health Issues

Certain breeds of animals are more prone to have chronic health issue than others. It’s a good idea to check into this before agreeing to take your new pet home. You might have spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars in vet bills for chronic conditions.

I’ve been pretty lucky that my pets have been relatively healthy. But even still, you have to pay for regular vet visits for check ups, vaccinations, and preventative medication.

There is no question my pets have made my life richer and less stressful. But pet ownership is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Make sure you think carefully about whether or not you can afford a pet before taking one home.

Can you think of other hidden costs of adopting a pet?

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  1. I have three dogs, and before I got them, there were lots of considerations I pondered on. And, it’s worth it actually as it has taught my kids how to handle responsibility, considering that we spend a few dollars on food and other needs of our dogs.

  2. We have definitely encountered the chronic health issues with our Brittany Spaniel puppy. Love the little guy and I wouldn’t trade him for anything, but we definitely weren’t expecting to drop hundreds of dollars in vet bills when he was less than a year old! If I were to get another pet, I would set up a pet emergency fund before I even adopted the animal.

    1. I have thought about saving up a pet emergency fund too, but so far I’ve been pretty lucky and have only had to dip into my regular emergency fund once or twice for a pet-related emergency.

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