The Expense of a Pet: From Costumes to Kibble

For those who are on a tight budget and struggling to make mortgage payments each month, owning a pet may not be in their best interest. Pet owners can spend hundreds to thousands of dollars a year on their animals.

A pet emergency and a trip to the veterinarian could put someone over the edge, forcing them into filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this infographic, we'll look at some of the expenses associated with pet ownership.


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The Expense of a Pet: From Costumes to Kibble

  • In 2012, American expenditures in the pet industry as a whole were estimated to be $52.87 billion. [1]
    • That’s up from $50.96 billion in 2011 and $48.35 billion in 2010.

So how much do both the necessary items and the pampering purchases cost? How much are pet owners dishing out to make their animals happy and healthy?

Cost Breakdown

While the cost of a pet varies by the breed and where you’re buying them from, if you’re going to adopt, fees can range from $15 to $350. [2]

  • Prices typically reflect how much vet care the animal has received.
  • Humane societies and county shelters sometimes have lower costs (with included vet care) due to subsidies.
  • Fees often include: [3]
    • Vaccinations
    • Spaying/neutering
    • Microchip
    • Flea/tick treatment
    • Heartworm tests

Here’s a look at the average first-year costs of common pets: [4]

  • Medium-size Dog
    • $1,580
  • Rabbit
    • $1,055
  • Cat
    • $1,035
  • Small Bird
    • $270
  • Fish
    • $235

Why do some of these animals need a thousand dollars worth of necessities?

Let’s break down some of the approximate costs of owning a dog or cat: [1][4]

Dog vs Cat

Food/treats: $254/year (vs.) $220/year

Toys: $43/year (vs.) $21/year

Routine Vet Visits: $248/year (vs.) $219/year

Grooming: $73/year (vs.)$34/year

Spay/neuter: $200 (vs.)$145

Collar/leash: $30(vs.) $10

Carrier Bag: $60(vs.) $40

If these are the basic expenses, how much are the more fun (or even extravagant) ones?

Pricier Options


  • For Halloween 2011, it was expected that American pet owners would spend a total of $310 million on pet costumes. [5]
    • Three most popular costumes:
      • Pumpkins
      • Devils
      • Hot dogs
  • During the 2011 holiday season, more than 50% of pet owners purchased presents for their pets. [6]
    • They spent an average of about $46 on the gifts.


  • Luxury Boarding
    • For the largest deluxe suite at one of the Wag Hotels, pet owners pay $150 a night for their dogs to board in luxury. [7]
    • The Silo suite at the Wagsworth Manor costs $79 a night and includes a decorative mural, TV, and private window for your pet. [8]
      • The resort also offers massages, email reports, and tuck-in services at an additional cost.
  • Gourmet Food
    • Some brands, like Merrick, make pet food that resembles a restaurant menu.
      • For example, a can of Merrick dog food called Merrick Mediterranean
  • Banquet sells for $25.99 and includes: [9]
    • Lamb
    • Chick peas
    • Apples
    • Spinach
    • Brown rice
  • Fancy Boutiques [10]
    • The Fetch Club in New York City charges $125 for a quarterly membership.
      • Features a:
        • Spa
        • Fitness center
        • Theater
        • Pet restaurant


Whether you’re just buying the basics or splurging to give your pet a life of luxury, you’re bound to be spending at least a few hundred dollars a year to own your animal friend.

Provided to you exclusively by Total Bankruptcy.

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This entry was posted on Friday, August 17th, 2012 at 4:15 pm and is filed under Finance 101: Secure Your Future. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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