Daily Dupaco

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Pet ownership by the numbers

Pet ownership has its perks.

You get a loyal companion, a walking partner and an endless supply of funny Fido stories. 

But thinking about all of those priceless moments can make a dog or cat lover forget that owning a pet comes with a price. It requires a long-term commitment, both in daily care and in recurring costs.

"I think people understand there's going to be continual costs, but sometimes people don't realize it's going to be for 10, 15 or 20 years," said Pete Murphy, director of operations for the Dubuque Regional Humane Society. "It adds up fast."

Before entering the world of pet ownership, think about where you will be 10 or 15 years from now. Will it still be feasible to care for – and pay for – a furry friend?

The Dubuque Regional Humane Society offered a breakdown of the more common costs associated with owning a healthy dog or cat:

  • Purchase price or adoption fee: Costs vary widely. But at the humane society, adoption fees are $75 for cats, $110 for kittens, $135 or higher for dogs and $170 or higher for puppies. The fee  – which includes spay or neuter surgery, deworming and other treatment – can be lower or higher based on the animal's adoptability.
  • Spay or neuter surgery: The one-time surgery typically costs $150-$250.
  • Vaccinations: Routine preventative vaccinations for dogs and cats typically cost $100 annually. The cost is higher for puppies and kittens, which require additional boosters.
  • Flea and tick prevention: Frontline, a topical flea and tick control product for dogs and cats, costs $15 monthly.
  • Heartworm prevention: It costs about $90 per year for a dog’s heartworm preventative medication.
  • Food: A medium-sized dog will eat through about $40-$50 worth of food each month, and a cat will go through $20-$30 worth of food during the same period.
  • Grooming: Many dog owners have their pet groomed every six to eight weeks. That service can cost $50, give or take.
  • License: Depending on the city and whether the pet has been spayed or neutered, an annual license costs about $15-$30.
  • Other pet supplies: Don’t forget a leash, collar, kennel, chew toys and other toys.  

"It's one of those things where you can't really skimp," Murphy said of the costs associated with a pet. "The cost is what the cost is, and there's not a lot of ways around that."

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