How Much Does Your Pet Really Cost You?

PersonalFinanceDogDaphneHave you ever found yourself moseying around your local pet store, or better yet, frequently looking at the pet section on craigslist? I am all too familiar with the intense desire to have a pet (more specifically a dog). There was never a time in my childhood where we didn’t have at least one dog and a cat. So naturally, when I left for college I was seriously craving to have a dog of my very own to cuddle and bond with!

Can I Get a Puppy?

Despite being incredibly busy during school, my desire for getting a puppy just kept increasing. Two days after I graduated, I moved from Virginia to the Florida panhandle to be with my fiance. I know I pestered the heck out of him almost daily about getting a puppy even though I had a ton of student loan debt and didn’t even have a job lined up yet. My excuse was that if I wasn’t working, I would have time to train and bond with my new puppy! Great logic right?

Lance, my fiance, was very patient but firm when he kept saying we could not afford a dog right now. Unfortunately he was more than right. Even though our rental accepted dogs, it was a $500 non-refundable pet deposit, plus all of the costs that come along with a new pet. On top of it all, little did I know, I would soon be commuting over an hour each way to my new job, and living with his parents part time during the week while I worked. If I had gotten a dog, not only would I miss it during the week, but it would be very unfair to the poor puppy because I wouldn’t be able to give it the right attention, or be able to afford to properly take care of it.

We’re Ready! 

Several months later, we ended up buying a townhouse close to where my new job was, and decided that we were financially stable enough to afford a new puppy. Yay! I found an adorable puppy at the animal control shelter in a neighboring city. She cost a whopping $15! Don’t let this low price fool you though, she needed quite a bit of TLC and needed to be taken to the vet straight from the shelter.

After getting a thorough exam, treated for her kennel cough and fleas, she was ready to be taken home! I had a few hundred dollars saved up before we got her so that I could get her situated and spayed. Little did I know, she would throw my puppy budget right out the window!

What She Really Cost

Turns out she has severe allergies, and not just the typical dog scratching her ears type. I’m talking about severe welts on her belly, and sores on her whole body. I tried all the typical home remedies, and had her put on a couple of different types of medications.

None of these options effectively worked. We had to decide to get her allergy tested. We started her on allergy shots. This cost us around $500 for the initial testing and first vial of medication, and is now costing me almost $200 every 3-5 months, in addition to all of her normal care costs.

So as you can see, you never really know how much your pet is going to cost, because lets be honest, your precious little furbaby is now part of the family and you will pay anything to keep them healthy and happy!

Have you ever had a pet that cost more than you thought it would? Let’s hear your stories in the comments below!


  1. I went through something similar! I recently decided to foster dogs for a local rescue, and was absolutely floored when expense after expense kept cropping up. I have always had dogs, but I had forgotten just how much puppies eat (and how much personal stuff I need to replace while they teethe!).

    What I do for my dog (who has a heart condition and takes heart medicine daily) is put $10 per week in a separate savings account for her. We do not use this money to buy anything for her; it is simply a what-if-just-in-case account, as something could happen to her at any moment. It’s so important to really be prepared for anything!

  2. Wow! Kudos to you for helping out needy pups! It is so hard to say no when all pups do is love you! That’s a great idea, I also set aside $25/ paycheck for this reason too!

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