Monday, February 7, 2011

What is the Cost of Pet Care?

By Linda Cole

Owning a pet is a responsibility in more ways than one, and pet care cost will depend on whether you have a cat or dog, more than one pet, or certain breeds of dogs. The cost is not only financial, but emotional as well. It's important to make sure you can afford to share your home with a pet because it can be costly, especially during times of economic downturns or emergency vet visits. Both are examples of unexpected circumstances that can wreck a household budget. For some, getting a pet can turn into an expense they aren't prepared for.

Food costs will vary depending on if you're feeding a dog, cat or multiple pets. The breed and size of a dog will make a difference on a household budget too. But just because a dog is big doesn't necessarily mean he has a big appetite. Siberian Huskies, for example, are very thrifty eaters. I had two Huskies at the same time, and my little Terrier mixes ate more than my Huskies. When it comes to food, it's been my experience that choosing a premium quality pet food like CANIDAE or FELIDAE is a wise investment. This is partly because the pet won’t need to eat as much food to be full and get adequate nutrition. Also, a healthier diet means a healthier pet overall.

Responsible pet care requires more than just quality food and fresh water. There's vaccinations, flea and tick control (for the pet and the home), collars, leashes, toys, treats, vet exams, grooming tools and supplies, beds, cat litter, spaying/neutering, medications, licenses, emergency vet care and pet sitting or boarding while you're on vacation. There are also possible repairs to a home or replacement of chewed on furniture, broken treasures or dishes knocked off a counter. If a dog escapes his pen or home and has been picked up by the authorities, most cities will charge you a fine for having a roaming dog.

One aspect of pet care that many pet owners don't understand is the emotional side of owning a pet. Any relationship needs to be nurtured with patience, respect and understanding. And you get out of it what you are willing to put into it. I've never understood why someone would get a pet and never take the time to bond with them. To me, a pet has always been a lifetime commitment. It's our responsibility to give a pet what they need to stay healthy in body and soul. It's our job to teach a dog how to behave and we grow an emotional bond with our pets by giving them respect and love.

The emotional side of pet care is what sharing your life with a pet is all about. It's about touching, talking to, holding and loving a pet who gives so much back to their owner without asking for anything in return. Being a responsible pet owner means enjoying the pet you brought into your life and understanding what their needs are as a living being. That's the commitment we make as pet owners. Dogs need daily walks to help keep their mind sharp and their body in shape. Cats may appear to be independent and aloof, but they need our attention just as much as a dog. Responsible pet care is knowing your dog or cat so well that you can tell when they are sick or injured just by looking at them and paying attention to their actions.

Pet care also has the emotional heartbreak of having to let a pet go when the time comes. It's something we all have to endure if we're going to bond with a pet. But, that too is part of being a responsible pet owner. Between vet bills, food cost, and every other expense associated with pet care, I've probably spent a small fortune with no regrets. I am a proud and dedicated animal lover who as a kid encouraged a stray kitten, cat or dog to follow me home from school. I am not ashamed to admit I do cry when I know the end has come for one of my pets and I have to say goodbye. The financial and emotional side of pet care goes hand in hand with sharing your life with a pet. When you have a strong bond with an animal, most pet owners wouldn't have it any other way.

Photo by Asia Jones

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. this was such an important and informative post, thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Very well said. Once we have a pet with us, we must be responsible to all its needs and we should provide the proper pet cares to our pets.

  3. Boy, I could tell you about both financial and emotional cost of caring for a sick pet.

    Whatever you can do to keep your pet healthy, do it!


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