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Can You Afford a New Pet?

So, you’re thinking of adding to your family. How exciting! And no, I’m not talking about a baby; I’m talking about pets. While deciding to adopt an animal is a fun time, it’s also a serious financial commitment. It’s important to consider whether or not you and your family can afford the financial strain of bringing a new dog, cat, fish, or pet rock home. It would be quite an adjustment to your budget. So, can you afford a new pet? Here are some costs associated with pets to consider.

Think carefully about if you can afford a new pet or not.

Think carefully about if you can afford a new pet or not.

Can You Afford a New Pet?

Before getting caught up in the whirlwind of bringing a new pet home, remember that getting a new pet is serious work. If you’re working on debt management, adding another cost to your plate may not be the best idea. Plus, buying a pet is a decision that that impacts the life of an animal; something that shouldn’t be done on a whim or without preparation. So, can you afford a new pet?

  1. Initial Cost: While it can be tempting to visit a breeder to get your newest member of the family, pets can be costly. For instance, buying a puppy from a breeder could cost anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars. If you are considering visiting the pet store or a puppy mill, remember that the conditions are not always pristine. Adoption is a cheaper, more socially conscious, alternative. It’s no-to-low cost, and you could be helping an animal with no home and a sad ulterior fate.
  2. Food: Animals get hungry! And the food, treats, and accessories for any pet can add up. Even with a fish, you have to buy the tank, rocks, filter, food, and equipment to clean it’s water.
  3. Medical Care: Animals need medical care, too. Regular visits to the vet, keeping animals up to date on shots, and spaying/neutering are all costs to consider before bringing Fido home. And don’t forget the unforeseen expenses associated with having a pet; animals can be mischievous. Plus, you never know when they’ll need an emergency trip to the doctor. An additional bill at the end of the month could throw a wrench in your plan to eliminate debt.
  4. Time: If you’re seeking a pet like a bird, fish, or hamster, you may not have to invest too much time into their care. But animals like dogs, cats, horses, etc. require lots of attention. Can you afford to invest the time and energy to care for them? Between walks, training, exercise, and making your home pet-friendly, you will be spending tons of time on your new little guy or gal.
  5. Traveling: Animals need daily care. There’s no picking up and leaving when you have an animal at home. Do you often travel or leave town for business or pleasure? Can you afford a house sitter or dog-walker? Or, the costs of boarding your pet?

Getting a pet is so exciting. Just make sure to really consider how it will impact your financial situation before hastily making a decision. If you and your family can take on the additional costs of pet ownership, that’s great! But, if reading this article made you second guess whether getting a pet is feasible,  you may want to consider if that’s the best choice both for you and the animal.

If you’re struggling with debt, ACCC can help. Sign up for a free credit counseling session today. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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