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The Real Cost of Pets- Cats, Dogs, Birds & More

Ready to welcome a new furry addition to the family? Before purchasing a pet, consider the real costs associated with caring for it. Food, supplies, toys and more add up quickly. Learn the true cost of pets before you land in too much consumer debt.

If you're paying off debt, think carefully about the cost of pets

If you’re paying off debt, think carefully about the cost of pets.

Be Prepared for True Cost of Pets

Any pet will require money to take care of it. Depending on your budget, you may only have enough money to support a fish instead of a large dog. Let’s take a look at the annual costs of owning different pets so you can avoid any unnecessary credit card debt.

Cost of Owning Cats & Dogs

Buying a dog from a shelter or from a breeder can make a big difference. Expect to pay $150-300 for a shelter dog and $300-1,500 for one from a breeder. Food, medical and insurance costs alone tally up to nearly $600. Include some toys and other costs and you will be at $695 annually to care for a dog.

If that number is a little pricey for you, a cat is not much better. Cats come in at $670 per year. Cat littler makes these cute little creatures almost as expensive as dogs.

Cost of Owning a Bird

A bird can cost $15-500 to purchase. This pet is a little more of a budget saver since the original purchase price of the bird can be quite low and annual care is only around $200. However, the cage can add a few hundred dollars to the bill.

Cost of Owning a Fish

For one of the cheapest pets, the fish has an annual cost of only $35! The fish and the aquarium costs will range from $100-250. This is a great option for a low budget.

Pet ownership is an exciting event. The responsibility extends beyond the animal to your overall finances. Without money in the budget, you won’t be able to care for the pet without taking on consumer debt. Carefully consider the costs of pet ownership before committing to one.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Michelle is a regular contributor to Talking Cents. She has taken several financial courses on debt management and is ready to circulate what she has learned from them as well as lessons from her own life- family to DIY projects to student loan debt.

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