The anticipation of welcoming a new pet into your home is such an exciting time! So exciting, in fact, that many soon-to-be pet owners don’t put as much thought into the expenses that pet ownership requires beforehand, and they end up being caught off guard. Perhaps you have given a pet some thought, but you are wondering if you can work it into the budget.  

Luckily, you can roughly map this out ahead of time. Of course, plans are sometimes thrown off track (for example, the need for emergency vet care). Keeping a pet budget in mind, while also planning a safety net for any emergencies, will be the best way to set you and your new pet up for success.  

What is the initial cost?  

If you are exploring your options for how to bring a new pet into the family, you are likely adding up what your initial, one-time costs will be– adoption fees, paying a breeder, what is or is not included in that cost, and what kind of immediate care the pet will need once you get them home. Here is a general idea of what you can expect:  

Adoption or breeder fees: This will vary according to which adoption agency or breeder you go through. For an adoption fee, you should expect to pay anywhere from about $300-$800 for your new pet. Many rescues or animal shelters will include some of the initial veterinary costs in their pricing, so be sure to ask for a full list of what is included in the fee, and plan for any additional care that is not included (a booster vaccine for a young puppy, for example). Breeders’ fees vary as well, and the cost may be dependent on the breed of animal you are interested in. You should budget roughly $400- $2,500, but should be able to narrow that range down once you decide on a breed and contact breeders in your area. Less initial veterinary care tends to be included in breeder fees, so you’ll want to get a quote from your veterinarian for all first-year care, including vaccinations, spay or neuter, and any preventatives your pet will need to be started on.  

Startup kit: You can’t properly welcome a new pet without supplies! Here are a few things you might need:  

  • A crate. Depending on the size needed, budget about $50-$100 for this. 
  • A collar, leash, and ID tag. It depends on your style and taste, but expect to spend about $50 or so on all three combined.  
  • Feeding and entertainment supplies. Water bowls, toys, beds… we know you will want to spoil your new pet! Set aside at least $100 to start. Add on another $30 or so for your pet’s first round of food!  
  • Preventatives. Heartworm and flea/tick prevention are very important. You can expect to pay $50-$100 to stock up for a few months.  

These are the items needed to get you started on your journey through pet ownership, but there are some ongoing costs you will need to continue to budget for as your pet gets older. Stay tuned for part two to reveal what a realistic yearly budget looks like to keep up with your aging pet!