Pets are like family, and pet owners want to do whatever it takes to keep them healthy and happy. But, while you may be financially prepared for your pet’s basic needs, unplanned illnesses or injuries can sneak up on you, along with the unforeseen costs of care. We know you have the best intentions for your pet, so consider her costs through each life stage, plan accordingly, and be prepared for the unexpected. 

Puppies and kittens

You finally did it. You researched, chose your favorite pet, scoured the shelters for your forever friend, and then saved enough money to cover the adoption fee. You’re all set, right? Wrong. The first year of a pet’s life requires a significant financial commitment, and the adoption or breeder fees are only the beginning. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), costs during the pet’s first year can range from approximately $1,100 to more than $2,000, depending on the pet’s size and species. If that number surprises you, consider your pet’s initial needs in addition to unexpected scenarios that may occur in her early years.

  • Expected initial costs:
    • Preventive veterinary care that includes a series of physical examinations, vaccinations, deworming, parasite prevention, spay or neuter surgery, and microchipping
    • Puppy or kitten food and treats
    • Bedding and carrier
    • Food and water bowls or feeders
    • Toys, scratching posts, and other enrichment items
    • Litter box and litter
    • Pet waste bags
    • Collar and leash
    • Licensing fees
    • Training fees
    • Pet daycare
    • Grooming fees, or products such as nail trimmers and shampoo
    • Equipment such as crates or fencing
  • Unexpected veterinary costs may be required for the following common juvenile conditions:
    • Foreign body ingestion that may require surgery
    • Intestinal parasite treatment
    • Ear or eye infection
    • Upper respiratory infection
    • Skin or ear mites
    • Retained primary teeth
    • Umbilical hernia 
    • Bone fractures

Adult pets

While adult pets between 1 and 7 years of age don’t typically require as many products or preventive care visits as their juvenile counterparts, they continue to need routine veterinary care and basic items. Exceptionally fit adult pets will generally incur fewer veterinary costs than juvenile pets but, unfortunately, healthy-pet guarantees do not exist. You will also need to replace certain items as your pet outgrows them. 

  • Expected costs:
    • Preventive veterinary care that includes a physical examination, vaccinations, deworming, parasite prevention, disease screening, and anesthetic dental cleanings, keeping in mind that preventive medication costs may increase as your pet grows heavier
    • Dental care products, such as a toothbrush, veterinary toothpaste, or oral rinse
    • Adult food, treats, and litter for cats
    • Replacement of bedding, toys, collars, leashes, and equipment as needed
    • Boarding, grooming, or other pet care fees
  • Unexpected veterinary costs are possible for these adult pet conditions:
    • Periodontal disease
    • Allergies, including skin and ear conditions 
    • Ligament injuries that may require surgery
    • Skin tumors
    • Separation anxiety
    • Seizures

Senior pets

As our beloved pets age, they often require more frequent care, time, and attention, which may mean more trips to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, chronic diseases become more common as pets get older, and we recommend routine screening for these conditions. As your pet reaches senior status, expect an uptick in costs to keep her healthy and comfortable. 

  • Expected costs:
    • Preventive veterinary care that includes a physical examination, vaccinations, deworming, parasite prevention, disease screening, and dental care
    • Routine lab work, including blood and urine testing
    • Equipment, such as ramps, steps, slings, or therapeutic beds, to keep your pet comfortable
    • Medications or supplements for pain or disease treatment
    • Boarding or other pet care fees
  • Unexpected veterinary costs may be incurred for these senior pet conditions:
    • Heart disease
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Endocrine problems, such as hypothyroidism or diabetes mellitus
    • Eye problems, such as cataracts or glaucoma
    • Kidney or liver conditions
    • Cancer

Consider pet insurance, from the beginning

Your pet may require emergency care at any time, necessitating careful financial planning. Pet insurance is a smart way to offset the costs of these unexpected veterinary visits, and give you some peace of mind. When investigating pet insurance plans, consider these factors:

  • The type of plan (i.e., a comprehensive plan that includes preventive care versus an emergency-only plan)
  • Monthly premiums
  • Deductibles
  • Caps on reimbursement 
  • Co-payments
  • Coverage for preexisting conditions or genetic disorders
  • Company reputation

We know the feeling of excitement that comes with bringing home a new pet. But, before you sign those adoption papers, set yourself up for financial success, and not stress, by creating a pet budget, purchasing a veterinary insurance plan, or better yet, both. Contact us for insurance recommendations, or cost estimates.