Responsible Care For Your Pet
Getting a new puppy or kitten is exciting. But unfortunately, too many animals are discarded after the newness has worn off. Other times, animals are simply neglected. Before bringing a new animal into your life, please take into consideration the items below. - then decide if a pet is right for you.
Do not get a pet on a whim. Domesticated pets live anywhere from 13-20 years when properly cared for. The decision to get a pet should be reached after careful consideration for the future of you and your pet. Provisions should be made in the event that your pet outlives you.
Before getting a pet, research the breed and type of animal to make sure that it fits with you and your family's lifestyle and living conditions.
Spay or neuter your pet. Take the animal to the veterinarian for vaccinations and preventative care.
Cats live much longer, healthier lives indoors. Research alternatives to declawing when considering this procedure on a cat. Declawing is an extremely invasive surgery, and can lead to behavioral problems.
When planning for your future, plan for you animal's as well. Animal behaviorists and veterinarians can help with introducing pets to new babies, transitioning during a move, and other major life changes. With planning, many problems can be prevented.
Domesticated animals are no longer wild animals. Because of this, proper food and shelter must be provided by the owner. Consider crate training if you are concerned about your animal being indoors unsupervised.
LOVE YOUR PET. Domesticated animals crave attention. While many animals may have food, water, and shelter, they need love as well. Animals given proper attention and care typically have fewer behavioral problems.
Care for them to the end. Many pets in shelters are older animals who are nearing the end of their life, sometimes taken there because the owner could not or would not pay for more expensive care for a senior pet. Not only are senior animals unlikely to get adopted, but a shelter situation, especially after being with a family, is very stressful. Be humane to your pet through the end - take them to your vet, and be there to provide comfort and love in their final moments.
Consider costs: Please note that these numbers are estimates only. Individual animals may have other costs associated with it.
First Year Veterinary Care/Laboratory Tests - $100 to $200
Immunizations - $50 to $100
Internal/External Parasite Treatment and Control - $100 to $150
Spay/Neuter - $40 to $200. The cost often depends on the dog's size and age.
Food - $150 to $250
Miscellaneous (collars, leads, obedience training) - $200 to $225
Total: $640 to $1,125
Annual Costs Veterinary Care/Laboratory - $50 to $125
Immunizations - $40 to $75
Internal/External Parasite Preventatives - $100 to $150
Food - $150 to $300
Miscellaneous - $100 to $125
Total: $440 to $775
NOTE: Amounts vary considerably, based on factors such as growth rate and size of the adult dog, types of food and unforeseen medical conditions. Generally, puppies require more routine medical attention than adult dogs. However, statistics show that older animals (those over eight years old) will require more veterinary care than younger adults. You should also note that costs vary between stores, veterinarians and by region.
The Cost of a Cat
Purchase prices of cats and kittens vary according to type and quality of animal. However, many kittens are free for the asking because of the seemingly unending supply of unplanned and unwanted litters. While most house cats are mixed breeds, pure breeds are now becoming popular, and their costs vary as do purebred dogs.
First Year Veterinary Care/Laboratory Tests - $50 to $125
Immunizations - $70 to $135
Internal/External Parasite Treatment and Control - $50 to $100
Spay/Neuter - $40 to $200. The cost may depend on the cat's size and age.
Food - $75 to $125 Miscellaneous (toys, beds, bowls, etc.) - $100 to $125
Total: $385 to $810
Annual Costs Veterinary Care/Laboratory Tests - $70 to $150
Immunizations - $30 to $75
Internal/External Parasite Control - $40 to $80
Food - $75 to $150
Miscellaneous (litter, toys, etc.) - $100 to $125
Total: $315 to $580
Note: These costs will vary considerably, depending on special care. Typically, indoor cats require only routine annual veterinary care until they reach their later years - usually after they are 10 years old. In later years, more medical attention, special diets, and medications may be required. You should also note that costs vary between stores, veterinarians and by region. Having and loving a pet is not a right, but a privilege!
An Annual Line Item
The following items reflect the average costs of properly caring for a 40-50 lb. dog. Larger dogs cost a bit more, small dogs cost a bit less. This list is for information purposes only.
- $20 per month ($240 per year) for a premium food such as Science Diet, Iams, or Pro Plan (costs based on 40 lb. bags of food, 20 lbs. consumed per month)
- $10 per month ($120 per year) for various dog treats
- $80 - $100 for annual vaccinations and heartworm checks
- $40 - $65 for a year's supply of heartworm prevention
- $70+ for flea/tick prevention
- $20+ for each grooming session
- $14 - $50 per night for boarding the pet, or having a pet sitter come in during your vacations
- $50 - $150 for toys and miscellaneous items (this can go much higher!)
- $50 - $150 for a crate
- Obedience training (highly recommended!) - $120 for an 8 week program. Some programs offer discounts for rescued pets.
- Fencing - Actual or Electronic can cost hundreds or thousands.
- Older dogs often have more medical expenses (just like people!)
However, the love you get back from your well cared for pet is priceless!