Budgeting for Pet Owners

Welcoming A New Pet Budgeting Tips

Our animals bring us so much joy, but they are an investment – especially up front. The first year of pet ownership is usually the most expensive, with an average cost of $1,000. Besides the initial purchase and registration costs, you’ll have to stock up on all the essential supplies, like a collar, bed, leash, carrier, grooming tools… the list seems never ending. Add to that the costs of spay or neuter surgery, microchipping, and a pet license.

But don’t let the price point scare you off. With the right preparation and budgeting, adding a new furry family member can be an extremely rewarding experience. We’ll take you through some of the monthly expenses for a dog or cat so you can decide if a new pet fits your budget.

Can I Afford a Pet?

Though neither dogs or cats are cheap to own, dogs are more expensive, since they typically need more maintenance and more food. While cats cost $300-1,450 each year, dogs cost as much as $480-$3,470 each year. If you’re considering getting a pet but are worried about the impact it might have on your wallet, owning a cat, or even a smaller animal, on a budget may be a better option. Remember birds, bunnies and iguanas can also be great companions

How Expensive Is a Pet?


The average pet food cost per month can be anywhere between $20 and $60, but it can vary depending on how much your pet eats and if they require special food. While you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on gourmet pet food, you also don’t want to feed your pet cheap, low-quality food that might impact their health years down the road.

Budget Pet Care Tip: A good way to save money on pet food is to buy it in bulk. This also includes other pet products such as litter and treats.


Not all pets need professional grooming, but for the ones that do, the cost can be substantial. For larger dog breeds, grooming might be as much as $75 per visit. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you can stretch the time between professional visits by doing some of the grooming yourself.

Budget Pet Care Tip: Bathe your dog in the bathtub, trim their nails yourself, and brush their coat often. You’d be surprised how much cash you can save with less frequent grooming appointments and some preventive care.

Vet Care

Each of us could benefit from visiting a doctor now and then and pets are no exception. Expect to pay $100-300 for routine veterinary care, which may include a physical exam, vaccines, and tests.

Budget Pet Care Tip: Just because your pet seems healthy, doesn’t mean you should skip out on the vet! Keeping up with your pet’s exams and vaccinations can help catch health issues early and save you a lot of trouble and money in the future.


If you think pet toys aren’t essential, think again. Toys give pets the mental and physical stimulation they need to lead happy and healthy lives. Occasionally buying new toys may not seem like a big expense, but if your dog is regularly destroying toys that cost between $8 and $19 each, it adds up fast.

Budget Pet Care Tip: For pet toys that won’t break the bank, check out local discount or dollar stores. You can even make pet toys yourself out of old socks or plastic water bottles.


Leaving your pet alone for a long time can have its consequences. If you’re going out of town, you might need to look into boarding your furry friend, which can cost $30-50 per night.

Budget Pet Care Tip: Hiring a pet sitter can be a slightly cheaper option. Consider using a site like Rover to find a reliable pet sitter or asking a neighbor or friend to watch your pet for a few days.

Unexpected Expenses

In an ideal world, your pet would stay in perfect health, but the reality is that emergencies happen. Your pet may get sick and need expensive medication, emergency vet care, or even surgery.

Budget Pet Care Tip: It’s never too early to start budgeting for unexpected pet expenses. Setting aside just a few dollars when you can, helps you prepare for the unexpected.

But if there’s an emergency and you don’t have the cash to cover it, don’t panic. LendNation doesn’t offer specific loans for pet emergencies or pet surgery financing, but we do offer loans that can get you the cash you need to cover a pet crisis quickly and conveniently. Turn to LendNation today by visiting one of our stores or start your online application now!