How much does your pet cost you?

>> 11.12.2009

Meet my doggy-daughter:
I could tell you what her formal name is, but I don’t even call her by it (Cecilia Cody). Really, I’ve never named anything before so I took advantage of the opportunity and paired together a couple of my favorites. She most often goes by: C.C., Cici Lola, Missy, and Missy Moo (because she sounds like a cow).

I’ve broken down the costs of my hair and face, but before I begin pricing her out, I just want to mention that her love is priceless blah, blah… Anyways, let’s look at the costs of owning my 44.3-pound bundle of joy:
Checkup: $120/ year
I always make sure to bring her in on the shot discount days that my vet’s office offers.

Food: $12/ month
My vet recommended Purina when C.C. was a puppy and I’ve kept her on it since. For treats, I usually give her vet-approved people food like carrots, peanut butter, and slices of banana. So far, she's received an 'ideal' body rating from the vet each year.

Medication: $17
She uses Heartguard ($7/ month) for heartworm prevention and a prescription medicine ($10) for urinary incontinence.

Flea/ tick prevention: $18.50/ month
She uses Frontline. I tried one other product and wasn’t happy with it, but this works really well.

Those costs don’t even account for all of the unexpected expenses that come up during the year like emergency vet trips when she cuts her ear ($300) or new Halloween costumes that she just has to have. Plus, I must have spent over $900 during the year I adopted her… with the adoption fee, first year shots, collars, bedding, and numerous trips to the vet when she became sick from chewing on everything. Not to mention all of my shoes that were ruined…

So, I think it’s fair to say that my pet costs start at $57.50 per month. Obviously, she’s worth every penny!
Do you have any pets? How much do you think they cost you?

While you're here, will you please let me know what you think about this? Thanks!


Meg November 12, 2009 at 11:43 AM  

We have an orange cat named Charlie and he's pretty low maintenance. Besides the standard shots and food, he's pretty cheap. He's an indoor and outdoor cat and loves being outside, so he rarely uses the litter box too, which saves us money.

I'm not sure how much we spend annually (seriously, will you be our accountant?!) but like you said, totally worth it! I really want a girl dog that we can name Ruby.

One of my friends rescued an older dog, and he's kind of high maintenance. Special food, special meds and she has to take him to the vet constantly. BUT, it's so worth saving a life!

P.S. - You have to share pics of those Halloween costumes! Your daughter is REALLY cute!

LizzieBeth November 12, 2009 at 11:47 AM  

Between the litter, litter bags, puppy pads (her aim was not very good, food and treats my cat was costing me between $55- $60 a month. I bought most of her litter, food and puppy pad in bulk and with coupons, so that helped.

However, when she got sick and I fnially had to put her down, between the vet exams, blood tests, urine tests, medicine, speicialty food and finally the euthenasia, it ended up costing me over $500.
.. and there went my savings.

I do miss her though. She was worth every penny.


Danielle and Clint November 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM  

I have two hound doggies and 2 kitties. On average per month, we pay about $50 for food, $5 for litter, and $5 for treats. So $60 a month. Vet visits are usually the same as yours. I try to get them shampooed twice a year also, which is about $80.

Have you tried 1-800-Petmeds for the Frontline? I just started using it and for a 3 month supply for one pet, it's about $50! Plus they don't charge tax or shipping. It's not a huge savings, but every penny helps!

Kate November 12, 2009 at 12:29 PM  

Just like with the hair post - I spend waaaaay more than you and refuse to add it all up :) My "little" dog weighs almost twice as much as your pup and my even bigger dog is ... even bigger.

I will say though that our "free" dog (The Hubs rescued her from a highway) cost us $3k in surgery bills the first year we had her (and that was with going to the vet school at 50% off!). It was a cost we struggled with but there was really no other option than to get it done.

Our other dog is 12 years old next month (my baby!) and her bills are constantly on the rise with arthritis meds, etc. I wouldn't have it any other way though, my dogs are super cool and deserve it all.

Katie November 12, 2009 at 12:32 PM  

we have 2 goldens and 2 cats... so we spend a lot on our pets. we do what we can with coupons. i couldn't tell you how much we spend on average just because it's always changing. we do save at our vet by taking the dogs in together, we only have to pay for one vet visit instead of 2. one of dogs needed surgery on his front leg over the summer so that def. upped the pet budget for the year. but we love them all and wouldn't change a thing :-)

Jeannine @ Small and Chic November 12, 2009 at 12:36 PM  

In his first year, Baxter cost me around $3000...but that was because he had a $2000 surgery at a fancy vet trauma center when he was 10 weeks old. :)

Your vet costs are awesome! My bills are never under $200 if there are vaccines, Frontline, and Interceptor involved. I might add it all up tonight just to see...

As for food, a friend who went to vet school told me that the nutrition classes most vets take are taught by the reps from Purina and Hill's (Science Diet), not by other vets. I switched Baxter to a rotation of grain-free foods after I heard that and did some of my own research ( and were my jumping off points). Though it costs more per bag, it is more dense in calories, so he eats (and poops!) less.

Don't even get me started on how much I spend on collars and leashes. My boyfriend thinks I'm nuts, but I like Bax to have "outfits" to match the holidays. :)

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog November 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM  

@Meg- I wish I could share a good picture of her in a Halloween costume, but she hates posing for pictures! I did post a side shotin this post.

@Danielle & C- I haven't tried 1-800-Petmeds yet, but I plan on looking into it- Every penny does count!

@Katie, Kate, LizzieBeth- The unexpected bills are really what add up! My girl has a $3000 surgery for her hips coming up in the next two years- It's a bummer to spend so much at one time, but I know I won't regret it!

Jenn @ Livin' the Simple Life November 12, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

I have two dogs, a kitten, and a horse. I don't even want to know how much I spend on them per year!

Luckily, my boss is a licensed vet who practices outside of our normal career, and he's great with doing shots for free and discounted procedures. Lucky me!

I couldn't imagine my life without them :)

Amanda November 12, 2009 at 5:36 PM  

I am a doggy foster mommy. I love dogs, but for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to make the commitment to adopt one. So I found an organization called CAWS (Community Animal Welfare Society) that rescues animals. My Misty was living in a kennel for a long time, so when I called them to ask if they had a need for a foster home, they were happy to have me take her into my home, even if it's just temporary (I have a feeling it will be a long time :-) Anyway, my point is this: they take care of her vet bills, shots, etc. and I just provide her with food, a nice bed, and love and exercise. It's really a win-win-win, although if someone ever does want to adopt her, it will be very hard to part with her!

SeeJaneGetRich November 12, 2009 at 11:00 PM  

Whoa close to $60 bucks is a lot of money but a small cost compared to all the love and amusement you get from a dog. I don't have any pets but I hope to get a pet after I graduate.

Kristi W. November 13, 2009 at 9:34 AM  

Aw what a cute dog! Our biggest expense with our dog is food. He goes through a large bag every 3 weeks (he's over 100 pounds). Also we have to buy more expensive toys because he's so destructive with the cheap ones. Like you, we spent a lot in our first year of dog ownership. All the adoption fees, initial supplies like food dishes and blankets and a bed, buying a kennel and putting up an outdoor fence, and an expensive emergency vet visit when he ate one of his toys. So worth it though. :)

Our cats are actually really cheap. They eat Purina hard food, and a bag lasts a long time. The only other ongoing fee for them is cat sand for their box.

ashley morgan November 13, 2009 at 10:53 AM  

Our cat only eats dry food (his choice, and I'm grateful) and needs litter. He's super cheap, except for that one time he was foaming at the mouth at 11pm and we had to take him to the emergency vet, only for them to examine him, tell us nothing was wrong, and charge us $800!

Karrie November 13, 2009 at 11:01 AM  

Cute dog and I love the nickname Missy Moo! I don't even want to calculate how much Bindi has cost us this year! She's just over one, so we had all of those puppy (and first time dog owner) expenses this year, plus we found out a little too late that Frontline Plus does not work on her (even though it works great on our neighbors dogs). What a nightmare! We couldn't figure out how to keep fleas off of her and after numerous attempts of do it yourself pest control, we had to call in the professionals. Add to that the number of times we took her to the vet to ensure that she was flea-free before bringing her back home to a (hopefully) flea-free home and the trying out various flea preventives to find one that works on her--oh goodness, I really don't want to add all that up!

But, in the end, she is so worth it. I think pets add so much value to our lives that I can't imagine not having her!

micah @ the yellow front door November 13, 2009 at 11:30 AM  

We have two dogs, Molly & Bailey (aka Moo Moo and Boo Boo). I don't even want to know how much Molly has cost us with her chewing habit (RIP ipod). We found a super-cheap vet that has saved us a TON of money. It's in a small town that's an hour and a half drive away, but we save hundreds of dollars a year.

micah @ the yellow front door November 13, 2009 at 11:33 AM  

Oh and this is really dorky but we have pet insurance (VPI) so we basically get our medications for free or at a major discount.

They really are worth it!

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog November 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM  

@Micah- Buying pet insurance seems to be a great investment. I wish I had looked into that when I first adopted!

Katy Campbell November 13, 2009 at 12:30 PM that you posted this the same week my dog had to go in for knee surgery. OUCH....:( So this year our dog Piper is costing us a LOT of money. But she is worth it - I could stand to see her limp around on three legs just because she stepped wrong when a broom fell over. We have two dogs, but I have found ways to cut costs. We have a mobile vaccine station that costs us only $7 a vaccine, and the vet tehy are associated with only charges a base fee of $30 a visit. We also use a LOT of coupons on our dog stuff, I recently combined a coupon and a sale to get their dog food half off. But after the surgery this week I've pretty much concluded pets aren't cheap:(

chacha November 13, 2009 at 3:05 PM  

She's so pretty! Interesting mix - her coloring looks like she's got some german-shorthaired pointer, or something.

I've got a Miniature Australian Shepherd; she's 6 years old and around 25 pounds of red merle fur. Costs? Hmm, some years, she costs very little - just shots and food. This year, though, she was expensive because of a skin issue which required lots of vet visits and meds. Regardless, dog ownership is totally worth the expenses.

Alison (a girl in her element) November 13, 2009 at 6:44 PM  

I've got two kitties. I've never actually calculated how much they cost me per year, but I think they're pretty low maintenance. The most expensive thing is their shots and vet visits. Other than that, it's just food, toys, food, funny outfits, food and did I mention food? :-) I buy their food at a local pet supply store. At first glance, it seems pricier than the more well known brands sold at mass market stores, but they actually eat less of it (because it doesn't have any fillers), so a bag lasts longer.

Then as for their toys and funny outfits, I buy those pretty much only when they're on sale. Every so often, Petsmart will have this major sale on all their toys, and so I stock up. Last time, I got about $200 worth of toys for $22!

The other thing I'm thinking of looking into is pet insurance.

By the way, your doggy daughter is absolutely adorable!

Lauren November 14, 2009 at 1:16 PM  

We have a dog too and 1800-Petmeds is great!! We randomly get coupons from them for either 10% off or free shipping!!

I hope you are going to put up some thrifty holiday shopping ideas! :)

onegrandhome November 17, 2009 at 12:24 AM  

Back when I bought my first fish, Pollack, he probably cost ne $150 in food, medicine, heaters, pumps, gravel and tank costs over his life.

Worth every dime. He was an awesome fish.

Petterritory December 7, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

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