By Joni Lindquist

According to the 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 65% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 79.7 million homes.  This is up from 56% in 1988, the first year of the survey.  I’m going to focus on the 42.9 million who own cats and the 54.4 million owning dogs (obviously some households own both).  Are you thinking of joining the ranks?  If so, it’s good to enter into the relationship understanding how much it costs for you to add a lovable furry friend to your household.

A dog lover myself, I view the benefits of having a dog as “priceless.”   Indeed, investing in a pet can help your (the human) health.  Per the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative study in August 2014, a survey of 1,000 physicians showed that 97% of the doctors believed there were health benefits from owning a pet, and that 60% have actually recommended getting a pet to a patient.  Seventy-five percent of physicians see their patients’ health improve as a result of pet ownership!

Given that information, the financial cost seems less important!  Let’s take a look:

According to the 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners in dollars include:

Dogs                     Cats
Surgical Vet Visits                           $551                        $398
Routine Vet                                      $235                         $196
Food                                                   $269                        $246
Food Treats                                       $61                           $51
Kennel Boarding                             $333                         $130
Vitamins                                            $62                           $33
Groomer/Grooming Aids             $83                            $43
Toys                                                   $47                            $28 

Total Average                                   $1,641                   $1,125


When it comes to the financial impact of pet ownership, (particularly dogs)size matters.  Medical, care and grooming costs all increase with the size of the dog. Plus, if you plan on having more than one pet, your costs will multiply.  Also, the above doesn’t include things like adding a fence to your yard if that is necessary, dog beds and/or crates, emergency vet bills (for when they decide to eat chocolate, injure themselves, or develop allergies), and doggy day care costs.  All of these items could mean an extra $3,000-$9,000 a year.

I can tell you from personal experience that if you work and no one is home during the day, doggy day camp is a wonderful thing for both you and your dog.  My dog comes home tired after day camp, and she is calmer and sleeps better at night.  However, it’s costly at $15 – $20 per day.  Do this a couple times a week  and you’re out of pocket  over $2,500 per year for this service.  Others may hire dog walkers but this too can be expensive – over $3,500 per year.

I think my furry friend is worth every penny – and she is always a line item on my annual spending plan.  I wouldn’t live without a dog!  The benefits are priceless!  For more information about your financial planning, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –, or call (913) 345-1881.