Considering Adopting a Dog? Here's How Much Dog Owners Spend on a Lifetime of Pet Care

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  • Becoming a dog parent is a big responsibility and will impact your finances. 
  • Dog owners may spend over $55,000 on lifetime dog care expenses. 
  • Making the right moves -- like getting pet insurance and saving for pet expenses before you get a dog can make it easier to afford pet care costs.

Dogs are loyal and loving creatures -- but they require a lot of money for lifetime care.

Becoming a pet owner involves taking on a huge responsibility. Pets can be loving, silly, and loyal companions -- but they are hard work and have many expenses associated with their care. Are you thinking of adopting a dog? You want to ensure you're fully ready for the financial commitment. It may surprise you how much the average owner spends on dog care. 

Of course, there are initial costs, such as adoption fees, initial vet visits, and costs associated with preparing your home so it's comfortable and welcoming for your new furry pal. But there are also lifelong care costs that can add up quickly. 

Lifetime dog care costs can reach $55,000 

A recent Synchrony study examined how much money pet owners spend on care costs throughout their pet's lifetime. They also researched how lifetime care costs differed for dogs and cats. 

Are you curious how much the average person spends caring for their dog throughout their lifetime? It's a lot of money -- and this may not surprise you, but it can cost a lot more to care for a dog than it does for a cat. 

They used a 15-year timeframe to estimate lifetime costs. A healthy dog can live many years, but the exact age depends on the breed and the dog's health.

The study found that the average owner spends anywhere from $19,893 to $55,132 on lifetime dog expenses. With those figures in mind, that's a monthly cost between $111 and $306. 

Thinking about these figures before agreeing to commit to caring for a dog is essential. While it takes a good home and a loving environment to raise a dog -- they're well worth the cost.

It's important to be prepared for unexpected pet care costs

The same study found that many pet owners weren't prepared for unexpected pet expenses. 

Take a look at some of the most notable findings: 

  • 1 out of 3 pet owners will face an unexpected pet expense that will cause stress. 
  • 1 out of 4 pet owners would be stressed out about an unexpected pet expense of $250 or less. 
  • 45% of dog owners thought they were financially ready for pet care costs -- but they weren't. 

Four tips to better prepare for the expense of owning a dog 

If you're ready to get your finances in order, this is what you can do to prepare for these costs: 

  1. Start saving for pet care costs. It's never too early to start saving for your dog's needs. If you're thinking about becoming an owner, open a separate savings account and begin contributing money so you're not stuck when an unexpected vet bill comes your way. 
  2. Consider pet insurance. Pet insurance can be a great tool to help cover the cost of pet care. You never know if your dog will have unique health needs, and this coverage could reduce some financial stress if a serious health issue arises later.
  3. Go to the vet regularly. Regular vet care can help you keep your dog feeling healthy and can save you money in the long run. It's best to find any issues early on so you can tackle them before they become difficult to treat or costly. 
  4. Explore financing options. While setting aside money for future pet care needs is recommended, sometimes it's hard to plan for every cost. Research financing options for pet care costs before you need them so you have a plan in mind. 

You'll make a difference by bringing a dog into your home and giving it all the love, care, and attention you can offer. But don't forget to consider the true cost of owning a pet. Getting your personal finance affairs in order before becoming a dog parent can be a smart move to make. 

Our Research Expert

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