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Ready for a Pet?


Thinking of adding a furry friend to your family? Having a pet is a big responsibility. You need to be prepared.

“You are your pets’ world,” says Amy Nichols, a former vice president of the Humane Society of the United States. “They look forward to you coming home from school every day. All they want is to spend time with you.”

Time is not the only cost of having a pet. It costs money, too. Here are some of the costs of animal companionship.

Starting Costs

Adopting a dog from a humane society could cost between $129 and $767. That might include the animal’s first shots, and surgery to prevent the dog from having unwanted puppies.

A leash is a must for dog owners. It can cost $15 to $60, according to the ASPCA.


But there’s more. According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), families can spend $1,400 a year on things like pet food and medicine. Grooming and pet sitters are part of that cost, too.

Pet food can be counted as a monthly cost. Do your research. Find the best pet food within your family’s budget.


Pets can wear clothes too. Be sure to add spiffy outfits to your pet budget.


Spending Time

Pets need lots of attention. Rena Lafaille, a director at the ASPCA, suggests making a schedule of tasks for the family. “Work with your family,” Lafaille says. Make sure your pet has “fresh water, is being fed appropriately, and is getting enough exercise.”

Ask your family to share tasks like walking, bathing, and feeding a pet.


Still want a pet? Having one can be fun, but it takes time and money. Be sure to do the math. Then your family will be ready to bring home a new friend.

Pets need to see a doctor too. Families should put money aside for yearly veterinarian visits.


A New Home


The cost of adopting from a humane society might seem like a lot. But it’s less than what your family would pay a pet store or breeder. The World Animal Foundation says a puppy costs $500 to $3,000 from a breeder. So think of adopting. You’ll be giving a home to an animal in need.