ASPCA Releases Updates to Estimated Costs of Pet Ownership

How Much is that Doggie in the Window?
March 12, 2008

NEW YORK, March 12, 2008—When the urge to adopt strikes, few potential pet parents consider the costs of pet ownership, which can often be far greater (and run longer) than they anticipated. The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today released its updated guide to pet costs to help new pet parents plan and budget for their futures. They are available at

“The joys of owning a cat or dog are infinite,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “In order to provide a loving and safe home for our pets, however, we must ensure that our budgets can accommodate their needs.”

A large dog, for example, will likely require an average yearly food allowance of $225, while a bird’s diet is sparse in comparison, requiring an outlay of only $75 per year. Rabbits and guinea pigs love fresh bedding, which totals a whopping $415 per year, versus a fastidious feline, whose litter costs a modest yearly average of $165.

Recurring medical expenses such as yearly exams and vaccinations range in price from $210 to $265 for dogs and $160 for cats. Pet insurance coverage (including ASPCA Pet Health Insurance) varies, but some policies will cover spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and heartworm medication. Rates for dogs clock in at an average of $225, while healthy cat owners can find insurance coverage for approximately $175 per year.

In return for the gift of companionship, pet parents may choose to spoil their new kin with toys and treats. Humble creatures like fish have little need for extra stimulation, but a pet guinea pig could consume $30 annually in toys and treats. Cat and dog parents can expect to spend $25 to $75 per year on their furry friends’ goodies.

The ASPCA suggests examining your budget, much as you would consider your lifestyle and needs, when adopting a pet. If you live modestly, consider adopting a pet that won’t strain your wallet. Another alternative is fostering a pet or volunteering at your local animal shelter to get your furry fix.

For more information on adopting the right pet for you and your budget, please visit