What are the costs of having a family pet?

Costs of getting a family pet

Getting a pet always seems like a fun idea. Sometimes even a great present for the kids. Who wouldn’t want a puppy or kitten for Christmas?

With the excitement of getting a new furry addition it is easy to forget the costs that come with having a pet. Whether you’re getting a dog, cat or another animal, each comes with its own individual needs and costs.

Initial costs of having a pet

In an ideal world our furry friends would magically appear at our doorstep and claim us as their new family. However, since the world doesn’t work that way, typically you go purchase one from an adoption centre, a pet shop or a breeder. 

The cost of your pet depends entirely on where you buy it from. Whether you’re getting a young animal or an older one, many of the initial costs are the same, which include: microchipping, vaccinations, food, council registration fees and pet essentials.

Adopting or buying a pet$0 - $500 if you adopt

$500+ if you buy from a breeder
Microchipping, vaccinations and de-sexingUp to $1,000 in the first year, or free if you adopt
Council registrationsFrom $30 to $190 per year (depends on your location)
Pet essentials: collar, food, bed, toys, kennel or scratching post, ectUp to $500, but it can be more depending on the quality of these items.

If you live in a rental place there is also a possibility you may have to pay extra fees to your landlord for having a pet. However, this is something you need to check with your leasing agent.

Overall, in the first year of owning a furry friend you might find yourself spending between $3,000 and $6,000. After that expenses tend to lower a bit.

Hidden costs of having a pet

Pets are wonderful companions that may have special bonds with you. However, having a pet is a huge financial commitment. 

Pets such as fish and reptiles might need large heated tanks which may affect your monthly energy or water bill. While it might not seem much at first, these special homes can see you spend a couple of hundred more dollars annually.

Dogs, in particular puppies, might need puppy pre-school to train positive behaviours and learn how to properly socialise with other people and animals. If you are a first-time dog owner it is usually better to get someone else to train your dog instead of attempting to do it yourself. While puppy school is optional, it is typically a cost people do not take into account when first getting a dog.

If you ever want to go on holiday or overseas, there is the likely chance you’ll have to pay for a pet sitter or pay to board your pet somewhere. Again this is something that can easily be forgotten when buying a family pet. Depending on your lifestyle this could be a rare cost, but it still needs to be considered because it can be an expensive service.

Continuous costs of having a pet

Pets can live from 8 to 30 years, depending on the breed or type of animal you have. 

A cat can live up to 15 to 20 years while a dog can live up to 15 years. Meanwhile, a bird like a parrot or a cockatoo can actually outlive the owner if you get them as a hatchling. That is many years of buying food, paying for medical expenses and fun gadgets for your animal companion. Just as a pet is a financial commitment, it can also be a life commitment.

In 2016, Australian households spent about $12.2 billion on pet products and more than a third of it was on pet food, said Animal Medicine Australia.

Average yearly cost of a pet:

  • $1475 for dogs
  • $1029 for cats
  • $115 for birds
  • $50 for fish

Another continuous cost that you’ll pay during your pet’s lifetime is pet insurance. Getting your pet insured is important because you’ll save yourself insane out of pocket expenses from an unforeseen accident or problem. The earlier you insure your pet the better. Typically most pet insurance only covers cats or dogs, but some insurance companies offer their services to reptiles, turtles and birds under their Exotic Pet Insurance plans.

If you don’t know how to start looking for pet insurance for your animal friend check out Mozo Expert Choice Pet Insurance Awards to learn who are the best in the market.