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November 13, 2021

How much do pets really cost?

There's no denying that there’s something special going on between animals and their owners. But they sure can be expensive – pets, that is.

I know, I know, you can’t attach a dollar value to things like companionship and warding off depression during those chilly winter months.

And looking at pet ownership in terms of “opportunity costs” seems particularly heartless.

But pets do cost money. Here are some of the numbers you'll need to consider and, if your want to bring kids into the discussion, a worksheet to help you tally them

All new pets require some basic necessities to get them started, including bowls, beds, collar, spaying or neutering and an identifying microchip or tattoo.

British Columbia's SPCA puts those one-time costs at as much as $292 for cats and $520 for dogs.

How much for annual costs? Including food, vet visits, vaccinations, grooming and licenses, your total costs come in at about $900 for a cat and $1,200 for a medium-sized dog.

Some of this can be offset by pet insurance, of course, although some argue that the premium costs often outweigh the benefits.

Some people have to board their pets on a regular basis, resulting in hundreds of dollars in expenses each time. Boarding or in-home sitters can range from $15 to $30 per day, depending on where you live.

Then there’s obedience training, perhaps an invisible fence so Fido isn’t locked in all day, tickets to Florida, a comprehensive estate plan, and ….

Tell us: How much do you think you really spend on your pets?

Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...