Research indicates that approximately 20% of adopted pets are returned to a shelter within the first 6 months. This is perhaps because most people underestimate the cost of owning a pet. This is why it’s important to know if you can afford a pet before you get one.

One of the biggest expenses of pet ownership is vet care and you may not always get the care that you pay for. However, Balanced Pets in Traveler’s Rest offers primary and holistic care for your pet. We treat your pet like we would our own. We make sure that they are very well taken care of.

If you are considering adopting a pet, you need to know if you can afford a pet. Here’s what you need to know about these expenses.

Expenses of Owning a Pet

Purchase/Adoption Costs

If you are focused on a certain breed, you’ll want to do your research and possibly pay thousands to a breeder. This fee is usually used for early-life expenses and other necessities.

Adoption fees vary, depending on your location and where you adopt from. In some cases, you may be able to adopt a pet for free or for a small donation. On the other hand, some adoption fees are high, but this may save you money in the long run.

Additional One-Time Expenses

In most cases, the more expensive adoption fee will include expenses related to spaying/neutering and initial vaccinations. The lower fees usually do not, and you’ll have to pay for these in addition to the adoption fee.

In addition, you’ll need to buy collars, leashes, carriers/crates, ID tags, food/water bowls, toys, beds, and more. These usually need to be replaced every so often. According to the American Pet Products Association, dog owners spend around $50 per year on toys, bones, and other distractions and cat owners spend an average of $30 on toys.


According to the experts, when it comes to food/treats, you should not look for budget buys. As a general rule, the more you spend on food, the less you’ll spend at the vet. A poor diet can cause or contribute to health issues as well as skin and coat problems. The average dog owner spends about $259 on food, while the average cat owner spends about $228.

Treats are great for snacks, training/bonding, discouraging tartar buildup, and more. On average, dog owners spend $76 on treats, while cat owners spend $58.

Medical Expenses

Every year, dogs make an average of 1.5 visits to the vet, while cats make 0.7. Owners of puppies and kittens often go more often, especially within the first year. Experts recommend that puppies should visit the vet 4 times, while kittens should visit 2 to 3 times during their first year. Each visit usually costs an average of $150.

Preventive treatments usually cost an average of $50 per month and protect your pet against heartworms, fleas, and ticks.

Emergency Medical Expenses

While it’s not something you give much thought to, a medical emergency can happen at any time. Every year, approximately 33% of pets have an emergency, which usually means high unexpected costs for owners. The average trip to a vet ER ranges from $800 to $1,500, though higher costs are possible depending on the type of medical emergency and treatment needed.

Pet Insurance

In order to manage medical costs, you may want to consider pet insurance. The cost varies from one provider and location to another. Typically, the younger the pet, the cheaper the insurance and unfortunately, pre-existing conditions are not covered.

Can You Afford a Pet?

In order to determine if you can afford a pet, it’s important to take a closer look at your budget. If your budget reflects that you are unable to afford a pet, you may want to rearrange some things or perhaps revisit the thought of pet ownership again in the future when your finances are better.

If you are a pet owner in Traveler’s Rest, SC, schedule a visit to Balanced Pets. We are an integrative vet clinic. We offer primary and holistic treatment for your pets. We also offer boarding for when you are traveling but can’t take your pet with you.