Three years ago, I rescued a puppy from a puppy mill. She was the runt of the litter and pretty beat up. Her ears were sort of funny and off-center, and being a Heinz 57 dog, I had no idea how big she would get. I just knew that she was going to be mine. I had no conception of what this little creature would cost me. I didn't even know how much it was to spay her. I just went ahead and got her and agreed to be responsible for caring for her.

Fast forward, and that little mixed puppy has now grown into one spoiled princess of a dog, sprawled out on my bed, coming in at 35 pounds. She has no recollection of her days among dozens and dozens of other puppies. She only cares about how many naps she can get in before noon. Yet, as much as I love my dog, I should have considered adopting her a little more. When I got her, I was young and naive, and now that I have a better hold of my finances, I can help others understand the trust cost of owning a pet.

Regarding pets, it's easy to fall in love quickly without thinking through the reality of the situation. The truth is that pets can be extremely expensive and can inhibit parts of your lifestyle that you didn't even realize. Here are just a few things that you will possibly pay for when owning a pet:

  1. Introductory vet visits and shots.
  2. A yearly vet appointment.
  3. Pet food (the larger the pet, the more food it will need.)
  4. The expense of any allergies/medical issues that require extra medication.
  5. Leashes, collars, and harnesses will need to be regularly changed and/or upgraded.
  6. Treats.
  7. Training classes.
  8. Food bowls.
  9. Beds.
  10. Crates.
  11. Training pads, etc.
  12. Nights in a kennel if you go on vacation.
  13. Nail clippers and other grooming items.
  14. Identification tags.
  15. Spay/neuter operation.
  16. Microchip implantation.
  17. Brushes for long-haired pets.
  18. Special cleaning products for furniture.
  19. An upgraded vacuum with an extension for pet hair.
  20. Pet sitters/dog walkers/daycare.
  21. Monthly heartworm & flea medication.
  22. Toys.
  23. Emergency vet visits.
  24. The expense of gas to drive to a dog park.
  25. Traveling expenses.

If you own a pet, you may not have to pay for all of these items. This is a comprehensive list of some of the expenses you might come across when taking the best care of your fur child. For example, we tried several different harnesses before we found one that worked the best for her. We also buy her a new collar twice a year because hers get faded and dirty quickly.

Despite the high cost, my dog has been worth every penny, and I often find myself buying her toys and bones without even worrying about the price, whereas I always hit the sale racks for myself. However, I rescued her when I was a poor grad student, and I should have researched more into the expenses of owning a dog before going to get her.


I was so excited about having a dog and looked around for the perfect one to rescue for so long. Yet, I neglected to even consider how many hundreds of dollars I would spend on her in the first few months of owning her. Luckily, she has been very healthy, with only one emergency visit in 3 years, and we are happy to have her and her curly tail greeting us by the door every day.

Are you a pet owner? Is there an expense you paid for recently that I did not list above?