The prospect of bringing home a new pet is exciting; but it’s also a major, long-term commitment, and there are many things to think about – and plan for – before you even begin your search for a new best friend.
Pets are expensive. From food and supplies, to veterinary care, to training, their needs require a significant financial commitment from their owners. Before bringing a pet home, take a moment to read over some of the initial and ongoing expenses you can expect as part of caring for a pet. On average, you can expect caring for a dog or cat to cost $800-$1,000 each year.
- Adoption fee – Our fees range from $20 to $140, but this initial “price tag” should not be viewed as a reflection of a pet’s cost of care. A pet will cost you much more than the fee to bring them home; if you cannot afford the adoption fee, please give serious thought to whether you can afford to provide for the rest of the pet’s needs.
- Pet supplies – Toys, beds, crates, litter boxes, scratching posts, collars, harnesses, leashes: it all adds up. The initial setup for a new pet will be the most costly, but some items will need to be replaced many times over the course of a pet’s life.
- Food – Remember: A high-quality diet will help keep your pet healthy long-term. Don’t skimp on your food budget. Learn what to look for on an ingredients list.
- Veterinary care – Consider the cost of annual exams, current vaccinations on a one- or three-year schedule, monthly flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, and any additional care for illness or injury
- Professional training – Your pet may never require professional training, but you should be prepared to provide it if needed. Part of your commitment to your pet is your willingness to work through any behavior issues that may arise, rather than giving up on the pet when it needs help. Working with a trainer can be a one-time expense, but some pets require (and enjoy) ongoing training.
- Grooming – If you adopt a pet with a high-maintenance coat, grooming isn’t just about looks, it’s about your pet’s comfort and health. Be prepared for the expense of bathing and grooming as frequently as your pet’s coat requires.
If you have kids or other pets at home already, take a careful look at their needs before bringing in an additional pet. Are they fearful of pets of a certain size? Does anyone have allergies? Are your current pets friendly and comfortable with other animals? Do your current pets have any existing medical conditions that would put them or a new pet at risk? The answers to these questions will help you determine if it’s the right time to add a pet to your family, and guide you as you search for the right pet.
From play to exercise to training, pets require your time around the clock. If you are not prepared to devote a minimum of two hours a day to your pet (some require much more), you may not be ready to adopt. Even smaller animals, like rabbits and guinea pigs, require handling, training, and attention.
The single most common reason that animals are surrendered to Woodford Humane (and humane societies nationwide) is that their owners have moved to a location where the pet is not allowed. Check rental agreements and homeowners associations stipulations for any restrictions on pets, including species, breed, and size. And please – the next time you move, plan ahead and make preparations so that your pet can move with you.