Pets are an important part of many families. According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, they are, in fact, so cherished that 58% of Canadian households are reported to have at least one pet, and they spend a collective 8 billion dollars. This represents an increase of 30% in the last five years!
They provide companionship and bring joy to your life, but they can also be expensive. Whether you're in the market for a new furry friend or you already have a pet, budgeting appropriately is essential to offering your pet the best life possible.
This blog post will discuss the overall cost of owning a pet in Canada and some tips on how you can minimize those expenses. Keep in mind that prices do vary from animal to animal and region to region.
Cost of Kittens vs Puppies
The first thing you'll need to do is, of course, adopt your new family member!
Quebec's SPCA estimates that the average cost for adopting an animal at their shelter is $300, which includes all fees and veterinary care required before adoption. This price point does not include any costs associated with long-term supplies or medication, as these are often covered after adoption.
Most provinces also have licensing fees, which hover around $50. You'll also need a sturdy carrier cage to bring the animal home, which typically costs between $40 and $100.
Cats are significantly cheaper than dogs in their first year; your yearly expenses will range from $1,418 (or less) on average per pet depending on where you live and what kind of cat or dog you have.
The type of animal isn't the only thing differentiating these two animals: some necessary costs differ as well like vet visits which cats require less often because they're typically lower maintenance pets who need fewer baths but still get plenty dirty exploring the outdoors.
What Is the Most Expensive Kitten?
The most expensive cat breed, the Savannah Cat which was created by crossing domestic cats and African Servals has a hefty price tag of $25,000 and up. They are the largest of all domesticated feline breeds with weights reaching as high as 20 pounds (9.1 kilograms) due to their serval ancestry: first-generation Savannahs can be very aggressive, wild, and cumbersome to own as pets.
What Is the Most Expensive Puppy?
The most expensive puppy is the Samoyed; a Samoyed puppy can set you back as much as $14,000. The breed is known for its kind and loving temperament. They also have a strong need to roam for miles on end so always make sure they’re leashed! These mischievous, yet sociable creatures make for perfect housemates in families or children's homes where lots of attention can to be given.
The Costs of Pet Foods and Treats
Eating will probably be your pet's favourite pastime. Dogs are the most expensive creatures to feed, with the cost ranging anywhere from $500 - $1000 per year.
The average price for good-quality food is around $500 per year. Cats eat less, but they still need a good meal to live an active feline life. Basic dry cat food will run you about $400 per year.
You should also add treats to your pet's diet, which could almost double your costs.
Keep in mind that different brands offer different quality foods, with some being more expensive than others, and that different animals have different nutritional needs. For example, ferrets absolutely love eating cat food. However, it doesn't contain enough protein to support them, so they need specialized food.
Some pets have intolerances or allergies and need a specific diet to thrive.
The Pros of Cheap Food:
- Better for your wallet
- Available in any grocery store
- Made especially tasty for your pet
The Cons of Cheap Food:
- Lacking in nutrients and protein
- Contains fillers like grains and cereals
- Could significantly contribute to weight gain
Keep in mind that while your pet may love human food, it's not always wise to share table food for medical reasons, even though it could theoretically reduce your costs.
Costs of Check-Ups and Yearly Vaccinations
Veterinary visits are both the owner and the pet's least favourite experience. The cost of basic pet checkups hovers around $50 and is recommended twice a year. You should also budget for the cost of any medications or vaccines that your vet prescribes. These can range from $60 and up per visit.
If you need your animal spayed or neutered, costs will vary between $70 and $250 depending on where you live and the sex of your pet.
The first year of a pet's life is also the most costly due to vaccines and general healthcare expenses. These expenses will decrease significantly from year two on as your pet starts to age and its health condition stabilizes.
There is also the unfortunate possibility of your pet getting seriously injured or ill. In those instances, veterinarian costs increase tenfold, especially when surgery is needed.
Other common expenses include:
Heartworm Medication/Lyme Test
Heartworm medication is essential to dogs that need it and will run you about $60/month.
Flea and Tick Prevention
You'll want to have your pet protected against fleas and ticks to keep those nasty critters out of your home. The cost will be about $50/month
Dental health is primordial to animals and is a leading cause of natural deaths in both canines and felines. Keep your pet's teeth clean just how you would yours with teeth cleaning that costs from $200-$500.
Fecal exams can be the first indicators of a parasite or an imbalance in your pet's diet. These tests aren't usually too expensive, hovering around $25-$45.
The All-Important Pet Insurance
If $2,500 sounds a lot for a pet surgery, then pet insurance might be your saviour. The market is booming right now, and a growing percentage of Canadians are opting for this extra coverage.
Keep in mind that pet insurance does not cover every situation, but it will dramatically help with the costs associated with emergencies or surgeries that can otherwise be costly.
For example, your monthly premiums might cost you $25 a month but include $2,000 in emergency situations.
In that case, you might still have to pay the $2,000 out of pocket, but will quickly be reimbursed by the insurance company. The average cost for pet insurance is $25-$200 for dogs and half of that for cats.
As well, there are some benefits to pet insurance that will save you money in the long run and help with unexpected costs such as emergency vet visits or surgeries:
- Pre-approved discounts on veterinary care
- Discounts on prescriptions from veterinarians (i.e., heartworm medication)
- Coverage for injuries or illnesses that are not the result of an accident
- Coverage for accidents
You can find out more about pet insurance in this blog post.
The Costs of Human Error
Most pet owners know to keep their valuable items hidden far out of their pet's reach. The reason being that they know that if their pet ever gets ahold of them, they could end up biting it or ripping it apart.
Sometimes, the dog eats something more valuable than your homework, and you will most likely need to replace it. This is true of shoes, electronics, and much more!
If we observe kittens vs puppies, cats are scratchers, more so than biters. Without providing them with a proper wall post, they will scratch walls, chairs and your sofa. Eventually, you will need to buy a new couch.
Please don't make these mistakes; hide all your valuables, cover what you can, and give them an alternative to play with.
Keeping It Clean!
Though adorable, pets are dirty. They leave hair everywhere and bring dirt back from outside. You'll want to spend a few bucks on cleaning supplies to spruce up your home by buying carpet cleaners and pet-specific cleaning sprays.
Some people also opt for air purifiers, especially if they have allergies to their furry friends! You can find these for the price of $100-$200 and up, depending on the filtration quality.
You'll also want to keep your pets clean. Cats do a pretty good job of licking themselves clean, but dogs usually need grooming.
You'll need to buy grooming supplies like brushes, clippers and shampoo. It's also a good idea to invest in some pet nail trimmers so you can keep them from scratching up your furniture (and yourself!)
Professional grooming services also exist, but they will set you back about $50 per visit.
The Cost of Owning a Pet in Canada: Worth it?
The expenses of pet ownership in Canada can be overwhelming if unprepared, so you must budget for the cost of your furry friend.
All in all, the breakdown for yearly costs goes like this:
This can go down as the years go by and your pet's health stabilizes, or it can go up drastically if your pet's health deteriorates.
Whether you're looking for a cuddly cat or an emotional support dog, the cost of owning a pet in Canada doesn't need to break the bank. You don't want to skim on things like nutrition, but there are some areas where you can save money.
One way is by looking into purchasing pet insurance which can cover medical emergencies and accidents while also providing some peace of mind. With the sea of options available, you may need help navigating the different companies and their offers.
Insurdinary can help you to compare quotes online, so be sure to check with us before purchasing a policy!