Why Didn't I Learn This in School: The Price of Pets

Remember when you never had to worry about all the costs of owning a pet kitten or family dog? Well, you're all grown up now, so it's time for those pet expenses to fall into your paws.

We all know dogs and cats are different -- But how different?

Let's talk about dogs first.

The first year of your puppy's life will be the most expensive between all those one-time costs like adoption fees, spaying and neutering, and doggie gear. Plus, if you want to teach that ball of energy some manners, you'll need to add training supplies and services to the budget. Keep in mind, annual expenses are about $800 -- Including medical cost and food.

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Dogs need constant care, so if you work out of the house full-time, you may want to consider a dog walker five days a week. However, this expense can add up. Also, make sure you're ready when your next vacation arrives. If your pooch can't join, you'll need to board him at a facility.

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Healthy habits like teeth brushing and exercise can prevent emergency expenses, but sadly, most dogs will have at least one $2,000-$4,000 medical bill in their lifetime. Certain breeds can also end up being costlier due to health issues, so do your homework.

So, how much is that doggie in the window? Well, you're looking at roughly $9,400 - $14,000 over a 15 year lifespan.

Now let's talk about cats.

Despite the attitude, cats are low maintenance. They don't need a sitter when you're out all day, and they don't eat like a dog. And since an indoor cat is less prone to illness or emergencies, you probably won't need to tap into that emergency fund as often.

Just like puppies, kittens have first year one-time expenses too, averaging out to about $500. Add that to the annual expenses like food, litter and veterinary care, and you're often spending under $1,000.

Even with additional costs, you'll pay between $8,620 - $11,275 over your furball's 12 to 18 year lifetime.

So now you know the truth about cats and dogs. While they're not free, the expense can be well worth those cuddles and kisses.

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