Every Dog/Cat Deserves a Home But Not Every Home Deserves A Pet

Before you start thinking about what to name your next dog or what breed you’d like, you should first think about everything that goes into owning a dog or other pet. The United States is home to around 70 million pet dogs and around 80 million pet cats. That is a lot of pets, and…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Before you start thinking about what to name your next dog or what breed you’d like, you should first think about everything that goes into owning a dog or other pet.

Owning a dog or other pet is a lot of work and even a lot of money. Before you jump into pet ownership, you should fully think about the responsibility.The United States is home to around 70 million pet dogs and around 80 million pet cats.

That is a lot of pets, and it’s why it seems like everyone has one.

Actually, most RVers have some sort of pet too – dogs, cats, turtles, and even parrots.

But, according to the ASPCA, about 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters each year, and one-third of them are brought in by their owners.

Yes, that means that millions of pets are sent to a shelter by their owners.

Why do so many pet owners give up their animals?

Well, according to a survey done by Petfinder, people relinquish their pets because they are moving, they own too many pets, the cost of pet maintenance is too high, and more.

Another finding from this survey is that 47% of dogs and 40% of cats are between the ages of 5 months and 3 years. Most dogs and cats are only owned between seven months to one year. This means that people are getting rid of their pets pretty quickly.

Lastly, 33% of dogs and 46% of cats that were given up had never been brought to a veterinarian. This is because many people do not realize how much time and money pets require!

Now, I absolutely love pets.

I have two dogs of my own, and, while some may disagree, they are members of our family. We bring them everywhere we go, we love cuddling with them, we regularly (almost daily) go on long hikes with them, we take them to the vet annually, and we just had multiple tumors removed from one of our dogs (so we understand what high vet bills are like).

But, many people take up owning a dog without fully thinking about everything that goes into owning one.

This can lead to surrendering the pet to an animal shelter. And, sadly there are approximately 2,700,000 pets euthanized each year.

I know that owning a dog or cat can be very appealing (they can be great companions), but before you assume you should own one, you should be realistic about your ability to care for a pet.

Related: 12 Things You Need To Know About Traveling With A Dog

Before you think about owning a dog or cat, think about the below:


Do you have the time for a pet?

Owning a pet, whether it’s a dog or even a cat, requires you to spend at least some of your time with them. In general, owning a dog will take up more time than other types of pets. You can’t just crate your dog all day long and never take him or her out for walks or to run around outside.

Many people end up getting rid of their dogs because the dog has to be left alone for too much of the day. If you have to leave your dog inside for the majority of the day, it may use the bathroom inside of your home, destroy your couch, and so on.

Pets need to spend time with others, so before you get one, you need to make sure you can spend plenty of time with them.


Are you ready for the responsibility?

Owning a dog or other pet comes with a lot of responsibility.

You’ll have to find someone to watch yours pets when you go on vacation, you’ll have to think about what you’ll do with your pets if and when you’re gone for the day, the costs (discussed further below), and more.

A pet will require many hours of your day, and it’s not something that you can just shrug off.

Your pet’s livelihood depends on you, and they look forward to seeing you each day. You should look forward to spending time with them as well.


Do you realize that one day your pet will no longer be a baby?

One day, that puppy or kitten you brought home won’t be so tiny anymore. It may grow into a huge dog, even if the breeder told you otherwise.

I know many people who were told by a breeder that the dog they purchased would only be 15 or 20 pounds, yet they are 50+.

And, sadly many people give up their pets because they say they just aren’t as cute anymore.


Animals do age, and so will your puppy or kitten.

Getting a pet just because it’s cute isn’t a good reason. Your pet will get bigger and maybe not as cute, and you need to think about the next 10 to 20 years with them, not just the super cute baby months.


Are you prepared for it to be more difficult to find a rental?

Owning a dog usually means that it will be more difficult to find a rental, as the average landlord usually does not allow pets, especially dogs. This means that you may have to search further away for a rental that suits your needs, pay a monthly pet fee, and more.

According to the statistics I cited earlier from Petfinder, each year over 100,000 pets are surrendered to animal shelters, many of them euthanized, because the owner did not realize how hard it could be to move with them.

While it’s not impossible, you will have to try harder and it may even require more money to find the best rental.


Can you afford owning a dog or cat?

Dogs and cats are expensive.

Many people don’t understand the total cost of owning a dog or cat and only think about the cost of pet food.

Unfortunately, that’s all most people think about, and I am always shocked by that.

You will need to think about veterinarian visits, obedience classes, housing, and more.

The average cost of owning a dog or cat can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000+ annually.

That is a lot of money!

If you cannot afford the costs of owning a pet, then you should wait to adopt one.

You need to make sure you and your family’s financial obligations are taken care of before taking on the cost of adopting a pet. Considering that the average person only saves around 5% or less of their salary each year, the cost of owning a pet ($500 to $2,000 a year) may severely impact your ability to save any money at all.

Plus, no pet deserves to be surrendered at an animal shelter. If you are upfront and realistic with your financial obligations, you can prevent another pet from being surrendered and losing their family.

Are you interested in owning a dog? Do you think that some people jump into pet ownership?

Filed under:

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

Like this article?

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Mustard Seed Money

    I wish we had the time for dogs. Unfortunately we both work busy schedules and I don’t think it would be fair to not give the attention to the dogs that they would need. Hopefully once we reach FIRE we will have more time and explore then 🙂

    1. Knowing this is so important!

  2. Marguerite

    I so agree with this Michelle. I did own a cat for 16 years when my children were young and I was fortunate in that it never was sick.during all that time. I realize how lucky I was when I hear friends and acquaintances talk about spending $1,000 – $3,000 on vet bills in one year. I would only get a pet if I was quite rich and not bat an eye signing a cheque for that kind of money. And yes, I often see or hear of people trying to get rid of their animan or even abandoning them on the side of the road. Awful!

  3. Yes! This!

    I saw someone the other day saying if his dog cost him more than $500, he’d put him down. It made me so angry. If you can’t afford an animal, don’t get one. If you aren’t committed, then leave puppy adoption to someone else who is.

    I travel the world full-time with my dog and I hear stories all the time about people abandoning their pets because it wouldn’t be as convenient to take them along. So not okay. Would you put your child up for adoption or leave him to be raised by family members because it wasn’t convenient for you? No? Then don’t do it to an animal either.

      1. Chapin

        I’m shamefully guilty of relinquishing my beautiful baby to a shelter. My fiancé is abusive, verbally and emotionally; yes too me primarily. He’s wonderful to the cat, was just horrible to the dog, I decided, against my will this precious creature needs a warm, safe place to live, so I surrendered her to a reputable shelter. My heart is still broken over this..
        . happened 2 years ago. Cats, dogs, birds, and yes snakes have emotions. If your with someone who is abusive, DO NOT BREAK THAT ANIMALS TRUST. The outcome may end up WORSE THAN YOU IMAGINED.

    1. Kim

      I totally agree and it upsets me that so many people consider pets as something that are disposable.

  4. Just recently I saw a post on Reddit where a father had a second thought about buying his son a lizard for his birthday. The upfront cost was pretty low $60-$100, pretty reasonable for a birthday gift, but he figured out that between food, vet bills, special equipment, it would cost about $10,000 for the life of the lizard (that’s on top of the two dogs they already had).

    They ended up taking him to the amusement park instead. Smart choice.

    1. Wow, I had no idea that it would cost so much for a lizard.

      1. Neither did I to be honest. Something about the specialized food, equipment and veterinary care. Upfront cost is low but the total cost is very high.

  5. I have owned dogs all of my live. As a teenager I cared for four dogs and three cats. There are many things to consider before adopting a pet. The cost, care, overall responsibility. Pets need to be played with, exercise, etc. It’s not a good idea to keep them locked up all day when you are off at work. We currently have a Shiba Inu and he’s part of the family. He gets plenty of attention and playtime with the family.

  6. This is exactly why my husband and I have yet to adopt an animal. At this stage in our life, it just doesn’t make sense. However, I’d love to have a pet someday! When we are settled and have the time to take care of one, and also have the money for the vet bills (should we need to pay a small fortune) we will revisit the topic!

  7. Kate

    This is such a great post; so many don’t think through pet ownership in advance. We’re in the process of moving, and our three cats are definitely making it more complicated! (But we will manage as we won’t be renting.)

    My brother has a dog he totally loves, but he also loves traveling, taking at least a month or two every year away from home. It’s not easy to find care for his dog for longer than a few days, and the dog doesn’t handle kennels well. He is lucky that our parents are often willing to take the dog in while my brother travels!

    1. Yes, your brother is lucky! For us, it’s near impossible to leave our dogs. They are super attached to us since we work from home and spend every moment with them. Glad we chose RV life!

  8. I couldn’t agree more with your advice. There are many options to weigh before taking on the responsibilities of bringing home a pet.

    Groovy Cat is our only remaining cat. He’s lonely since his brother and sister are gone. As much as we’d love to get him a sibling to play with, there will always be one remaining. When we travel it takes planning to make sure his needs are met. My long term sitter/friend relocated and I won’t have just anyone watching him. My other two babies were very sick at the end and watching them deteriorate was heartbreaking. Plus we spent thousands on vet bills (which I would do again).

  9. Yes, pets can be expensive and time-consuming. It drives me crazy having a dog some times. But, my wife and son love our pug, Max.

    I had my first dog with my wife — another pug named “Pugz.” We got her at a Phillies game when the SPCA was there. They nicknamed her “Pug” McGraw after late Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw (who is also country star Tim McGraw’s father). Anyway, I grew to love her.

    When the poor thing got cancer in 2011, we paid $5,000 to have her go through chemo and she miraculously survived. She was cancer free for 5 years until we had to put her down on the day of my son’s 1st birthday party. Very sad day, but we put on a strong face for our son and managed to have a fun day for him.

    If you’re going to get a pet, be ready to fall in love. Once that happens, it will be tough to not pony up the money for big treatments and surgeries. Also, consider pet insurance. Just my two cents.

    Thanks for sharing,


    1. Yes, exactly! We just paid a few thousand to remove tumors from one of our dogs. We didn’t even bat an eye – we love her too much to not do the right thing.

      1. Holly

        Where do you draw the line though? You might have a big budget, but my family would have to draw the line somewhere. When our cat had complications from diabetes, we were ready to plunk down $1600 to save her, but the vet said there were no guarantees, and be ready to invest several thousand more over the next few years. We loved our cat, but had to draw the line somewhere. Most people do love their pets, and will part with their savings to take care of them, but still have a realistic family budget to think about. We made the awful decision to put her down and donate the money to a local non-kill cat shelter.

  10. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Yes! Welcoming a pet into your life is no different than welcoming children into your life. Pets cost money and time and they may not be the best decision for everyone. There are more frugal ways to obtain and own a pet (like adopting from a shelter!), but pets do cost money! Is a kitty worth sacrificing $1k – $2k a year? For me it was, so I adopted Zap the Cat, but still, it’s worth thinking over.

  11. Having a pet is a long-term commitment, especially when cats and dogs can live 10+ years. My mother’s cat is going on 17 years and is still healthy. Cat litter, food, and vet bills add up in 17 years!

    So when the hubby kept asking for a family dog (I’ve never been a dog person mind you) we made sure to discuss who would take care of him to keep certain costs down first. The type of dog we choose needs to be walked or he becomes bored and acts out (destroy shoes, etc). Instead of hiring a dog walker, we walk him every morning and also have a big back yard to let him play. He also sheds A LOT and grooming is not cheap ($60+/month) but luckily we have our kids help wash and brush him as part of their chores 😉

    The bonus is he replaces us needing to pay for an alarm system and he’s really lovable 🙂

  12. Kelli

    Great post Michelle!

    It is so sad that so many people think of their pets as disposable. I personally know of someone who had a young dog that was in a small cage all day. She was moving to an apartment that didn’t take animals so she was going to have him put to sleep. Lucky for him, my mom was able to take him in and had him until he passed away last year.

    I have had dogs all throughout my childhood. Now as an adult, since I work long hours and don’t expect a dog to be caged or ‘hold it’ all day, I have cats (were strays). I love them to bits and think of them as family. I would never, NEVER move somewhere where they weren’t welcome. I spare no expense on food and vet care.

    I wish you had to have a license to own a pet. It is a huge and sometimes costly commitment.

    1. Yes, I wish a license was required as well! Too many people take pet ownership too lightly.

  13. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

    I believe this about any child or animal that you take in – you took on the responsibility when you felt like it, when they were small or cute or easy. We don’t get to just brush our hands off when it’s not easy anymore and say too bad, fend for yourself.

    I’ve owned dogs most of my life and they’ve always been one of my top priorities. Dumping them was never an option, no matter how poor we were, we didn’t get to cross them off the list just because we didn’t have much money. I always found a way to cover their needs, even if I didn’t always take the most expensive (which wasn’t necessarily the best) options for care. They never went hungry, and they were never left untreated.

    Even now, I’ve been wanting to add two more dogs to our pack but we can’t afford to give three large dogs the diet and care and attention that they deserve, so we’re waiting.

  14. Great article! As the last comment mentioned, too many people think of their pets as disposable. A pet needs to be taken care of for his full life. We have three pets and, yes, it costs a fair amount of money to take care of them properly. They have gone through a few moves with us (including 2 rentals – therefore, severely limiting possibilities) and are a major factor to consider when traveling – all things to consider before getting a pet. But they are family and we would never ever give them up. People definitely need to be aware of the costs and other factors before getting a pet.

  15. Tara

    this is why people who are interested in a pet should adopt an older pet first, especially if they’re not used to all the activity a young pet entails. At least with an older pet, you don’t have it as long as a puppy/kitty, so if your life changes drastically in 5-7 years, your pet may have passed away (in a comfortable place), so you wouldn’t have to give up the pet.

    Cats are one animal in particular that people don’t realize can live a LONG time, longer than most dogs. You could have a cat live to the age of 21 easily, especially if it is an indoor cat with no major health problems (like renal failure which can be common older cats who eat a lot of starchy dry food). People who adopt a kitten do not realize that they are signing up to a 21-year commitment. Yes, cats can be less maintenance than dogs (especially if you have an automatic-style litter box), but they still need love, affection, and play.They also can destroy furniture (dogs too), and so anyone with a nice leather couch needs to realize that the only pets they should be contemplating are ones in cages or tanks. Declawing is extremely inhumane and if that’s the only way you’ll get a cat, opt for a fish please!

    I would love a dog, but I know our house is already full with our cats. Maybe down the line, we might consider it, but for now our house is full. It wouldn’t be fair to a dog if we adopted one now. We might actually go the older dog route when that times comes–there are so many older dogs in shelters that need a loving home to leave this world in, and I know I would prefer their less-energetic lifestyle as well! 🙂

  16. Maya

    I totally agree with you on this one! Our pets are our family and I don’t understand people who decide to neglect or give away their pets any more than those who decide to neglect or give away human children!

  17. I absolutely agree with this! I think it’s so crazy when people get mad at their dog for being hyper or naughty when they never give it any training or exercise and attention.

    Our pup is our baby. He has traveled with us and we’ve had to may extra for apartments to keep him with us. I can’t imagine not having him with us all the time.

  18. ReachingTheCrest

    We rescued a dog over 4 years ago. It is a lot of work. Luckily my wife works from home which means this dog pretty much hit the lotto. It is amazing how much more complicated it becomes to go on a vacation or short trip. “who’s going to take care of the dog?” is a big question that needs a really good answer every time.

    For us, I think having a dog while we are working is better than when we retire. I’m not sure i’m going to want to be tied down to having to take care of my dog when I’m retired and headed out on routine trips. Will be something to consider pretty hard as we near that time in our lives.

  19. Crystal Suarez

    So many people do not take long-term care into consideration when getting a pet. My “free” dog cost me well over $3,000 her first year of life. After ten years, we’re well into 5 digits, I’m sure. She was a horrible puppy – stubborn and SO HARD to train, but she’s an amazing dog and partner in crime now. I don’t get to go straight to happy hours after work, or stay out all hours like a lot of my pet-less friends do, and I’m 100% OK with that. This is part of the responsibility of owning a dog, and she comes first, no matter what.

    She’s my kid, and I wouldn’t give her up for anything. I’ve lived in a few states now, and many apartments over the years, and yes, renting is expensive with a pet, but I’d never consider giving her up. If I can’t find a place, then I guess I’ll just be sleeping in the car with her for a while.

    Once she’s gone, there will be another dog. And I’ll do it BECAUSE of my girl now – to give a shelter dog a loving, easy life is the best way I can think of to honor her. I wish I could have another cat, but my asthma and allergies won’t allow it. I had to promise two doctors and a LOT of family that my last cat would be the last one. So, I just obsess over cat pictures online, and smother any cats I see at friend’s houses!

  20. Allie (explore.live.learn)

    I’m a dog person and recently lost the first dogs I adopted as an adult (they were 13 and 14). I’m well aware that even *I* probably don’t want to know the sum of their care over the course of their lives. It would exceed $100K easily. That’s a shocking number. One of my boys needed two TPLOs in one year – just those costs added $8500 in 2009. Some of my costs are by choice higher (raw food, old dog physical therapy and acupuncture), but most costs are hard to avoid – they’re just part of dog ownership.

    To me, the dogs are worth it. They added more than $100K+ worth of enjoyment to my life. But that wouldn’t be the case for everyone – and I think this is a great article to help get people thinking along these lines. I’ve prioritized my dogs so that I can afford it, but I do recognize dogs limit some of my ability cut costs to increase my pace to financial freedom. Heck, I bought them an RV (not really, but they were a big reason why RV travel is so great for me and why I felt it was worth buying one) and I need property with a yard for them (when not in the RV), etc. So they drive up costs in many other categories than just their direct care. They are even written into my will (a cash allotment for their care to be provided to the person that takes them).

    I used to volunteer at the puppy rescue I got my pups from, and I found it scary how often people would struggle to scrape together the $95-$125 adoption fee (or not be able to come up with it in cash, etc.). I would think: if you can’t afford this fee you DEFINITELY can’t afford to own a dog (let alone a puppy!).

    There are now a lot of pet care plans to help make costs more predictable. Pet insurance is an option to help with unexpected expenses. I’ve had a lot of people ask me my opinion on pet insurance, and I boiled it down to the following:
    -If you have a “farm” mentality (i.e. if the pet is sick/injured just put it down), you probably don’t need pet insurance.
    -If you love your pet like a family member and can’t afford a $3500-$5000 surgery/event, find appropriate insurance.
    -If you love your pet like a family member and have the discipline to self insure or the cash reserves to handle what might be thrown at you ($10K+ in a year is totally possible; it happened to me), then plan on earmarking some funds.

    If you choose insurance, read the coverage carefully and know what you’re getting. I think the market has come a long way in the 12 years since I was looking into it for myself, but at the time it was roughly $100/month (that might have been for two dogs?) and there was a $3500 cap PER SYSTEM. I didn’t like my odds on that… if my dog needed new knees – as he did – it would’ve capped out after one surgery and any other “skeletal system” issues would not have been covered. I figured it was unlikely my dog would have things become issues in a nice distributed pattern across his “systems” – more likely to have concentrated issues in a system or two.

  21. I’d estimate that we’ve spent close to $20-25,000 so far on our 11-year old Saint Bernard. A big portion was to move him internationally 3 times, but vet bills are really high as well for a dog that size. He has his own budget line items for sure, because he is EXPENSIVE. He’s part of our family as well, and we take care of him as such. I’m shocked by those numbers-so sad!

  22. This is so important to think about! I hate hearing about surrenders. Actually, a number of our pets were surrenders I took in and couldn’t rehome! But we love ’em!

  23. wen budro

    Thank you for your honest post. I wish that I had read this 3 years ago. I recently lost my Missy after having the honor of her companionship for those 3 years. I never gave her up- despite my mistakes and the challenges- because I was her 4th home in 5 1/2 years.

    That being said…Yes, I was one of those people entering into this responsibility without thinking it through completely. She was my first pet since 1992. Having a vet emergency visit- or annual vet care- is much different from me and my free Doctor visits and $2.00 med co-pays. My limited income should have made me wait until I could truly afford it. There is nothing worse than the fear that colored my experience. Is she in pain? Is her limp an emergency? What if I max out my credit cards? What if? Thankfully- I did it.

    But, I see blog posts all the time about the joy of adopting senior dogs from the animal shelter. And- I can only shake my head at the posts and the comments. It’s so important to know what issues you could be dealing with…..and how much all of that costs…..first. The average cost, here, of a vet fixing a broken leg is $7,000.00. One emergency visit- along with tests and meds- cost me over $800.00. Your post should be handed out at shelters to all prospective adopters. Thank you.

  24. Mahesh Kumar

    Hi Michelle,
    Thanks for this great article! I totally agree with you. Owning a pet is the same as having loved ones in your life. Pets cost cash and time and they may not be the best choice for everybody. I can’t imagine my world without my pets. But, at the same time, I’m invariably swamped with disappointment that people are simply leaving their dogs as they don’t wish them any longer. So, it’s better to adopt a pet if you can’t afford to own one.

  25. Adriana @MoneyJourney

    I think too many jump right into pet ownership without analyzing what it implies first. And it’s actually happened to me back when I lived at home!

    My sister rescued a puppy (the cutest puppy of all time, might I add) and wanted to give it away. However, my ex insisted we adopted it as our pet. So we did. Well, big mistake, because when we broke up and I moved abroad, there was no way I could take the dog with me so we had to give it away. The dog’s actually doing great now, had a few sets of puppies already and lives with a loving family, but the change wasn’t easy (dogs suffer too, some probably more than humans).

  26. Great article. Owning a pet is ALOT more work than most people think. Articles like this help new owners understand the magnitude of owning a pet before jumping in.

    Our dog Charlie last year started having issues with his urine. We brought him to the vet and we were told he had kidney stones.

    Our first quote was $2,000 for emergency surgery! Thank God we asked other options. He was put on a prescription medication to help pass the stones and keep them from coming back. It’s work like a charm! We were able to save the $2,000 by not having surgery. His food is a little bit more expensive but we can live with that.

  27. I went through this a few years ago with my dog! I was working full time and going to school full time so I was busy and broke. My mom had gotten a puppy and turns out the puppy didn’t get along with her cocker spaniel so she gave him to me.

    I felt so guilty for those couple years because I loved him to death and when I was home we would go for walks and he would just follow me around without his leash on my college campus (he made a lot of friends).

    But there were days that he was in his crate for 5 hours in the morning while I was in class and then after I came home to let him out he would be back in his crate for another 9 hours while I went to work. It made me sad! But now things are much better and he is a great dog…he’s really my BFF.

    But to this day here is my mom her 50s making all these emotional pet purchases. She has gotten rid of four dogs and several birds in the last 8 years for various reasons.

    And then there was the time she thought it was a good idea to buy a boy and a girl hamster and put them in the same cage. Well 200+ hamsters later she had a real problem in her basement. Now she’s settled down though…to two dogs, a cat (she’s allergic), four goats, five rabbits and six chickens. She apparently hasn’t learned anything.

  28. YASSSSS!!!

    Pets can and ARE expensive sometimes because just like people, they have emergencies! I adopted Harrison and he was rather frugal for a year and a half then I came home to an apartment covered in cat vomit. Over $1,000 and a cleaned out emergency fund, I had to put another $500 on a card because he had diagnosed FIV ( he was negative at the time of adoption) and was having an insane flare up.

    Now, I have to make sure he takes meds everyday and pay for them as well. He also definitely can’t be left alone like most cats and needs a pet sitter even if I am gone just the weekend. I wouldn’t change it for the world because I love him so much and he has brought me so much joy. I just tell my story so others know this stuff can happen.

  29. Great post! The true cost and time for a pet is always A LOT more than meets the eye. I had 3 cats and one just passed, I had him for 13 years. He changed my life and was the BEST companion ever. I moved from Japan after I found him malnourished and abandoned on the side of the road. (terrible what people do!).I decided to keep him and would never leave him behind as he is part of my family. Fast forward a few years, 3 and a half years ago, he started to get kidney issues, early pancreatitis, he went blind in one eye and my husband and I had to give him sub-q fluids up to 3 times a week to manage his dehydration, laxatives and a special kidney diet too. Over 13 years, he probably cost me at least $10,000 (regular vet care, teeth extraction and cleaning, and more!) and monthly for the last 3 and a half years, $80-$150 per month. Not to mention my other 2 cats too! So the actual TRUE cost of investing in a pet is A LOT more than you think! I had no idea what I was in for but he was worth every penny. We budgeted for all our animals as they are a priority and made sure we can take care of them. They need time, attention, love and care 100% of the time, they are a HUGE commitment. I love my pets like my kids, they are my family. Don’t invest in a pet unless you know you have the time, energy and know they grow out of being cute and cuddly puppies and kittens!

  30. Madison Boswell

    I fully believe in your insight about taking consideration when thinking about owning a pet. I agree with you completely because a lot of people don’t think of all of the expenses that come with the responsibility of having their own pet. I entirely agree with your statement that people get bored of their pets as soon as they began to grow up. That people mostly enjoy their little kittens or their cute puppies and then they don’t like them once they get older. For example I’ve personally seen my friend dislike her dog as it grew out of its puppy stage. I agree that people need to realize that their pets are not going to stay a puppy for the rest of their lives. I also agree that people need to think more about the money they will need to put towards their pet. Also I think people need to think about the time and attention that they will need to give their pet. I believe that these people need to think long and hard about the responsibilities of owning a pet…

    1. Connie Kern

      You are so correct! People do lose interest when the baby pet turns into a grown pet! Many people don’t take into consideration the costs of owning a pet. I agree with everything you said!

  31. Nayeli

    This was a great article. I only have one dog right now, and like you said she is part of our family. Even though we at times wish to get another pet, we’ve restrained ourselves because we would not give the the attention it deserves. You brought up great points that I hope anyone who things of owning a pet would consider beforehand.

    When I’ve been to the shelters it breaks my heart to see so many animals their… I wish I could take them all home with me, but I wouldn’t have the time or energy to give them all the love they deserve.

    Thank you so much for writing this superb post!

  32. Wow, this is a must-read for potential pet-owners! I was shocked by these stats about owners relinquishing their pets. But then, I’m the pet-owner that just paid $1,027 to move my dog abroad with me (http://www.savingsandsangria.com/how-much-cost-move-abroad/)!

  33. Our dog is very much a part of our family. I couldn’t imagine ever giving her up. And I know how expensive pet ownership can be.

    Sometimes my kids start asking for a second dog – but at this point in my life, that is a commitment I cannot make.

    Maybe someday we will get a second. But for now we are happy with our “only” doggie.

  34. I have a rescue dog. We just paid $226 to have her teeth cleaned. Vet bills seem to be going up! Anyway, I have a major pet peeve with people that give up their pets when they have a baby. I had a baby and kept my dog. If the dog is attacking the child or biting – that’s going to take some professional training and intervention – but in most of the cases I have heard of it’s just that the dog started chewing on furniture or barking out of boredom or something, and the owners are very quick to boot the dog. It’s really upsetting and you are right there are so many pets in shelters.

  35. Thank you so much for this post and the title says it all. NOT EVERY HOME DESERVES A PET. I was a police officer for years and in one area that I worked there was an adorable black lab mix dog that was tied to a stake in a yard on a short chain and I never saw him get love or attention. Now I was there 24/7, however. The worst thing is, by law, he wasn’t “neglected.” He had water and food and a little dog house, but no love. So, I always stopped by during my shift and talked to him, petted him, and gave him love. I’ve seen too many pets neglected and abused. If you can’t take care of a pet or spend time with one, please don’t get one. It’s not fair to you or them.

  36. Ashley

    Let me start off, I agree with everything you have written in your article. I agree that the cost of life-long care (time, finances, housing) should be thoroughly considered before adopting pets. I’ve also volunteered at my local shelter for years, owned a pet-sitting & dog-walking business for 5 years & am a crazy animal lover.

    But I do have a question. I adopted my dog & two cats about 3 & 4 years ago, respectively. All 3 were adults when I adopted them & came from previous owner-surrenders. At the time, I owned my own business & made enough money to care for my animals. I lied to my rental unit about how many pets I owned, since they had a 2 pet limit. But in the last few years, rental prices have sky-rocketed, I had to close my business & have a less stable income. And during all this, my dog had various medical issues (including bi-lateral TPLO surgeries) that accumulated to $15,000 in vet bills … thank god I got pet insurance when I adopted her, but it has still been a huge expense! I’m almost 30 and have moved back in with my parents in order to keep all 3 pets. I research housing options every day & am either faced with rates I can’t afford or places that don’t allow pets (let alone 3 of them). I have been living at home for almost a year now and am in a constant debate with myself about re-homing my cats, with the thought that having 1 pet instead of 3, will make the housing & financial situation more feasible. I want to stick to my commitment to life-long care, but at the same time, I feel like I took on more responsibility than I should have. And now I am stuck.

    Anyway, my question is: Granted the animals are in a loving & caring home, wouldn’t it be better that the animals are adopted & cared for (for any amount of time) than not adopted at all? When considering the option of re-homing my cats, I feel a little better knowing that at least I have given them a loving & safe home for the last 4 years. I could almost consider myself a long-term foster?

    I don’t know what I will do. I love all 3 of my pets dearly & the guilt of re-homing any of them is absolutely gut-wrenching.

    I do know that I will be a lot more cautious when adopting pets in the future. If my living & financial situations are not stable, I would love to foster temporarily or volunteer my time at a rescue. Regardless, I wish I had read your article before adopting any of my pets. Though to be honest, I’m not sure any of it would have sunk in. I think when you have a big heart & a love for animals, you can easily be blinded by those cute, twinkly dog/cat eyes at the shelter and believe (sometimes unrealistically) that you’ll be able to love & care for them no matter what.

    1. Rehoming can be done a correct way and the wrong way, and you sound like someone who really cares about their pets. I think that if you are able to find a good home for a pet, then that can be a good option. However, I do not recommend dropping them off at a shelter as a home is not always found and they are usually quite full and stressed in that area.

  37. Isabella

    Hi MICHELLE, As a pet owner myself, I understand the love and companionship that comes with having a dog or cat. However, it’s important to realize that owning a pet is a huge responsibility. Many pets end up in shelters because their owners didn’t consider the time, money, and commitment required. Let’s ensure that every pet finds a loving home that truly deserves them.