The cost of owning a pet in Canada has gone up to between $2,000 and $4,000 a year, according to this article by Global News. The variation in the cost depends on whether you choose a dog or a cat, and whether your pet is a male or female. Granted, the most expensive item on the list is spaying or neutering, which you only have to do once in the pet’s lifetime, but even if you deduct that it can be pretty expensive in future years. Dr. Issam Kadri from Richmond Hill Animal Hospital says it all adds up.
“If your pet enjoys a healthy 10 years – which is less than the average lifespan of a domestic pet – the cost of keeping it goes up to close to $25,000,” says Kadri. “And this is the cost only for those owners who have pet health insurance. If you don’t have insurance, even if your pet is remarkably healthy it can cost you considerably more through its life.”
The OVMA’s tables list the basic veterinary costs associated with getting a new puppy or kitten at around $500. These include:
- a fecal exam,
- initial vaccinations,
- microchip protection,
- tick and flea prevention,
- deworming medication
Pet insurance and food each cost around $730 a year for dogs and $370 a year for cats, and if you can train your own dog you could save a few dollars on obedience classes.
Grooming and Gear
And that’s without taking dog grooming into account. Grooming costs less at smaller salons than it does at the larger commercial centres. All the same, if you take your dog regularly for a wash and brush you need to budget an additional few hundred dollars a year for that. If your canine companion like fashionable gear, that’s another additional cost – along with a collar, leash and trendy cart or stroller!
So, Is Your Pet Worth It?
Kadri says the pet owners who frequent his practice generally consider their pets worth the cost. “Pets give so much love and joy that most animal lovers can’t imagine being without a pet,” he says. “The problems arise when people lose their employment, perhaps lose their homes and aren’t able to find someone to take their pets. That’s when they get added to the multitudes in shelters hoping to find homes.”
The comparison with pet ownership costs south of the border are interesting too, says Kadri. A popular infographic doing the rounds at the moment shows the average cost of annual veterinary care as $160 and $235 respectively for cats and dogs, which seems low compared to the OVMAs estimates for Ontario. However, since the OVMA’s table stops short of giving actual treatment costs, it’s difficult to be sure.
Ditch the Gifts
One thing is for sure, says Kadri; it isn’t absolutely necessary to budget for birthday and Christmas gifts for your pets, which research shows 67% of cat owners and 80% of dog owners will be diong this year. “As long as your pet has you to love him and keep him healthy, I think he won’t mind losing out on the gifts,” he says.
Do you know how much your pet costs per year to keep happy and healthy? For more information on pet ownership stats, please contact ys.