The No-Surprises Budget for Adopting a Pet

The end of October marks the end of Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, but let's be honest, there's no bad time of year to bring a pet into your life. Being prepared for all the costs of pet ownership, however, is another thing entirely. You may expect to spend a certain amount on adoption fees and daycare, but look out for the long-term — in addition to joy and companionship, you've signed on for years of recurring costs.

Apartment Therapy collected a number of budget roundups for pet owners, to break down the checklists every prospective animal parent should know about. Some things seem obvious, like food, grooming, and toys. But you should also consider apartment fees — your landlord or housing association may have rules about paying extra to host a dog, or how big (or noisy) your pet can be. Insurance might be a wise investment, given how quickly vet bills can add up. (Side note: GoodRx, the prescription-discount website and app, also works for pet medications.)

In addition to the checklist, Apartment Therapy tracked down specialty budget breakdowns for different species of pet. Dogs, for example, can run anywhere from $766 to $10,350 during the first year they live with you, with lower but comparable costs every year after. Depending on the cat, you could be looking at $310 to nearly $1,200 in annual costs. Think smaller pets, like birds, reptiles, or rodents are a better deal? In certain cases, yes, but a parrot could set you back almost $2,000 a year.

Even a fish can run you between $85 and $450 annually, but if you're looking over those numbers and nodding along, you know the secret to setting aside your funds like this — that for what you get in return, it's all more than worth it.