Are You REALLY Ready to Get a Dog or Cat? Here’s One Thing You Need to Do First

cost of owning a dog
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Thinking about adding a furry friend to your family this spring?

Besides the time and emotional commitment (trust me: You’ll develop ALL the feelings when you look into those loving eyes for the first time), you also have to account for the financial obligations.

Even if you adopt a shelter animal — which you should probably, definitely, please do — the first year of pet ownership comes with many costs you may not have considered.

Which is why — before getting a new pet — it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to be a responsible and financially solvent owner.

To help, The Simple Dollar created a pet cost calculator.

How Much Does a Dog Cost?

This new tool makes it easy to determine how much your fuzzy bundle of joy is going to cost.

First, select whether you’re getting a dog or a cat.

Then answer a series of quick questions about its projected medical, grooming, food, equipment, logistics and training needs.

Based on average costs for each, the calculator spits out an estimated cost for your first year of pet ownership.

So, if I finally adopted that adorable little pitbull puppy I’ve been dreaming of, my first year’s costs would be around $1,160. More than I expected — but not terrible.

Now if only I could get over my fear of commitment…

Your Turn: Do you want to get a pet this year? Did this calculator help?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.