Know costs before adopting a new pet

Posted July 21, 2016

— Before making the decision to adopt a pet, shelter staff caution that families should think about the costs.

"There's monthly costs to all of them," said Dr. Jennifer Federico, animal services director at the Wake County Animal Shelter. The ASPCA says the average, basic cost of owning a medium-size dog is $695 a year. A cat can cost about $670. Beautiful Day for a Swing! Pet care cost calculator

With adoption fees waived at participating shelters across the country on Saturday for the Clear the Shelters event, the real costs will come when those pets settle into their new homes.

"Veterinary costs are the biggest one," Federico said. "We can go to Petsmart or we can go to Amazon. We can price-shop everything else, but it's your veterinary costs is the biggest thing."

Even healthy pets need occasional medical care.

"Heart worm prevention is key for our dogs," Federico said. "If they're heartworm negative, you want to keep them heartworm negative, because $10 or $12 a month you're going to spend on that heartworm pill is a lot better than the $500 to $1500 you might spend to treat them for heartworm disease."

Federico cautioned that families with tight finances might not be in the right place to adopt a pet.

"If you have trouble taking care of a roof over your head and feeding yourself, taking care of your kids, right now may not be the time for a pet for you," she said.

If money, time or lifestyle make pet ownership an impossibility, there are still ways to help out animals in need.


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