A young girl and her puppy

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Pet?

Adding a pet to the family can be one of the most rewarding experiences—and the most shocking to the wallet. Do you know how much owning a dog, cat, horse or other pet costs per year? Take a look at these annual estimates for common household pets:

Hermit CrabHermit Crabs | $45

Perhaps the least expensive pet you can own (other than a pet rock), supplies, food and toys for hermit crabs are cheaper than a fancy crab dinner.

GerbilGerbils | $109

Supplies and food are the biggest costs for these little critters (about $82 per year). Toys are $16, while vet bills average just $11 annually.

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Betta FishFish | $150

Sunk costs include an aquarium, filtration equipment, test kits, decorations and lighting (which can run $100 or more), but after that, average annual expenses dip to $150 per year.

Spotted GeckoLizards | $190

Trust these little reptiles—geckos included—not to burn a hole in your wallet: food, medications and supplies can total less than $200 per year.

Blue ParakeetBirds | $400+

Despite their relatively small size, pet birds are not cheap. Expenses like cages, food, medications and vet bills add up quickly.

Brown Tabby KittenCats | $900+

Annual medical costs of $400 or more are just the beginning. Kennel and boarding fees average $337 per year, followed by food ($203), grooming ($20), toys ($23) and other supplies ($92).

Sheltie DogDogs | $1,000+

On average, owning a dog can cost over $1,000 per year. However, costs can vary widely based on the age, breed and health of your dog. Geography and climate can mean costly flea products. And size matters: to some degree, the bigger the dog, the higher your expenses will be.

Warmblood HorseHorses | $4,200+++

Whoa, Nelly! It’s not easy to rein in those equine expenses. Prepare to pay $1,811. Then expect to spend an average $2,392 annually on horse care, with $2,202 eaten up on food. Tack on up to $7,036 in boarding costs.


Ensure your pet is covered for the inevitable and the unforeseeable. Get a quote on affordable pet insurance today!

Read more: Ready to bring home a new family member? Here are 10 things you should do first to prepare for a new pet.

By Allison Ellis

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  1. Monica says,

    Hermit crabs, when taken care of properly, will have a starting cost of AT LEAST a few hundred dollars. 5 gallons of space per crab ( so if you have 4 crabs, you need a 20 gallon tank, and you HAVE to have multiple crabs. They are social creatures!!), proper food, a humidifier or spray tank DAILY (Hermit crabs have modified gills that only allow them to breathe air high in humidity, around 75%), proper sized shells (not painted, paint is toxic!!), as well as deep moist substrate for them to molt (3x the depth of largest crab), proper climbing materials, hiding places, etc. The plastic cages and commercial hermit crab food, pretty much anything sold at petco or any major pet store that is marketed toward hermit crabs is likely bad for them (i.e. calcium sand, pebbles as substrate, painted shells). Not to say it is all bad, but do some research before you think you will only be spending a few bucks on your new pet! Hermit crabs are possibly the most mistreated and misunderstood pet that is purchased. Hermit crabs cannot breed in captivity so all of them are captured from the wild and caged, it is truly sad so if you buy one commit to them and be prepared for the long haul. They can live 20+ years under proper care. Most die in under a year because most of the time they can’t breathe the dry air and it eventually suffocates them, or they dont have moist sand/cocofiber to molt in and thus they die because they cant shed their exoskeleton, or they are not given the proper water (fresh and saltwater, treated with dechlorinator, and deep enough for them to fill their shells – they keep a bit of water in shells to moisten their soft abdomen), or even not given the proper nutrition (they eat basically what our mom always tells us to eat! -fruits, veggies, leaf litter, nuts, seeds, even meat and insects!!)
    PLEASE IF YOU ARE GOING TO BUY ANY ANIMAL DO THE PROPER RESEARCH. ANIMALS ARE NOT IMPULSE BUYS.
    Hermit crabs survive for decades and if you are not willing to give them proper care, DO NOT BUY THEM. PLEASE, all animals deserve better than the way most people treat them. We have lives outside of our home, but in most cases our pets stay confined to cages, so it is our responsibility to give them the care and attention they deserve. We are all they have!! They completely depend on us. Ok sorry for the rant. But its true.

    If you want more information on buying a pet, I would recommend finding a website that is specifically focused on the pet you are taking care of.
    Hermitcrabpatch.com and hermitcrabassociation.com are two great places for information on hermit crabs.
    Just don’t get your info from a place like petsmart or petco- it may seem like they know what they are talking about but there are a PLETHORA of reasons you should not even purchase from these places (puppy mills, animal mistreatment, miseducation, etc.)

    Long story short, DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU PURCHASE ANY ANIMAL.