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 | ~$80 initially, plus $180+ annually

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. Plan to spend at least $40 on cage setup, up to $25 to purchase/adopt, and monthly food and supplies around $15-$20. Veterinary (if needed) care can run you around $50 on average.

GerbilGerbils and Hamsters | ~$180 initially, plus $150+ annually

Plan to spend at least $160 in starting costs for setting up the enclosure, including supplies and toys. Purchasing from a reputable pet store will run you an average of $20-$25. You’ll likely spend an average of $150 per year on litter, bedding and food. Veterinary care (if needed) varies between $70-$300.

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Betta FishFish | ~$160 initially, plus $520 annually

While needs vary depending on the kind of fish you get, let’s take a common favorite among amateur fish owners: Betta Fish. Sunk costs include an aquarium, filtration equipment, heater, test kits, decorations and lighting (which can run $150 or more). Purchasing your finned friend will generally cost $5-$20, depending on species. Experts recommend a balanced diet of pellets and live/frozen food, which may run you up to $10 per week, or $520 per year.

Spotted GeckoLeopard Gecko | ~$149+ initially, plus $290+ annually

Purchase cost of your gecko plus aquarium and setup will run you between $149-$565 (including enclosure and accessories, heater, lights, bowls, hides and décor, etc.). Annual veterinary checkups will probably be $50 or more, while food and supplies will cost about $20 per month, or $240 annually.

Blue ParakeetBirds | ~$295 initially, plus $185+ annually

Despite their relatively small size, pet birds are not cheap. Even for non-exotic small birds like parakeets, expenses like cages ($70), food ($75), toys and treats ($25), medications and vet bills ($85) add up quickly.

Brown Tabby KittenCats | ~$1200 initially, then $800+ per year.

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 | ~$1,500+ initially, plus $1,500+ annually

On average, owning a dog can cost over $1,500 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 | $3,800+++

Whoa, Nelly! It’s not easy to rein in those equine expenses. Depending on whether you’re boarding or not (full-care, pasture, or self-care), total costs to keep your horse housed, fed, groomed, exercised, and regularly cared for by a veterinarian, run an average of nearly $4,000 annually … about the same average cost of a car payment.

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’s how to pet-proof your place in a weekend.

GEICO can help with pet insurance.

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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!!)
    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.)