Caring for a pet is one of the biggest responsibilities a person or family can undertake. It takes a lot of care, attention and even money to properly care for your furry friend. A new study shows that New York State is one of the most costly states in the nation to own a cat or dog.

According to a 2023 study by Market Watch, New York comes in at #2 for the most expensive states to own a dog. If you look at the national picture, it costs an average of $28,801 during the course of a dog's life to own one. In 13 states the cost is $30,000 or more. In California, you can buy a Tesla Model 3 after tax credits for what it costs to raise and own a dog for its life.

The study found that dog ownership is more expensive in the Northeast and Western sections of the country. California comes in at the #1 most expensive state for dog ownership. That brings us to the 2nd most costly state for dog ownership. In New York State the cost breakdown through a dog's life is as follows.

  • Puppy Cost: $1,131
  • Annual Cost: $3,011
  • Lifetime Cost: $34,248

What are contributing factors to these costs? When it comes to puppies, the bulk of the cost is vet visits for vaccines, preventative medicines, initial supplies (crates, leashes and food/water dishes) and the eventual spay or neutering operation. Those are a MUST!

Photo by Andrew S on Unsplash
Photo by Andrew S on Unsplash

When you look at the annual cost you still have vet bills, grooming, treats and toys, emergency vet visits (in a worst case scenario) and food. Inflation can drive the price of dog food up just as much as human food. If you go away for a vacation, you may have to board your dog as well, which can get pricy. Cats can also be costly. According to the same study, the average start up cost for owning a cat is around $991 and annually, with boarding, they can cost just under $1,500.

The Market Watch study highlights the importance of considering pet insurance for your dog, which is a real thing. Dr. Angela Beal, DVM is an Ohio-based vet who stresses the importance of being prepared. She says,

People tend to underestimate the cost of veterinary care. Although some pet owners budget for routine care such as vaccines and parasite prevention, they often forget to plan for unexpected illnesses or injuries. An emergency visit can quickly add up to thousands of dollars, and being unprepared can mean that people have to make difficult decisions about their pet's care.

The average cost for pet insurance in the U.S. is approximately $500 annually. You can spend double that very easily on an emergency vet visit that requires surgery.

The truth is, owning a pet while challenging is one of the best experiences ever! They are loyal, loving and can absolutely turn that bad day at work right around when they greet you excitedly at the door. They become family members and the ones we feel we can't live without. So in my opinion, skip the Tesla and stick to the dog or cat! Just be prepared it will cost you some money. They are worth the investment.

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