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September 23, 2008


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I couldn't agree with the first tip more. I could spend $45/month getting my dogs impacted anal glands emptied or I could do it myself. Not the most glamourous task but for over $500 a year I'm willing to put the gloves on and get squeezing.

Pets are animals, not people; I will never spend even 1/5 of $15,000 annually on vet bills. If my dog or cat has some need for expensive surgery or treatment (>$1000), we will put "Rover" to sleep. I love 'em plenty, but the expense is unjustifiable with a growing family. I suppose if I was single, no kids, no life, I might spend more.

We spend between ~$1000 annually on our pets combined (1 dog, 1 cat); this covers food, shots, litter for the cat, heartworm meds, and flee/tick protection. I guess our fence was a one-time cost of $2000 but we needed it for the children, anyway.

Monkey --


I think maybe even I might spring for the $500 to avoid doing that!!!!!!

Can we start posting articles about how much kids cost so maybe people will stop having them too? It really is starting to seem like lots of PF bloggers are really biased against owning pets. Why? Just because they cost money?

Hell, if that's the case why not be anti-child as well? Pets are the same thing to some of of us that will never be able to have children of our own, and seeing article after article like this is really making me start to feel shut out from some sites like this because my wife and I chose dogs and cats since we can't have children.

FMF I know you're just posting what comes along, so don't take it personally your site really does kick ass.

It's just that some of the comments that appears with discussions like this make me want to rethink what's in my RSS reader. Like I've *ahem* got no life because I have no children. Yeah, that makes me look back on the ovarian / uterine cancer I fought with my 20 something wife and feel really great about myself.

How about someone doing a series of articles about what people spend on their kids. Birth costs, medical bills, clothing, food, schooling costs, transportation fees, hobbies/activities, etc. Hmm, that might not work as 2.3 kids are part of the "American dream".

I know that this comment is probably going to be very unpopular, but I really can't not post it. Sorry.

Aaron - there are many posts around the web as to what kids cost. I don't think anyone is trying to say that pets are not worth the money that you sometimes have to spend on them, but it is true that they aren't humans, and most people get a free puppy for their kids for Christmas with no consideration of what the ongoing costs will be. People know kids are going to cost money before they have them.

Aaron --

Just for you:


I think the point FMF is trying to make is that getting a pet is like buying a house or car, having a child, or any other major life decision - it needs to be thought about financially as well as emotionally. Clearly there is a balance that everyone must weigh - is this pet worth it financially for what it will bring me emotionally? Unfortunately, most of the people that need to read this type of stuff probably aren't.

In April my girlfriend and I got a puppy, a lab/rottweiler mix and she has been totally worth the cost. She's going to be big a big dog, probably 90 lbs the vet says, so food is going to be a serious cost. She seems to be very healthy so far, no health problems at all right now. We adopted her from the local Humane Society for $50, that included most of her shots and being spayed. Finished up the rest of her shots and stuff very cheaply at a local vet college.

Still, I get a lot of exercise walking her every day, so no need for any sort of gym membership. And the love and companionship I get from my dog is simply amazing. Nothing is more relaxing in my life right now than taking a walk with my girlfriend and dog in a park on a nice day.

Wow. Thanks for being supportive instead of ganging up on me guys; I really DO appreciate it. I guess you're right Kevin. These posts are just trying to get people to think before they act. All of our pets are shelter rescues from people that didn't.

FMF's point is just to make sure people are aware of the cost of pets. Most people are fully aware that kids cost a lot of money but many people overlook the significant cost that pets can carry. There have been a few pet related topics here and FMF has clarified before that he's not anti-pet but simply wants to educate people on the costs.

One person spending $15k on one vet bill is not typical but such expenses are possible.
On average though, vet bills are not that high:
The mean annual expenditure per cat was $81 and for dogs $200. ref:


Jim --

TOTAL costs (not just vets -- everything) per the SPCA:

re: #4 Work with your vet to cut costs

Don't forget simple shopping. One of the better animal hospitals in our city (open 20 hours) is also one of the most reasonable cost-wise, across the board. Annual procedures, emergencies, big stuff, small stuff, you name it. Maybe some economies-of-scale are being passed on to the consumer. Totally different than a medical center at a "big box" pet store, where we were nickeled & dimed... on top of being dollar-billed.

It's also important to keep in mind value over cost. Cheap food is less expensive in the short run, but will lead to expensive health problems and a greatly reduced quality of life over the long run. It's better to invest in high-quality food for the duration of a pet's life. (The same applies to people, too, of course.)

Also, by using coupon code "RADIO" at you'll save 10% and get free shipping on all orders over $39. It adds up, especially when you're buying flea and tick meds, bedding, toys, santa suits for little dogs, food, cleaners. It's worth trying to save some money.

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