Is your pet putting you in debt?

The cat’s out of the bag. And it might be scratching through your bank account…

What happened: survey studied the annual costs for pet owners and parents, finding that 40% say caring for animals is as costly as raising a kid — we’re not kitten around. But how much does it really cost to be a pet owner in Canada?

  • The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association estimates it costs $3,724 annually to be a dog owner and $2,542 to own a cat — ~20% of what it costs to raise a child.

Bottom line: After weighing diapers, clothing, and food versus squeaky mice toys, bones, and dog treats, owning a pet is definitely not more expensive than having and raising a child. But outside of the upfront costs, pets are still pretty pricey.

Let’s break it down:

  • First-year costs: It costs ~$735 to have puppies and kittens neutered and spayed, ~$525 for vaccinations/initial exams, and $100 for microchipping
  • Vet costs and insurance: Pet insurance hovers at ~$600 for cats and ~$1,100 for dogs. They’ll also need annual wellness checks, over $100.
  • Grooming: Dental cleaning is an important necessity for dogs, hovering at ~$650. Similarly, grooming your pet every few months costs ~$210.
  • FoodThis is your biggest pet cost. Depending on the brand, food will cost ~ $750 to $1,200 per year, per pet. And the costs of food are only rising.  

Zoom out: The average annual cost of raising a child in Canada is $16,900, with expenses including child care ($5,230), household items ($3,580), food ($2,280), and clothing ($1,110). Kids cost ~$321,020 in total to raise until the age of 18. 

Bottom line: Your furry friends might be cheaper, but both fur babies and real babies are a major life (and financial) decision.—TJ