How much does it really cost to be a pet parent in Canada?

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While the bond between a pet owner and their fur baby may be like no other, it comes at a cost.

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Article content, the world’s largest online marketplace for pet care, surveyed 500 Canadian pet parents to determine the true cost of having a dog or cat.

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Unsurprisingly, veterinary costs rank as the top financial concern among Canadian pet parents, followed by pet food and toys and treats, respectively.

The annual cost for dog essentials can range from $965 to $4,020 a year, with the average monthly cost being $210.

That’s an increase of $70 on average from 2023, proving pet inflation, like just about everything else, is a real issue.

Some dog food brands cost up to 130% more than last year, while cat food can cost up to 120% more.

“There’s no doubt that inflationary pressures are still weighing on Canadian pet parents and there’s real sticker shock when it comes to getting a new dog or cat in 2024,” said Toronto veterinarian Rebecca Greenstein, medical advisor for Rover.

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In 2024, the upfront costs to bring a new pup home were 44% higher than 2023.

According to the research, the total cost for bringing home a new dog can range from $2,465 to $4,770 in the first year.

That can be a scary number, given the cost of living.

As for cats, adoption can come with some surprising initial expenses so let’s demystify the budget as it’s not just about food and litter.

When it comes to bringing a cat home, adopting parents can expect the upfront costs to range from $1,875 to $3,345 in the first year. (Think adoption fees, a vet exam and vaccinations, spay or neuter surgery, and microchipping.)

Annual costs for the essentials, from cat food and toys to litter, range from $930 to $2,400.

If you’re a cat parent who likes to go all out, optional extras can cost anywhere between $1,075 and $3,995 per year.

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And if you have an old feline requiring end-of-life care, you could spend anywhere from $1,035 to $4,110.

Monthly payments can be much less terrifying and can cost between $80 to $200 a month, with the average being $140.

But for many, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of pet parents say they have become more conscious of their spending since inflation started rising, though 33% say their spending habits haven’t changed despite increasing prices.

However, 34% of respondents said they reduced spending in other areas of their life to ensure they can afford the items and services their pet needs.

“One undeniable sentiment that I see and hear on a daily basis is that the bond people share with their pets is stronger than ever,” Greenstein said.

About one in 10 (13%) responded they required help from a pet shelter or other organization to provide for their pet.

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