clear the shelters

Clear the Shelters: the Cost of Caring for Your Pet

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Food shortages, supply chain problems, and packaging delays: if you’re a pet owner, you know these are issues impacting the costs of your pal’s everyday needs.

As we work to Clear the Shelters this month, our shelter partners want to make sure soon-to-be owners are adopting responsibly.

What’s the cost of owning a new pet companion?

The American Pet Products Association says almost $124 billion was spent on our pets last year.

That’s up a lot from previous years.

After surveying dog and cat owners about some of their basic annual expenses, the association reported dog owners pay on average about $287 for food. Cat owners closer to $250.

WalletHub says a long list of expenses including licenses, grooming and medical care can cost $1,000 to more than $3,000 a year.

And a local expert says that could go even higher,.

“The range for pet ownership for pet food and the monthly cost, depending on the type of pet, can range anywhere from a couple thousand dollars a year to $9,000 a year, depending on the specialty needs,” said James Bias, the executive director of the Connecticut Humane Society.

One of Liz Ramos’ five dogs requires specialty food.

The Hartford resident makes sure each pup gets the care they need.

“They’re part of the family. Can’t just give them up, you’ve got to take care of them,” Ramos said.

The Connecticut Humane Society said that even when times are tough, pet ownership actually increases. They say people want a pet that loves them, no matter what, during difficult days.

So, if you’re thinking of adopting, make sure your wallet is ready to care for your companion too.

“It’s just like a baby. Your baby has to go to the doctor. They have to go get their shots,” said Ramos, who we met outside a Newington pet supply store after three of her dogs got their latest round of rabies shots.

Ramos spaces care out throughout the year to spread out the costs because owning a pet, let alone five, comes at a price.

“Money, pricewise, food. Because the price of dog food went up and that’s an issue,said Ramos.

“You do need to take a look at all the things that add up, the grains of sand, the collars, the food bowls, the toys,” said Bias.

He confirms costs for caring for your companions keep going up, with inflation, supply chain issues, and other economic challenges.

Bias said another cost factor to consider here: higher quality, more expensive food because he says it can help keep your pet healthier longer and potentially have fewer vet visits because of the good quality of nutrition.

So, caring for your pet on the cheap, isn’t the smartest option.

WalletHub reminds folks that if you are a renter and get a pet, landlords tend to add fees to your rent too. Another cost to factor into your decision to adopt.

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