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How much should you budget for a pet?

When it comes to bringing a new pet into your home, it’s important to consider the financial responsibilities that come with it. From food and supplies to medical care and grooming, the costs of owning a pet can add up quickly. So, establishing a budget for your pet is crucial to ensuring their health and wellbeing.

By setting a budget for your pet, you can be prepared for the various expenses associated with pet ownership. It’s essential to plan effectively to give your furry friend the best care possible while staying within your financial means.

Sometimes, it can be challenging to pamper pets on a budget. That’s why it’s important to prioritise your pet’s needs and allocate funds accordingly. Before bringing a new puppy or kitten into your home, it’s recommended to go through a checklist to determine if you can afford the ongoing expenses of pet ownership.

Whether you’re considering getting a puppy or a kitten, it’s essential to factor in vet costs and other pet-related expenses into your budget. Pets are valuable members of our families, but it’s crucial to ensure they fit into your financial plan before making the commitment to bring them home.

How much does it typically cost to own a pet in Australia?

According to a recent national survey of pets and people conducted by Animal Medicines Australia, it was determined that dogs were the most expensive pet to own, with an annual cost averaging $3,218. This figure was followed by cats at $1,715 per year, and then reptiles at $751 per year. Lastly, we have small mammals at $581 per year, birds at $360 per year and fish at $104 per year.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of individual costs for your pets, the figures above should hopefully give you an idea of the usual size of your pet budget for whichever animal you want to bring home.

What are some initial costs to consider when getting a pet?

When bringing a new pet into your home, it’s important to consider the initial costs that come along with it. Before welcoming your new furry friend, you’ll need to ensure you have everything you’ll need first. There’s nothing worse than having to tear yourself away from that adorable little smooshy face. 


One of the first initial costs to consider when getting a pet is providing them with a comfortable place to sleep. This can include purchasing a pet bed or crate where they can rest and feel safe. Making sure your pet has a cosy and secure sleeping area is essential for their well-being and overall happiness.


When bringing a new pet home, it’s important to provide your new furry friend with toys to keep them entertained. Puppies and kittens have a lot of energy and love to play, so having a variety of toys for them to bite, chew on, and scratch on is essential to your household. Make sure to budget for these toys to keep your pet happy and engaged while also protecting your belongings from their playful nature.


Of course, a very important initial expense to consider when getting a pet is the cost of food. It’s important to speak with your vet clinic to get recommendations on which food to purchase for your pet. This is very important for ensuring proper nutrition, which can help prevent costly medical conditions in the long run. Make sure to enquire about the average monthly cost of the recommended food to budget accordingly.

Food and water bowls

When getting a new pet, one important cost to consider is providing them with proper food and water bowls. Regular dining bowls may lead to uncomfortable eating positions for your pet, potentially causing indigestion and tummy aches. To ensure their comfort and well-being, invest in suitable food and water bowls. Additionally, getting a food mat to place underneath the bowls can help prevent messes and make cleaning up easier. Remember, the health and comfort of your new furry friend should always be a top priority.

A ginger cat sits in a chair at a dining table with cutlery and blue placemat and inspects its plate of cat food.


While it may seem like an added expense, investing in professional training for your puppy or kitten early on can save you many headaches in the future. It is a necessary expense to ensure that your pet grows up to be well-behaved and obedient.


One important aspect to consider when getting a pet is ensuring they receive the necessary vaccinations to keep them healthy and protected. Pet vaccinations are essential for preventing diseases and promoting your pet’s overall well-being. By staying up-to-date on vaccinations, you can help ensure your furry friend lives a long and healthy average lifespan. But of course, these vaccinations can come at a price, and it’s important to factor them into the initial costs.

Adoption fees

When considering getting a pet, one of the initial first-year costs to think about is adoption fees. Whether you choose to adopt a pet from an animal shelter like the RSPCA, a pet shop or from a breeder, these fees can vary. It’s important to do your research and factor in these upfront costs before bringing a new friend into your home. Adoption fees may also cover things like vaccinations, spaying/neutering, and initial health check-ups, so make sure to adjust your budget accordingly.


Registration is also an initial cost that some new pet owners may not consider. It’s important to contact your council to enquire about the cost of animal registration and the options available to you. If you are adopting a pet that is already registered, make sure to complete the necessary transfer paperwork to make sure that the registration is updated to your name. Proper registration is essential for keeping track of your pet and ensuring compliance with local regulations.


Another important initial cost to keep in mind is microchipping. A microchip is a small device that is implanted under the skin of an animal and contains a unique number that can be scanned using a microchip scanner. This number is then registered with information about the pet, making it easier to track them in case they go missing. It’s a simple but crucial step in ensuring the safety and security of your little one.

Collar and ID tags

Speaking of ensuring the safety of your pet, another initial cost is purchasing a collar and ID tags. While it may seem like a small expense, these items are necessary for the safety and well-being of your new pet. In addition to being a fashion statement, ID tags can be crucial in helping to identify your pet in case they ever get lost. It’s important to invest in a sturdy collar and durable ID tags to ensure that your pet can be easily reunited with you if they wander off.

Grooming supplies

And lastly, when getting a pet, it’s important to consider the initial costs of grooming supplies. Certain pets, like poodles, require regular clipping and grooming, and while you can pay for professional groomers, that can be expensive over time, so you may need to learn how to do it yourself at home.

Dogs and cats also need high-quality nail clippers to keep their nails trimmed in order to prevent discomfort and infections. Investing in the right grooming supplies upfront can help maintain your pet’s health and hygiene in the long run.

What are some ongoing expenses to budget for when owning a pet?

Now that your pet is home and settled in, when owning a pet, it’s important to consider the ongoing expenses that come with caring for them. Dogs, for example, cost an average of $3,218 per year to take care of, so it’s important to budget for these costs in the long-term.

From regular vet visits, grooming, food, and toys, to unexpected medical expenses, it’s important to factor in these ongoing expenses to ensure you can provide your pet with the care they need. Remember, owning a pet is a long-term commitment that comes with financial responsibilities.


When owning a pet, one of the most important recurring ongoing expenses to budget for is their food. As your pets age, their dietary needs will evolve. For instance, puppies and kittens may need specialised food to support their growth and digestive health.

Some pets may also have dietary restrictions or health issues that require special food. Planning for their food needs in the long-term is crucial for ensuring their overall health and well-being in the years to come.


Those toys you bought your pets when you first brought them home won’t last long, trust us! They’ll likely either get torn up or lost. As your pet grows, you may also need to invest in larger toys to keep them entertained and engaged. Remember to factor in the average cost of replacing or upgrading toys as an annual expense when budgeting for pet expenses.

Veterinary care and dental care

One of the ongoing expenses to budget for when owning a pet is veterinary care and dental care. Just as humans require regular doctor check-ups, pets also need veterinary check-ups to ensure their well-being and happiness. It’s important to factor in these routine visits as part of your pet care budget to keep your furry friend healthy and thriving, covering common costs like heartworm prevention and optionals costs to keep them happy.


When it comes to owning a pet, grooming costs are important ongoing cost to consider. Certain breeds may require specialised grooming that is best done by professionals. Some pets may also be resistant to being groomed at home, making it essential to have a professional handle the task to ensure it is done correctly and without causing any stress to your furry companion. 

Pet insurance

When owning a pet, one important ongoing expense to budget for is pet insurance. While some may overlook this as a necessary expense, it is certainly something to consider when planning your pet budget. Pet insurance can help cover unexpected medical expenses and ensure that your furry friend receives the care they need when it’s needed (touch wood).

Boarding or pet sitting

When you own a pet, it’s important to think about how you will care for them when you are away on holidays. Will you have a friend or family member who can help out, or will you need to budget for boarding or pet sitting costs?

It’s a good idea to call a few pet boarding services to compare prices and see which option works best for you. Keep in mind that sometimes catteries can be a more affordable option for boarding your cat. Remember to include these costs in your ongoing pet expenses budget.

A ginger cat relaxes and sleeps on its back in a brown pet bed on the floor.

How can you save money on pet expenses?

When budgeting for a pet, it’s important to be mindful of where you can save money without compromising on their well-being. Not everything related to pet care needs to be expensive, so it’s crucial to be smart about how you spend your money on your furry friend. Here are some tips on how you can save money on pet expenses:

Adopt rather than buy

Choosing to adopt a pet from an animal rescue shelter can be a great way to save money on pet expenses. When you adopt an adult dog or cat, not only are you giving a loving home to a pet in need, but you can also save money on things like toilet training and replacing chewed shoes.

Plus, adoption fees are typically lower than purchasing a pet from a breeder, so it’s a win-win situation for both you and the animal you welcome into your home. Instead of buying a pet, consider adopting one and enjoying the cost-saving benefits while providing a loving home to a furry friend.

Comparison shop for pet supplies

One of the best ways to save money on pet expenses is by comparison shopping for pet supplies online. You can easily compare prices and find the best deals on essential items like litter trays, dog and cat food bowls, pet carriers, pet beds, and toys. Additionally, visiting local discount stores can also help you save money on basic pet necessities.

Another cost-effective option is to check out charity stores or op shops for second-hand towels, stuffed toys, bedding, and other pet products. By recycling and reusing these items, you can save money while still providing for your pet’s needs.

To better manage your spending on pet supplies, consider creating a pet budget worksheet. This can help you track your expenses and make informed decisions about where to cut pet costs without compromising on your pet’s well-being.

Buy in bulk

If you want to save money on your pet expenses, buying in bulk is a smart strategy. By purchasing larger quantities of dry food and supplies, you can take advantage of product discounts and save money in the long run.

Don’t limit yourself to pet shops; consider checking out warehouse stores like Costco or even supermarkets for discounted pet products. Buying in bulk may require a larger initial investment, but it can lead to significant savings over time.

Make your own homemade pet food and treats 

Another way to save money on pet expenses is by making your own homemade pet food and treats. By doing this, you can be your pet’s very own masterchef! There are plenty of healthy recipe ideas for pets that you can try out alongside your own cooking.

Additionally, consider visiting your local butcher for affordable pet-friendly cuts and minces. Don’t hesitate to ask about any specials they may have for the week. This is a perfect way to spoil your furry friend while sticking to a budget.

Learn to groom your pet at home

Grooming your pet at home can be a great way to save money on expensive grooming services. Instead of risking scratches on your bathtub during bath time, consider using a rubber mat for protection. If you don’t have a bathtub, you can easily create a DIY dog wash for a more affordable option.

Another way to save money on pet grooming expenses is by learning how to safely clip your pet’s nails at home. Simply ask your vet to teach you during a regular check-up. Additionally, joining a Facebook group dedicated to your pet’s breed can provide helpful recommendations on grooming tools or local professional grooming to help you groom your pet effectively at home.

Learn how to train your pet at home

One way to save thousands of dollars on pet expenses is by learning how to train your pet at home. With the abundance of free animal training videos available online, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to trust. To make a decision, a quick search of the trainer’s name along with user reviews or comments can be helpful.

A great resource for learning how to train your pet is The Spruce Pets’ ‘How to Train Your Dog’ blog. They not only recommend treat-based motivation but also suggest using clicker training. Clicker training is a cost-effective method that involves using a clicker to reinforce positive behaviour. This tool is inexpensive, costing only a few dollars, and can be beneficial for training all types of pets, such as cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds.

For additional tips and advice on how to pamper and train your pet at home, consider joining dog owner groups in your local area or community groups on social media platforms like Facebook. By asking for recommendations from experienced pet owners, you can gain valuable insights and resources for training your pet without breaking the bank.

Join rewards programs

Lastly, consider joining loyalty rewards programs offered by pet stores and subscribing to their newsletters. By doing so, you may earn discounts on your pet supplies and potentially save hundreds of dollars in the long run. It’s a simple and effective way to cut down on your pet care costs.

A dog's paws with a heart mark lay on top of cupped human hands

What are some unexpected costs associated with owning a pet?

When it comes to owning a pet, there are unexpected costs that can pop up, just like they do in our own lives. It’s important to be prepared for these expenses, just like you would have an emergency fund for yourself. Consider creating an emergency fund specifically for your pets to cover unexpected costs that may arise. This way, you can ensure that your furry friend receives the care they need without breaking the bank.

Emergency veterinary care

When it comes to our furry friends, unexpected emergencies can happen at any moment. Dogs, cats, and other pets can be curious creatures, making it easy for them to get into trouble when we’re not looking. This is why emergency vet care is essential for pet owners to consider when budgeting for their pet expenses.

Just like us, our pets can face health issues or accidents that require immediate medical attention. Being prepared for these situations can help ease the financial burden and ensure that your pet receives the care they need in times of crisis.

Unexpected illnesses or injuries

One of the biggest sources of unexpected expenses for pet owners is dealing with illnesses or injuries that our pet friends may experience. Just like us, our pets can suddenly fall ill or get injured, requiring immediate medical attention from a skilled vet.

It’s important to be financially prepared for these unpredictable situations so that you can provide the best care for your pet without stressing about the medical costs. Having a separate fund set aside specifically for unexpected vet bills will help ensure that you can promptly address any health issues that may arise for your beloved pet.

Boarding or pet-sitting

One unexpected expense associated with owning a pet is the cost of boarding or pet-sitting. This can become necessary if you need to travel unexpectedly, such as for a family emergency or a last-minute work trip. It’s important to have the funds available to ensure that your pet has a safe place to stay at a moment’s notice, providing you with peace of mind during unexpected situations.

Replacing or repairing damaged items

When you have a pet, one of the unexpected costs that can add up quickly is replacing or repairing damaged items. Whether it’s a large dog knocking over your Christmas tree or a rambunctious cat breaking your favourite vase, accidents happen. It’s not uncommon for pet owners to find themselves needing to replace or repair furniture, décor, or other household items that have been damaged by their furry friends. It’s important to budget for these potential expenses when considering the overall extra expense of owning a pet.

Is pet insurance worth the cost?

When budgeting for a pet, one consideration may be whether pet insurance is worth it as an additional monthly expense. While the value of pet insurance can vary depending on individual financial circumstances, it can provide peace of mind in case of emergencies or unforeseen events.

Some pet owners may find it beneficial to have pet insurance, while others may not see the need. Ultimately, the decision to invest in pet insurance should be based on individual preferences and financial considerations, and seeking tailored professional financial advice can help determine if it is a worthwhile investment for you and your pets.

How can MyBudget help with budgeting for a pet?

If you’re considering getting a pet, it’s important to budget for all of your expenses to ensure you can provide them with the care they need. MyBudget offers a solution to help you budget effectively for your furry friend. Having helped over 130,000 Australians live their lives free from money worries, we can assist you in saving for a pet or breaking down your pet expenses into a manageable plan to avoid financial stress.

By providing clarity on where your money is going, you can easily identify areas where you can save. Our effective savings plans have helped many Australians improve their financial health, pay off debt, and reach their financial goals, including budgeting for the expenses of owning a pet. To get started, give us a call on 1300 300 922 or enquire online.

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This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.