Financial Responsibilities of Owning a Pet

| Aimee Ellis

Thinking about adopting a new cat or dog? Here are checklists for everything you'll need from day one to help your pet acclimate to their new environment.


Thinking of adding a new furry family member? Congrats! It’s such a fun and exciting time, since there are so many benefits to pet ownership.

But, before you take the plunge, be sure to consider a few things:

  • Are you able to spend time with your new pet and help them acclimate?

  • Are you financially prepared for pet ownership?

  • Do you have a plan if your new pet gets hurt or sick?

Up-Front Costs of Pet Ownership

If you’re set on owning a specific breed of dog or cat and considering a breeder, be sure to calculate up-front costs of that route. You can also check your local shelters or even rescues for the specific breed you’re looking for—which will ultimately save you money from day one. Chances are, the pet you’re waiting to fall in love with is waiting for you too.

When it comes to finances, do your research as well to see if the breed you’re in love with is prone to certain genetic diseases. Also, depending on how big the dog or cat will grow (or if they’re already full-grown), consider how much they need to eat—and how much that will cost each month.

Everything a Pet Needs on Day One

You’ll need to have most of the following items already purchased, so when your new best friend comes home, they’re one step closer to acclimation.

Dog Adoption Checklist:

✔ Beds & blankets

✔ Bowls for food and water

✔ Brush

✔ Collar

✔ Dog Food

✔ Flea, tick, and heartworm medicines

✔ Leash

✔ Nail clippers

✔ Pet insurance

✔ Poop bags

✔ Toys

✔ Vet of your choice

✔ Vitamins & supplements (recommended by vet)

Photo of a woman holding her dog

Every Dog and Cat Deserves the Pet Insurance of Champions

Get prize-winning care for your pets.


If you’re adopting a puppy, there are a whole slew of other items to consider, such as a training crate, puppy pads, cleaning supplies in case of accidents, and shampoo for when they inevitably roll in something icky.

Cat Adoption Checklist:

✔ Beds

✔ Brush

✔ Carrier

✔ Catnip

✔ Cat or kitten food

✔ Cat tree

✔ Cleaning supplies

✔ Enrichment toys

✔ Flea/tick medicine

✔ Food and water dishes

✔ Litter + litter box(es)

✔ Pet insurance

✔ Scratching posts

✔ Water fountain

✔ Vet of your choice

Consider Your Lifestyle

The way we work has certainly changed after the pandemic, with many of us in a hybrid-work situation, or even back at the office full-time. Check out dog walkers in your area, especially if you’ll be away from home for several hours.

If you’re an avid traveler, you’ll need a sitter. Depending on whether you opt for a house-sitter or someone who checks in on your pet, the expenses can vary.

Be sure to look over your monthly budget. Create several sample budgets with the additional expenses a pet will bring, and budget extra in case of an emergency or the unexpected. Getting pet insurance early can help prep for the what-ifs and provide you with more time to focus on getting your pet acclimated to their new environment. Click here for a quote through AKC Pet Insurance (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company).

Of course, before making a commitment to a pet, it’s incredibly important to determine if you can handle the responsibility, both financially and emotionally. Pets are family, and the decision shouldn’t be made on a whim.

Photo of a woman holding her dog

Every Dog and Cat Deserves the Pet Insurance of Champions

Get prize-winning care for your pets.

Aimee Ellis

Aimee is a New Jersey native currently living in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and crew of four cats. She has an English degree and when she isn't writing for AKC Pet Insurance, you can find her drinking seltzer, painting, watching reality TV shows, and trying to wrangle her cats into sweaters.


Related Articles

View All