Budgeting for a petOne of the effects of the stay-at-home rules and lockdowns due to COVID-19 is that pet adoptions are on the rise. That’s great news for the many rescue animals that have been waiting for a forever home. At the same time, it’s important to remember the “forever” part. Adding an animal to your family shouldn’t be a spontaneous decision. It takes forethought and budgeting for a pet.

Think about what sort of pet will best fit your personality and lifestyle, today and a year from now. It could be wonderful to have a kitten to keep you company while you’re working from home or a dog to take for long walks while your gym is closed. But also consider how the animal will respond when you return to the office and gym. Even pets typically considered low-maintenance – like rodents, birds, fish and reptiles – require a regular time commitment for providing food and fresh water, and cleaning cages and tanks.

Budget for initial and long-term expenses of the pet you choose. Initial costs are adoptions fees, medical expenses such as vaccinations, spay/neutering and microchipping, and supply costs for items that may include a bed, litter box, leash, cage, tank, toys and so on. Food is the most obvious ongoing expense, but other costs may include grooming, training, medications and emergency veterinary care.

Americans spent nearly $96 billion on their pets in 2019, according the American Pet Products Association annual  consumer survey. Basic annual expenses for dog and cat owners averages $1,380 and $900, respectively.