Family Matters2 min readOctober 7, 2022

All that Pet Love Comes at a Cost

All that Pet Love Comes at a Cost

October is Adopt a Dog & Pet Month which is a great time to focus on bringing in a new “fur baby” into your life. I currently enjoy the companionship of a two-year-old, pure-bred border collie, Sage. As many proud moms would say, she is both beautiful and brilliant.  Like so many others, Sage was a Covid-puppy who brought me much joy and companionship during those lockdown days.

Like all dogs (and pets in general), she didn’t come without a true financial impact. According to Chartered Professional Accountants Canada, in 2020 alone, we spent more than $5.7 billion on our beloved animal companions (dogs, cats and other small animals), up from $5.4 billion in 2019.

Last weekend, I was reading outside and like many border collies, Sage repeatedly brought a stick, dropped it at my feet and stood intently staring at me until I threw it for her. The last toss happened to be quite costly. She caught the stick but somehow it poked her quite hard in the mouth.

Fast forward a few hours, and I am sitting in the parking lot of the emergency vet clinic. Three hours later, surgery has wrapped up, repairing the puncture to her throat and her torn tonsil. I felt so terrible for her and upset with myself. Her health and well-being are of the utmost priority to me.

So how should you plan for bringing a new fur-family member into your home?  They come with so much love, but genuine costs for their care as well. As with all big commitments in life, its best to consider if and how you can work these costs into your budget.

The cost will vary depending on the type, size, and activity needs of your animal and of course, before you take on the responsibility of owning a pet you must assess whether or not it is something that you can reasonably afford to manage.

Not including the initial costs such as purchase or adoption fees, spaying/neutering, etc., here is the lowdown on what my current four-legged friend costs me on a monthly go forward basis:

  • Daily cost of food – $130 for six months of dog food; bones $10/month
  • Cost of toys and treats – $20/month
  • Cost of training – $140
  • Day boarding – $80/month (the occasional overnight boarding at a nearby farm where she gets try her hand – ah – “paw “at sheep herding)
  • Annual vet visits and medications- $340
  • The unexpected – $1,000 vet bill
  • Pet insurance – $0 I have opted not to get pet insurance

For a total of $330/month

As Sage curls up in a tight ball of fur to sleep off the anesthetic, I briefly contemplate the cost of the surgery before setting it aside to reflect on the loyalty and affection this little gem sends my way. I have financially planned to be a pet owner and wouldn’t give it up for the world. Besides, what she gives to me in the form of love is truly priceless.


~Ainsley Cunningham

Founder and Project Coordinator, MoneySmart Manitoba
Manager, Education & Communications, Manitoba Financial Services Agency

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