You’ve probably noticed that so far cats are less expensive than dogs. But when it comes to annual costs, the gap between the two closes considerably.
Here’s what some of the standard essentials cost in 2021, according to the latest data from the ASPCA. Remember that inflation and other market conditions could impact prices.
- Food: Dog $300/cat $225
- Routine medical costs (vaccines, wellness visits, etc.): Dog $225/cat $160
- Preventative medication (heartworm, flea/tick): Dog $185/cat $140
- Toys: Dog $37/cat $22 (guess it’s true that cats are better at entertaining themselves!)
- Treats: Dog $60/cat $36
- Boarding: $25 a day
- Grooming supplies: $28
While the annual dog and cat costs in the ASPCA data are much more aligned, the gap widens once more when you add in optional items. Teeth cleaning is a popular optional expense, at an estimated $500 for dogs compared to $300 for felines. Of course, if you have a cooperative pet, you can do this yourself to keep costs down.
There are also “dog-only” items, such as obedience training and grooming, which can get expensive if your dog is shaggy and needs frequent grooming care. Costs for doggie daycare services – popular for those who work from home and need a break from the barking – can vary widely, from $12 to $38 a day or higher.
A 2022 Rover study of dog and cat owners found a greater range of costs. Cat owners said their upfront costs (not just adoption fees but also toys, litter box and other equipment) ranged from $695 to $3,100, while dog owners said first-time fees swung from $1,050 to $4,480. Annual needs such as food and vet visits cost cat parents $300 to $1,450 per year, compared to $480 to $3,740 for dog owners, according to the survey.