Pandemic pet owners face costs of companionship

Animal adoptions have skyrocketed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic but the cost of that companionship can be more costly than people realize.

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Over the course of this pandemic, animal adoptions have skyrocketed as people seek comfort while stuck at home.

Of course there’s a cost to that companionship and it can take many, especially first time pet owners, by surprise.

“It can be hundreds to thousands of dollars a year,” said certified dog Trainer and longtime dog owner Susan Claire.

According to estimates from the ASPCA, the annual cost of owning a cat is around $1,200. The organization reports that dogs can range from $1,400 to over $2,000, depending on the size but in an annual survey done by the online service, dog owners reported spending far more than that, closer to $3,400 a year.

“Sometimes a first time pet owner they may not realize all of the expenses that are involved,” said Claire.

Adoption fees, veterinary wellness checks, vaccinations, registration fees, spay and neutering, food, toys, treats, grooming, collars and leashes, kitty litter, crates, boarding costs can all quickly add up; and then there are potential medical emergencies.

“They might need surgery they do get the diseases we get, they get cancer and diabetes they get tooth decay they need dental work done sometimes when they get older so we do have to plan for that,” said Claire.

And with dogs there’s the added expense of training.

“Training helps you prevent other problems when they get older so you do need to open that line of communication in an appropriate way so they don’t destroy things or become a menace and not have the enriching life with them that you want,” Claire said.

But at the end of the day she and many pet owners agree that you put a price on unconditional love.

“You get back a multitude of times over what you put in,” she said.

In various parts of the country, pet adoptions are up 30 to 40 percent and as previously reported, shelters in South Florida are almost empty because the demand is so high.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.

Louis Aguirre is an Emmy-award winning journalist who anchors weekday newscasts and serves as WPLG Local 10’s Environmental Advocate.