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Biggest Waste of Money: Pampered Pets

Alyssa Pry
Personal Finance Reporter

We love our pets, and we love to spend money on them. This year, we’ll spend $70 billion dollars on our furry friends, according to the American Pet Product Association, and those numbers grow larger every year! We just can’t stop spoiling our furry family members.

Between vet care, food, boarding, grooming and other supplies, dog owners will spent $1,641 per year. Cat owners spend slightly less: $1,125 per year, according to the ASPCA.

Here’s where we spend the most—and where you can save.

Purchasing your pet

Buying a pet from a pet store or breeder will set you back some major bucks. A pure bred dog costs between $500-$3,000, while cats can cost between $300-$2,000.

But there are an estimated 6.5 million animals in US shelters, at which adoption costs vary from free to $300, which may cover vet costs. Why shop when you can adopt? Visit the Humane Society to find a shelter in your area and take home a furry friend.

Organic and name-brand food

Pet food accounted for $29 million of consumer spending in 2016. Yes, you have to feed your pet, but according to Consumer Reports, there’s little research that shows the benefits of one pet food over the other. Talk to your vet about which brands are best for your pet.

It’s also important to not overfeed your pet: According to a survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 59% of cats and 54% of dogs are overweight or obese, which can put them at a higher risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Taking your pet to the vet to deal with these issues could be pricey—so go easy on filling their bowls!

Expensive accessories

It’s tempting to spoil our pets, and there are lots of products out there to do so. If you want your pet to live like a king, maybe a $150,000 collar will do the trick? Looking for a cozy place for Spot to curl up? Splurge on this $3,000 dog bed. If you want your dog to have their own palatial pad, this $30,000 dog house could be the perfect fit.

It’s fun to look, but your pet will be just as happy on your lap as it would be in the lap of luxury.

Other extras

If you’re looking for more accessible ways to spoil your pet, extras like fur coats (faux, of course!), Halloween costumes, and other accessories can take a big bite out of your wallet. While they may look cute and add lots of likes to your social media feed, skip them and save instead.

The bottom line: Your pets will love you with—or without—all the extras. Just give your pets lots of love; it’s free!


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