Tips & advice

How Much Does That Pet Cost in the Window?

Dogs may be a man’s best friend, but the price of friendship can be a costly addition to any family.

According to British Columbia’s SPCA, dogs can cost a family $1,196 each year. This includes 12 bags of 18-kilogram dog food at $45, two boxes of dog treats per month at $3.99, a yearly visit to the vet for exams and vaccinations for $120 and other typical activities such as nail clipping and grooming. And don’t forget the one-time costs when you first adopt a dog which ranges from $290 to $520.

To tip the scales in favour of cat lovers, their feline companions aren’t as pricey, but $899 each year can put a bit of financial strain on a family. When you first adopt a cat, they can cost about $207 to $292.

Around Easter it’s tempting to own a rabbit, but maybe families should settle for watching the wild ones hopping in their backyard. Rabbits cost about half the yearly expenses of a cat at $449, but their initial costs can be about $125 more expensive at $332.

Basically, the smaller the animal, the lower the expenses in taking care of it. Guinea pigs cost $420 a year and have an initial cost of $160, while hamsters, rats and gerbils cost 225 a year and $143 when you first adopt them.

For a detailed breakdown of how each pet’s cost was calculated, visit British Columbia’s SPCA website. Unfortunately these costs don’t consider a few other fees owners may be hit with such as medical emergencies, a fence you might build for your dog or any obedience classes you enrol it.

If pet owners hope their furry friends are tax deductible, unfortunately, for most Canadians, they’re out of luck. Pets aren’t classified as dependents. Even if your dog faithfully guards your home from robbers creeping about, your four-legged friend can’t be claimed as home security. In the United States, pet owners have won court cases to write off the cost of cat food or any moving expenses involved when moving your pet from one residence to another, but those situations don’t apply in Canada.

Animals, and associated expenses, can be tax deductible in two scenarios:

  • if you’re the owner of a farm, but it only applies to livestock, which means any animals that are raised and kept under controlled conditions to make money
  • if the animal is specially trained to assist a person with a medical need or special disability.