If you're looking to bring a new dog or cat into the household, here are the numbers you'll need to factor in.



Initial costs

All new pets require some basic necessities to get them started, including: a carrier or crate, food bowls, a bed, collar, toys, grooming needs, spaying or neutering and microchip or tattoo. Add it all up, and the total can run into hundreds of dollars.

And that doesn't include the purchase or adoption of a pet:

- A purebred cat or dog can cost well over $500, depending on the breed.

- Adopting an animal from local shelter cost between $85 to $100 for cats, and $135 to $275 for dogs. There may be an addition $75 deposit which is refunded when you have your pet sterilized.

- "Free" pets offered through the classified often need a veterinary examine, testing and treatment for parasites and vaccinations. According to the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society, these costs could amount to hundreds of dollars. (see their Comparison Chart for more details).

So what's the total? A guide published by the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) places one-time costs at $282 for cats and $340 for dogs. These estimates include shelter adoption costs, so you'll need to add the difference if you go purchase from a breeder.

What this guide doesn't include is other incidental expenses you might find. For instance, many new puppy parents purchase baby gates to provide safe boundaries, and go to "puppy school" to socialize and train their youngsters.

You may want to buy a book about raising your pet, or invest in additional chew toys, scratching posts and other protective measures for your carpet and furniture. Cleaning supplies are also a must, and it never hurts to have some specialty products on hand if your pet gets sprayed by a skunk.


Next: Ongoing costs

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Elizabeth Rogers