As an employer, you may be considering adding employee pet benefits to your employee group benefits plans. Are the costs of owning and caring for pets really that high?

Adopting a wee fur baby can be one of the most satisfying experiences. They bring joy, comfort, and giggles into your home. And they’re so cute! But they also bring a lot of expenses. Pets cost more than you might think. First to adopt, then to feed, and care for every year. Finally, remember those unexpected medical expenses.

78% of prospective pet owners underestimate the cost of their pet. So, we decided to put all the information in one place. Prices may vary. But, we have gathered data on these expenses and have built some handy charts for your reference. Take a look. And we hope that your pocketbook is big enough to adopt the beautiful pet you have been admiring.

One-Time Costs

First up? Adoption costs. Your pet will need to be checked up and checked over before he can come home. And before you get him home, you will want to have all his needs addressed like a bed, food bowls, and toys.

Since most folks adopt a cat or a dog as a pet, we have broken down approximate costs for both. Prices vary, and your budget and taste will tell you what you want for your pet. But remember, if there is a cat bed for $100, you can probably get one a lot cheaper if you go to a comparison shop.

So, what are all these expenses?




Adoption fee/cost



Food and water bowls






Initial Medical exam






Bed and Crate



Carrying Crate



Litter Box / Pee Pads



Wow. And that's before we even buy any food. But, pet ownership is worth it. For example, 93% of dog owners say that their pet has somehow made them a better person.

Okay, on to the recurring expenses.





$120 to $550

$120 to $500

Vaccines and routine care:

$80 to $250

$110 to $550

Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention:

$76 to $367

$20 to $200





Check your city guidelines ($8-$250)

Check your city guidelines

Treats and chew toys: 

$50 to $300

$10 to $100

Toys (and scratching post)

$10 to $200

$20 to $75


$70 to $150

So, in your first year, depending upon your taste and your pet's size and energy level, you could be spending upwards of $2,700. But most pet owners spend about $1,500 in their first year. On top of this, there are still a few other expenses to consider for your pet.

For most dogs, as a puppy and then young adult, training is critical. Training makes both the pup and their owner happy and well adjusted to their life together. Training can cost anywhere from $30 to $300. Worth every penny.

Some dogs need a lot of grooming to stay healthy and happy. Expect to spend around $85-$200 a year on professional grooming. But you can get away with the cost of pet store dog shampo and grooming supplies if you're willing to bathe your dog in your bathtub, trim nails and brush teeth at home.

Cats can have some grooming charges. But, with cats, you might want to budget a little for fixing furniture that has suffered some scratching and other damage.

Both dogs and cats may need to be kenneled or sat from time to time. Allow about $15-20 an hour for sitting and about $300 a week for boarding when you go on holiday.

Again, it feels like a lot of money, but it sure is worth it. A cat can bring reduced stress and happiness to your family and even reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack by nearly one-third.

Health Costs in Pet

Looking strictly at the health costs associated with a pet, we see that pets need a lot of care in a year.




Vaccines and routine care:

$80 to $250

$110 to $550

Heartworm, flea, and tick prevention:

$76 to $367

$20 to $200



Annual Total



This is just for basic care and doesn't include accidents or critical illness. For those emergencies, recommended that pet owners keep $1,000-$4,000 on hand.

We hope we haven't put you off the idea of adopting a pet. The health benefits of pet ownership are well documented. Children grow up emotionally, more secure, and physically more active. Older adults get much-needed companionship which brings cognitive benefits. A pet can reduce anxiety and stress and ease loneliness and depression. They can encourage fun and exercise.

But I bet you're wondering if there is a way to offset these ongoing standard health costs?

Save Money with Wagmo

Well, enter Wagmo. Wagmo offers pet Wellness Plans designed to help you cover these ongoing costs for your employees. Some Wagmo Wellness Plans even have grooming reimbursement as part of their pet wellness benefits.

These plans make keeping your pet healthy and happy more accessible, especially for those who are not natural savers.

Save Money For Your Employees With Wagmo

Pet care costs are at an all-time high. Consider how many pet owners love their pets as members of the family. Consider the health and wellness benefits conferred on the family by pet ownership. Many companies are trying to help employees offset some costs by including pet benefits with their benefit plans.

Employee group benefits allow pet owners to cover pets (even those that might not otherwise be covered) by opting into these benefits at work. The employer can help give added peace of mind and gain a more loyal and engaged employee in return. Since 47% of pet parents have pet-related debt, this help is timely.

Wagmo offers Wellness Benefit Plans that will allow an employee to recoup up to $650 worth of standard ongoing expenses. This includes visits to the veterinarian, with no waiting period. The plan can pay for itself with one visit.

If you're interested in giving your employees a bit of peace of mind around the expenses of pet ownership, contact us for a demonstration today. We'll show you how the group Wellness Programs work, and they will positively affect the loyalty and engagement of your workforce.