Bernie Says Wait to Get a Pet

Take a look at this cute, adorable, puppy.


This is Bernie.

He’s my guy.

Now comes the hard part--and as the owner of this puppy, I can’t believe I’m going to say this…

Try to resist his adorableness and the desire to get one of your own…for right now.

Pets are awesome—there’s no doubt about it.  They can make bad days good, good days great, and provide a relationship that can be as fulfilling as any one you could imagine. 

But this is a two-way street.  And your pet deserves the best treatment possible.  And as a college student, chances are that you don’t have the financial resources to pull this off.

Don’t believe me?  Well, let’s take at what it takes to be a pet owner, financially:

Here’s a list of needs your pet will need.  Granted, these prices will vary depending on the pet and your preferences, but select the things you’ll need for your pet and estimate your first year cost:

Adoption: $75

Breeder: We’ll say $600, to be nice (can range to $2500+)

Inherit: $0

Spay/Neuter (Many shelters will take care of this if you adopt): $200

Initial Medical Apt: $70

Regular Medical: $200

Litter: $165

Toys/Treats: $50

License: $15

Health Insurance: $225

Food/Water Bowl: $25

Miscellaneous: $40

Food: $120

Collar/Leash: $30

Litter Box: $25

Scratching Post: $15

Bed: $50

Daycare: $300

Boarding: $200

Cage: $75

Carrier: $60

Crate: $95

Aquarium Equipment: $200

Training Class: $110

Grooming: $20

Apartment Fee (divide by 12 and add to monthly rent): $200

Although everything here isn’t necessary for your pet, the requirements (food, medical, license) will add up, and could put you in a financial situation that isn’t good for you and isn’t fair to your pet.  And remember that even the best of pets can have unexpected health problems.  

In Bernie’s case, he has been a fortunate boy in that he’s only had 2 health problems in his 4 years. Bernie threw up 8 times in his first week after we adopted him: the concern was that his stomach had twisted.  A series of (expensive) x-rays later, it was determined that he was fine and that he was merely eating too quickly, and that the food was expanding in his stomach so fast that some of it needed to be sent back up.  Despite the good news, it still cost $300 for the vet appointment.  Another accident occurred when he severed his paw chasing down a Frisbee.  Although not serious, the surgery was another $200.  The bottom line: within a few months of having Bernie, there was $500 in unplanned expenses.  As a student, would you be able to afford such an unplanned expense?  Would you want that added expense and responsibility?  If you don’t, then hold off and find one once you’re out of school and can devote more time, and finances, to him/her.  They deserve it.

Bernie says thanks.