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Cost of Buying a Puppy vs. Buying a Kitten
●May 19, 2021●6 minute read
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If you’re torn between taking home a puppy or a kitten, one factor you might want to consider is the costs involved. Whether you’re purchasing from an independent breeder, a pet shop, or the RSPCA, the cost of taking on a furry friend can differ.
Buying a puppy
There are a number of factors that determine the cost of buying a puppy including where you purchase it from and the breed. In addition, there are some general costs you can expect to pay.
Firstly, where you purchase the puppy from can greatly affect how much you end up spending. According to Moneysmart, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 from the RSPCA to $3,500 for a ‘designer breed’ (a puppy that is high in demand e.g. a French Bulldog).
Typically, it is mandatory to microchip your puppy in Australia (excluding Northern Territory). However, even if it isn’t legally required, microchipping is recommended as it allows you to find your pet if they go missing and end up in a shelter. You can record your personal contact information on the chip so that, in this instance, you can be contacted to retrieve your puppy.
On average, the cost to microchip a dog is $70. However, if you have adopted your puppy from a shelter or reputable breeder, it’s likely they are already microchipped.
The cost of registration varies from state to state. Some factors that can influence the cost include whether you receive a pension and if the dog is already desexed. For a desexed dog, you can expect registration to cost around $50, whereas a dog that is not desexed can cost around $200. Additionally, registration costs can be higher if you have a dog that is considered ‘dangerous’.
According to the RSPCA, desexing can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 depending on factors such as age, gender, and size.
While desexing is not mandatory, if you don’t want puppies it could be advisable. Undesexed dogs can be more aggressive and expensive to take to the vet. In addition, some kennels won’t take undesexed dogs, which can make travelling plans difficult.
Food is an expense you’ll need to consider over a dog’s entire life (which, depending on the breed, can be anywhere from eight to 15 years).
A healthy dog should be fed 2% to 3% of its body weight, though a puppy should be fed at a different rate. A puppy that is less than six months old should be fed at least three to four meals per day, after which it can be fed the regular two meals per day.
In order to get a broad idea of how much you will need to spend on food, here is the Nature Dog feeding chart:
|Weight of dog
|Daily intake 2%
|Daily intake 3%
Based on this, if you were to adopt a 10kg dog eating 200g per day, you will need 73kg of food for one year. On the other hand, if you had a dog that was 30kg that needed 900g per day, you’ll need 328.5kg of food.
If you have a growing puppy, it is likely it won’t remain the same weight in one year, so the exact amount you will end up paying can vary. Purchasing premium dry food can be up to $100 for a 15kg bag.
An example of how much dog food can cost in one year:
- 10kg dog - $486
- 20kg dog - $1,460
- 30kg dog - $2,190
If your puppy needs an initial checkup and vaccinations, this can cost you anywhere from $150 to $250 (though, again, if purchased from a shelter or reputable breeder, you won’t need to worry about this). Yearly vet visits will cost around $120; additional visits for flea or worming treatments can be another $120.
You may also want to purchase accessories for your puppy including toys, a collar, leash, food and water bowls. The cost of these accessories will depend on where you purchase them and how many you choose. However, you can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $500 on initial accessories.
If you choose to have your puppy professionally groomed or take it to a do-it-yourself dog wash, costs can vary. Smaller breeds can cost $45 to be professionally groomed up to $80 for larger dogs. Do-it-yourself grooming services can be as little as $10 to $15. If you were to have your puppy groomed once per month, you can expect to pay anywhere from $120 to $960.
Buying a kitten
There are similar costs involved in purchasing a kitten, though they can vary greatly. Firstly, they are generally cheaper to purchase. A kitten can be anywhere from $200 from the RSPCA to $3,000 for a Maine Coon.
Again, if you adopt from a shelter or purchase from a breeder, your kitten will likely already be microchipped. However, if you do need to microchip your kitten, you can expect to pay roughly $60.
Just like puppies, registration costs are dependent on which state you live in, whether you receive a pension, and if your cat is desexed. With this in mind, you might pay anywhere from $30 to $210.
In general, cats from breeders and shelters are already desexed. However, if you need to pay to desex your kitten, the costs can vary based on its sex.
Desexing a cat can cost $115 to $300 depending on the gender of the cat.
Food costs will depend on whether you feed your kitten wet or dry food. Since cats don’t vary in weight as much as dogs, it is easier to estimate the total cost you can expect to pay. The RSPCA predicts that food and bowls can cost $370 or more depending on the quality.
Litter and litter tray
A litter tray can be as little as $4 for kittens, however a larger littlebox can range from $50 to $250. Additionally, litter is about $30 a bag which will last you about a month, so you may need to purchase $360 worth of kitty litter in one year.
Anything from a small chew toy to a scratching pole can be helpful for your kitten to settle into your home. Toys can range from $2 for something small to $150 for a large scratching post. Moneysmart estimates that you will be set aside at least $500 for accessories initially, though this is dependent on the quality and quantity of accessories you purchase.
Common accessories for a kitten include:
- Food bowls;
- Carry cage;
- Scratching post;
- Toys and treats.
Generally, cats don’t need to be washed as they’re able to groom themselves. However, if you wish to brush your kitten or clip their nails, you can expect these items to cost around $22.
Cost of puppies vs. kittens
With all of these expenses considered, let’s take a look at the total costs of owning a puppy vs. owning a kitten.
Cost of a puppy
In order to get a picture of how much a puppy could potentially cost you in one year, check out the table below:
|$500 to $3,500
||$0 to $70
||$50 to $200
||$0 or $200 to $500
||$365 to $3,285
||$240 to $490
||$200 to $500
||$190 to $960
||$1,545 to $9,505
Cost of a kitten
In a similar fashion, all the potential costs of a kitten have been put into a table below:
|$200 to $3,000
||$0 to $60
||$30 to $210
||$0 or $115 to $300
||$364 to $610
||$0 to $22
||$1,464 to $5,072
It is clear from these tables that you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,545 to $9,505 for a puppy and $1,464 to $5,072 for a kitten. It is clear that puppies can be more expensive than kittens, however both are significantly expensive.
In addition to this first year of ownership, there are costs that will continue over the cost of your pet’s life, like food and grooming, that should be considered. Moneysmart predicts that you can expect to pay at least $1,627 for a dog and $962 for a cat each year.
Overall, it is completely up to you whether you choose to buy a puppy or a kitten. While the cost is one factor, owning a pet can be extremely rewarding!
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Written by Rachel Horan
Rachel Horan is a Content Writer for Jacaranda Finance. Rachel has previously produced content for Brisbane City Council, Black & White Cabs, and Clubs Queensland. She has a Bachelor of Mass Communication with Distinction from the Queensland University of Technology.