Nov 23

What’s the ballpark lifetime cost of caring for a dog or cat?

We asked our vets to do some digging on the average lifetime cost of caring for a pet to give new pet parents better visibility.  



Bringing home a new family member is the most amazing and expensive thing in the world. In the first year alone, there’s microchipping, desexing and more frequent vaccinations, plus things like puppy school and obedience training (yes, they’re different). And then there’s the ongoing costs you’re up for, day in and day out, for the rest of their lives. Did you know these tend to jump up when they hit their elder years, too? Let’s take a look.

Ballpark Lifetime Cost

These totals are approximate and based on your cat living an average lifespan of 16 years, and dog an average lifespan of small dog 15 years and large dog 12 years.

They include all the first year expenses like desexing, bedding, extra vaccinations and puppy school. We’ve also estimated for ongoing costs like food, grooming, yearly vet visits and council registration. They DON’T include the cost of your pet, insurance or unexpected vet fees, so keep in mind that these will be extra.

Cat First Year: $1,900
Cat Ongoing: $1,000
Kitty’s Lifetime Ballpark TOTAL: $16,900
Small Dog First Year: $2500 (+~ $240 with clipping)
Small Dog ongoing: $1300 (+~ $320 with clipping)
Little Pooch’s Lifetime Ballpark TOTAL: $20,700 (~$27,000 with clipping)
Large Dog First Year: $2800 (+~ $315 with clipping)
Large Dog ongoing: $1600 (+~ $420 with clipping)
Big Pooch’s Lifetime Ballpark TOTAL: $20,400 (~$25,300 with clipping)
The Ballpark Cost Series
So how did we arrive at these totals? And what other costs come with caring for a pet?
Read the Vetchat Ballpark Cost Series. It goes into detail on the price of buying a pet upfront, the things you’ll need to pay for in the first year, plus ongoing expenses like pet foodvet visits and grooming.

Want help? Chat with our vets

Our experienced Aussie vets are online between 6am-midnight daily, so let’s get an action plan in place for your fur kid. Get an appointment for a video consult or start a chat within minutes.

Want help? Chat with our Vets.

Our 5 years + experienced Aussie Vets are on stand-by to help your pet via video and text from 6am - Midnight, Sydney Australia time every day.

Dr. Claire Jenkins

Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.