For many people across the world, a pet is far more than just a furry little friend who greets us at the end of a long day. In fact, for the 85 million households in the U.S. that own pets, they often become like members of the family, who are just as important as anyone else. Americans love their pets so much, the American Pets Association says pet ownership will cost people over $75 billion in 2019.
In fact, thanks to the internet and the rise of digital online shopping, pet ownership has become easier than ever. Nowadays, people can use an app to schedule someone to come walk their dog while they're at work, or they can go shopping on Amazon and get a two month supply of their pet's food delivered in less than two days. Plus, there are even monthly subscription boxes that bring a wide variety of presents and treats for your pup that you can subscribe.
Still, the experience of owning a pet can vary widely depending on where you live. Between grooming, medical care, and even pet deposits for that apartment you're renting, the bill can add up quickly.
Considering the amount of time, money and energy your pets take, it's often worth living in a 'pet-friendly' city that will give you peace of mind. Fortunately, WalletHub has surveyed the 100 largest cities across the U.S. and compared them across 24 key metrics like the amount of vets per capita, to the amount of dog parks and the walkability score.
Pets living in Scottsdale, Arizona have a pretty good life according to WalletHub's survey. Thanks to the city's cheap cost of living and plenty of outdoor activities for your pet, Scottsdale is a great place for pet ownership.
People who live in cities like San Francisco, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Los Angeles, CA, and San Diego, CA have plenty of options when it comes to pet businesses. All four cities tied for 1st for having the most pet businesses per capita. San Diego was also ranked as having some of the most dog-friendly restaurants in town thanks to the city's great weather and plenty of patio space. San Diego also ranked as having the most animal shelters per capita.
There's plenty of room to let your dogs off the leash in New York, NY, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, Las Vegas, NV, Henderson, NV and Boise, ID after those five cities tied for first in having the most dog parks per capita. Las Vegas also tied for first in having the most veterinarians per capita, meaning you'll have several choices in case your pet gets sick.
Pet ownership is incredibly fulfilling for many people across world, but it's not always easy. In fact, some people may not be aware of the challenges pet ownership can bring - especially financial obligations, like food, leashes, licenses, and veterinarian bills.
Sarah Richardson, an instructor at the University of Illinois says people who want to own pets should plan ahead and understand that owning a pet is a luxury. She says families should make sure to keep a new pet in mind when they're planning their finances.
"Budget your pet into your family's current budget. Plan for food, preventative care (vaccines, heartworm prevention for dogs, flea prevention, etc.), toys, veterinary care, supplies, and other necessities to keep your pet physically and mentally healthy," said Richardson. "If you're bringing a dog into your home, you'll also want to plan for training costs. Many people and families get pets on a whim, and don't budget them in. Just knowing the baseline cost each month and each year can help significantly in deciding if a pet is a luxury you can afford."
Choosing a place to live while owning a pet is also important, Richardson points out. She says future pet owners should ask themselves a series of questions to see if they're prepared for owning a dog.
"Do they have breed specific legislation? Or are their pet laws breed neutral? Do the laws hold owners responsible for safely owning and managing their pets?" Richardson said. "Is there an off leash dog park available, and is it affordable and accessible?"
"A pet friendly city will have places for pet owners to live, and with more and more people renting, this is a huge selling point for pet lovers when looking for a place to live. And it's a great marketing point for rental owners," Richardson adds.
Pet insurance is also a great way to help tamper down the costs for your animal's medical costs, but the insurance can be expensive, Richardson warns.
"I would generally recommend pet insurance, for the peace of mind, but it's not always affordable for everyone. You may also be just as well off putting aside a specific pet care savings account for your pets in case of emergencies," Richardson said.
Photo: Unsplash and Wallethub