Cats vs. Dogs – Which Is More Expensive to Own?

Without getting into the debate of which animal is better, because that is never a fair assessment to make; some of us are just dog people, while others are cat folk. At the end of the day these animals are our best friends, and we have them for a plethora of reasons. The real question here is – which is more expensive to own?


Vet Bill

The first year of a pet’s life is the most expensive. There are a ton of shots to be given, neutering to be done (if you decide to go that route), and checkups to be had. After the first year, there are reoccurring shots that dogs and cats need to keep up to date with so as not to get sick.

The average vet bill for the first year: Dog $500 | Cat $400



This applies more to dogs, as cats are seldom trained. Dog training is an expensive yet necessary investment. I remember when I got my first dog, she was an overactive little ball of fur who could not stay still long enough to get her leash on. Once I got her some training, she learned to basic – sit, stay, lie down, roll over, give hand – commands. The training is well worth it but quite expensive.

Cost of average training session: $80 per session



Again, this one is pretty much more for dogs than cats, as cats like to take care of business themselves. Dogs with longer hair are the one’s usually in more of a need to go to a groomer than short-haired dogs. This is also a serious expense if you are not up to wash and trim your pet yourself.

Long hair grooming: $200


Food / Toys / Treats

This is where these two group tend to meet up in the cost department. Cats and dogs are equally expensive when it comes to their food and treats. Cat food comes in both dry and wet form (wet form being the most expensive). Dog food is pretty standard, unless, like me, your dog is allergic to chicken and wheat, in which case you order a salmon and rice based bag of food.

Treats are along the same lines for both dogs and cats, price wise they are the same. When it comes to toys, it depends on how over the top you want to go. You could get the classic rope toy, or feather toy for the cat, or you could go all out and get your cat a rope tower to claw their way through.

Cost: Food $200 | Treats/Toys $70


Result: Dogs are much more expensive than cats. However, despite their price tag, those who take on the responsibility (and what I consider an honor) of being a dog owner, are getting so much more in return. Cat moms and dads as well, having a pet like a dog or a cat is well worth the cost as their unconditional love is always evident, and they make our lives that much richer.