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How much does a pet cost?

Every year, people welcome new furry friends into their lives. It’s the start of a wonderful, heart-warming journey – but it can be a costly one, too, when you add up the expenses that come with pet ownership.

The estimated ballpark cost of keeping a dog is roughly $6,000 a year, with potential additional costs at different stages of your pup’s life. For a cat, the annual cost figures out to be around $5,000. With any pet, there are a wide range of variables.

To help you budget, here are the estimated annual costs of welcoming a fuzzy ball of fur into your home, courtesy of a recent study*.


Quality nutrition makes for happy cats and pooches. To make sure your pet gets the vitamins, protein and fuel they need to be happy and healthy, you can expect to pay:

  • Dogs: $1,100 to $1,400 per year, depending on the size of your breed.
  • Cats: $600 to $700 per year


Your dog needs a collar, leash, bed, blanket, crate, bowls, toys and gear, while cats need their litter box, collar, bowls, toys, scratch posts, carrier and bed. Taken alone, these items don’t cost a lot but they do add up when your pet chews through their blanket and loses half their toys and kongs. Each year, expect to spend:

  • Dogs: $400 to $600 per year, with larger and more active breeds costing more for bigger toys and gear.
  • Cats: $300 per year

Black and white cat standing in entry hallway with two food and water bowls on the tile floor in the foreground


A dog license provides protection for your pet and is vital for helping unite lost dogs with their owner. Getting a dog license is a legal requirement in BC municipalities, and you can expect to pay $25-$50 per dog.

Although not required by law, it may be beneficial in finding a lost pet by registering your cat or dog with the BC Pet Registry, which is BC’s first provincial pet ID database, owned and operated by the BC SPCA. A lifetime registration costs $45.

Breed-specific costs

Different breeds incur different expenses, such as grooming fees for dogs with longer fur (like collies or poodles) or breed-specific health issues. Here is a list of the 25 Most Popular Dog Breeds and Their Health Issues, courtesy of WebMD.

The least expensive dogs are usually miniature breeds that require smaller toys, less food, simple grooming and less expensive preventive medication. According to PetBudget, the dog breed with the lowest lifetime cost is the Japanese chin at $14,000 over 11 years, whereas the Giant schnauzer can cost $35,000 over 14 years. It’s important to research breeds to help you plan for these essential expenses.

Additional costs

Beyond the basics, extra costs may arise, including dog walkers, pet sitters, rental pet deposits and travel expenses. You’ll want to factor in these extra expenses when you plan your next move, vacation or weekend getaway.

Woman in purple scrub top holding a black and white cat who looks up to the sky

Regular veterinary care

To look after your pet’s health, set them up with regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations and preventive care. You will need to budget for routine exams by your vet, dental care, vaccinations, deworming medications and flea and tick protection.

All told, your annual vet bills will cost about:

  • Dogs: $1,500 to $2,000 per year
  • Cats: $1,600 to $1,750 per year

Unexpected accidents and illnesses

Unfortunately, emergencies can happen and being financially prepared ensures your pet receives the necessary care without compromising your budget.

  • Dogs: $1,300 to $1,900 per year
  • Cats: $800 to $1,600 per year

To ease the financial burden of unexpected accidents and illnesses, pet insurance is a wise investment.


End of life costs

We know it’s tough to talk about, but we get our pets for a good time, not a terribly long time. When budgeting, it’s worth considering end-of-life expenses, including special foods, medications, extra trips to the vet and services like euthanasia and cremation. Planning for these costs ensures a dignified farewell for your beloved pet.

White french bulldog puppy with a black spot over its right eye sits in a basket with a blanket

Protect your furry friend with BCAA Pet Insurance

While the costs of pet ownership may seem daunting, pet insurance is a small price to pay to give you financial protection and peace of mind. Getting coverage when they're a pup or kitten will help you stay on top of vet visits when they're young and ensure little issues don't become larger, more expensive problems later in their life.

BCAA has partnered with Pets Plus Us to provide comprehensive pet insurance for your dog or cat, no matter what breed or age they are.

We offer ‘Accident’ and ‘Accident and Illness’ plans with a range of different deductible and coverage limits which cover injuries like broken bones, cut paws and illnesses, including cancer.

BCAA Pet Insurance also gives you access to exclusive Blue Ribbon Benefits like:

  • Access to Pet Poison Healthline®, an emergency 24-hour poison control hotline
  • 24/7 emergency support from qualified veterinary technicians with PetHelpFone™
  • $1,000 Emergency Medical Coverage if your pet incurs a life-threatening injury while lost.

Better yet, BCAA Members automatically save 13.5%** with BCAA’s Pet Insurance provider, Pets Plus Us. Not a member? Sign up today.

*Sourced from the 2023 Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Cost of Care Study by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association.
**BCAA Members receive a preferred rate of 13.5% off. Non-members receive a preferred rate of 9% off

All pet insurance plans have limitations and exclusions. Specific products, features, rates, and discounts may vary by province and territory, eligibility, and are subject to change. Medical Conditions that are noted, symptomatic or diagnosed prior to enrollment, or during a waiting period are pre-existing to Coverage and not eligible for reimbursement. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. This advertisement is an outline only; policy terms and conditions 'User Guide' will prevail. For all terms and conditions visit:
Pet insurance is sold and administered (including with respect to claims) by PTZ Insurance Services Ltd. (PTZ), a licensed insurance agency and is underwritten by Northbridge Insurance (Northbridge). The insurance transaction is between the customer and Northbridge. B.C.A.A. Holdings Ltd., dba BCAA Insurance Agency, receives commissions from PTZ for referrals of potential customers for pet insurance. PTZ receives fees and commissions from Northbridge for sales and administration of pet insurance.
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