How Much Does It Cost To Own A Pet?



Pets are often referred to as a man’s best friend as they are always known for their loyalty towards their owners. Well, mainly dogs but the others aren’t too bad either. That is why perhaps people generally treat their pets as a member of the family for the love and warmth they receive from their pets is priceless.

However when getting yourself a pet, you should always be prepared for the expenses that will come with it. This includes food, housing, trips to the vet, toys, grooming, healthcare, and the list goes on.

Here is an estimated cost of owning some of the more common pets such as a dog, cat or fish:

One-time costs

1. Price

There are various places you can buy a pet from – animal shelters, pet shops, online or from a friend. The price varies according to the breed and age of the pet. Rare, imported or special breeds can be more expensive than the average lot.


We advocate getting a pet from a shelter since you’ll not only be doing a good deed but also the fact that it can be significantly cheaper. You can adopt a dog for a minimum fee of RM150 and RM70 for a cat. Pedigree breeds can be adopted for a minimum fee of RM250.

2. Vet fee

When getting a pet, the initial vet costs include neutering (or spaying), vaccination and de-worming your new pet. While a thorough health check for your pet differs according to the type of pet, age, and vet, the cost of neutering (or spaying) differs according to the gender too. Spaying a female pet costs more because it involves a more invasive procedure compared to neutering a male pet. Also, the need for healthcare also differs according to pet type.


If you had adopted your pet from the shelter, the pets would have been neutered (or spaying), vaccinated and de-wormed.

3. Cage or aquarium

Like you, your pet needs a comfortable place to sleep and rest. For pets like dogs and cats, you would most probably need a comfortable cage or a pet house. For fish, you would require a comfortable aquarium with suitable filters, water pumps and chiller. You may also need to add on other accessories to your aquarium, such as pebble stones, artificial plants or decorative accessories

Sea water fish require different aquariums and equipment compared to fresh water fish. Find out the cost difference before you decide on the type of fish to buy.


4. Other necessities

Having a pet includes other miscellaneous costs such as a collar, nail clipper, comb, litter pan, toys, net, leash and others. This may cost around RM100 to RM200 each depending on quality and brand.

Above these one-off costs, there are also some ongoing annual costs that you will need to incorporate in the cost to own a pet.

Ongoing annual costs

5. Licence

If you are planning to have a dog, you will need to register your dog and obtain a licence from the local city hall or municipality at RM10 per year. In order to obtain the licence, you need to produce:

1. Full body photo of your pet (3R size)

2. Photo of your house (from the outside including your roof; 3R size)

3. Photocopy of proof of vaccination from the vet

4. Dog license form (which you can get at their office)

6. Food

It is not recommended to feed dog what we eat, as their digestive systems are different from humans’. Always check with the vet if your pet is allergic to anything or should not consume something according to their breed. The cost would also differ by the consumption capacity of your pet. Bigger pets naturally consume more.

4*this calculation is based on the average consumption of a 3-month old dog, an adult cat, and medium-sized fish

Pet food comes in different brands and quality and as such, the prices will vary accordingly. The prices quoted as examples above are of the more generic commonly found brands.

7. Vaccination and boosters

The need for healthcare also differs according to pet type. A dog is more prone to flees while a fish is more prone to fungus infection. That is why periodic trips to the vet is important. Do not rush your pet to the vet only when it falls sick.

The usual vet check-up may cost around RM200 per visit and you may need to visit the vet at least three to four times a year.

8. Grooming

To keep your pet healthy and clean, you need to regularly groom your pet. Other than sending your pet to the pet groomers, you will also need to do some maintenance on your own. You will require pet shampoo that is suitable for the pet, especially if it has sensitive skin. For more advanced grooming such as dental, nails, scissoring, and more you can get them done at the vet or pet grooming parlours.

5From the above examples, owning a dog or a cat can easily cost about RM3,000 initially, and close to RM4,000 a year for grooming, food and health check-up and vaccinations. However, owning fish may require less recurring cost, but depending on the type of fish, the initial cost of setting the aquarium with the right equipment can cost about RM1,500, which is still significantly lower than its two furry friends.

The above examples are just estimated common costs of owning a pet. Some pet owners may spend more on their pets, depending on the breed and preference. For individuals who own exotic pets, such as iguanas, snakes and spiders – the cost could go up even higher.

Common or exotic, it is wise to first find out from the vet or other pet owners what the estimated costs are having these pets. Ensure you take that into your monthly or annual budget – and ensure it is within an affordable range.

By knowing what you are getting yourself into, emotionally and financially, you will be more prepared to stick to your furry (or scaly) friends through thick and thin!

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