Which Household Pets Are Most Expensive?

September 8th 2015

Animals can deeply enrich a person's life, but they are also time-consuming, needy, and pricey.

A recent infographic on Dadaviz focuses on the monetary aspects of owning a household pet. Using information from the ASPCA, Vocativ reports, the image below shows how much you spend on these furry friends each year. Owners of big dogs top the list by spending more than $800 annually on food, medical costs, health insurance, toys, and miscellaneous items on their pups.

How much pets cost per yearDadaviz -

Rabbits take second place by costing $730 each year. The bulk of their expenses come from litter, which dogs don't need but make up for in different costs. Medium-sized dogs rank third on the list of most expensive household pets, costing $680 each year. Cats are the fourth most expensive household pet, with litter and health insurance expenses topping the other costs, and small dogs fall sixth on the list. Fish are the least expensive pets with an annual average cost of $35.

Are pets worth the money?

Though animals can drain your time and financial resources, they can also increase your lifespan and improve your health. A 2013 report from the American Heart Association found that dogs can lower a person's risk of heart disease. Researchers suspect dog walks coupled with the emotional connection between a pet and owner are to thank for this. A study from the American Psychological Association (APA) also reveals that pet owners have higher levels of self-esteem and exercise more, which gives people endorphins and boosts happiness levels.

Experts say that an increasing number of Americans are turning to canines to cope with mental health issues. A few years ago, Sgt. Charles Hernandez told CNN that his dog, Valor, helped him fight against symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"I'm alive again," Hernandez said. "What keeps me going is my dog."

Hernandez is one of many people who seek help from dogs to combat PTSD. Researchers say that playing with dogs can increase the hormone oxytocin, which "improves trust, the ability to interpret facial expressions, the overcoming of paranoia and other pro-social effects—the opposite of PTSD symptoms," Warrior Canine Connection worker Meg Daley Olmert told Smithsonian Magazine.

Dr. Carole Lieberman, author of "Coping With Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted," told CNN that PTSD and non-PTSD sufferers alike have a lot to gain from owning dogs, as they are proven to be very therapeutic.

"In a way, we could all use a psychiatric service or therapy dog because of the incredible amount of stress that we're all under," Dr. Lieberman said.

Dr. Lieberman also noted that owning a dog is a win for one's self worth, as becoming a pet owner is a huge commitment and helps you "prove to yourself that you can take care of another living creature" and "reassures you that you can take care of yourself."

Julie Myerson, who contributed to last year's collection of essays on dogs titled, "My Dog, My Friend," said dogs are great because they will love you when no one else will do the same.

"Most of all, when your confidence is at its lowest, when you feel battered – by life, death and (especially) other humans – a dog will shove her nose in your hand and tell you, with conviction and feeling, what a really good person you are," Myerson said in 2014.

Dogs, of course, aren't the only furry friends keeping us alive longer, happier, and healthier. Cats can help you lower your stress levels and chances of having a heart attack. At the 2008 American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference, University of Minnesota researchers said cat owners lower their chances of getting a stroke or having a heart attack by 30 percent.

Clinical nurse Kathie Cole told U.S. News & World Report that she was not surprised by this information, as she presented research in 2005 that found that dogs can boost heart and lung function in those who have heart failure.

"I would be inclined to think that any animal that is perceived as meaningful to a person in a positive way would have health benefits," she said.

h/t Dadaviz/@IanTSommers

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Do you think household pets are worth the cost?

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