Pets: Worth the cost


Flikr/Washington Humane Society Adoption Mobile

The Sioux Falls Humane Society is located on Benson road and is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Ashlyn Cypher, Journalism Student

Between yearly vaccinations, grooming, food, preventative medications and other supplies, the annual cost of owning a pet can range from $1,500 all the way up to $9,000. Opponents to owning a pet argue that pets demand too much attention and add that financially providing for the many needs of an animal can be challenging. The huge responsibility and daily living expenses of pet ownership pose a general question: are pets really worth the cost? 


What many do not realize about pets is how much of an impact they have on their owners socially. Many individuals in a standard neighborhood have gotten to know their neighbors thanks to their pets. Dog owners in particular are far more likely to meet new people.  


According to Harvard Medical School, out of a survey of approximately 2,700 men and women across four major cities throughout Australia and the U.S., pet owners were 60% more likely than non-pet owners to interact with their neighborhood. 


Along with being a dog owner and knowing first-hand what it’s like to share a strong emotional connection with a pet, I set aside time to walk my dog when the weather permits. Consequently, not only did I meet my neighbors through dog walking, but I also know their occupations, where they vacation during the summer, their friends and where their extended family resides. All of these details would not be known if it wasn’t for my energetic dog.


Not only do pets increase many social opportunities, but they also increase feelings of happiness and develop strong bonds with their owners.


According to BarkBox, a monthly subscription service providing dog products to the public, seven in 10 dog owners self-reported that their canine has made them happier. Similarly, more than 83% of owners consider their dogs to be their best friends. 


Along with the social and emotional impact pets have on their owners, the feeling of friendship is widespread. People all across the U.S. have that unexplainable bond. 


According to Harris Insights & Analytics, a market research firm that measures public opinion in the U.S. through surveys, a poll conducted in 2015 revealed that 95% of pet owners consider their animal as a member of the family. 


If pets benefit humans greatly, what is holding people back from getting them? There is no guarantee that money will never be an issue when welcoming a new companion, but in all honesty, pet owners could make some personal efforts to reduce the cost spent on their furry pals. Instead of worrying about the annual cost of owning a pet, the public should consider going local. Local shops, vets and animal humane societies all offer common necessities such as food, vaccinations and other medications, often at a cheaper price. Better yet, by going local, the money an individual puts into locally owned companies is retained and stays in that community.


Regardless of whether or not you are financially capable of getting a pet, consider the social and emotional effects a companion can radiate. While the cost of owning pets can add up financially, take into account the benefits of shopping local for a better life for you and your pet.