Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

A dog in a vehicle on Spadina Ave., in Toronto, on March 14. Inflation in Canada hit a 40-year high in 2022 before closing the year at just under 7 per cent.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

If you’re one of the many previously pet-less Canadians who added a furry friend to their household during the pandemic, you’ve probably noticed how pricey little Spot or Whiskers has become.

“I hear from pet parents nearly every day that inflation has had an impact on their wallets,” said Toronto-based veterinarian Rebecca Greenstein. Inflation in Canada hit a 40-year high in 2022 before closing the year at just under 7 per cent. Your pet’s gear, food and vet bills were no exception to those price gains.

To know more, Seattle-based online pet marketplace Rover, where Dr. Greenstein serves as veterinary medical adviser, asked 720 Canadian pet owners about their animal spending habits. They considered upfront and annual costs, essentials such as food and medical/dental services and not-so-essentials such as toys, treats and ample grooming.

Naturally, the cost of upkeep for any pup depends largely on its breed. Rover estimates a fancy French bulldog – the most popular dog in America, having recently usurped the Labrador retriever, which still reigns here in Canada – can easily cost their human more than $150 a month. A sweet Shih Tzu or teeny-tiny Chihuahua is a comparative bargain at just $50. Within specific breeds, a pet’s activity level, appetite and even personality (not to mention that of its doting parents) greatly affect its annual care costs.

Altogether, Rover predicted the annual upkeep for a dog in Canada will come in between $460 and $3,140 this year. Curious about cats? Rover reports it will cost $350 to $1,380 for a feline friend.

Figures from other sources were a touch higher, with the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association estimating approximately $3,700 for a dog’s annual care, while Statista reported the average Canuck pup cost $3,999 in 2022.

Where do all those dog dollars go? According to Statista, $1,200 was allotted to food. Pet insurance cost cost an average of $1,160 (no wonder less than 3 per cent of Canadian pet owners have it). Doggy dental care, meanwhile, clocked in at $743.

And as any seasoned pet owner can attest, an unexpected visit to the vet could easily cost all of the above combined. Veterinarians in Canada set their own prices, which vary widely by city and province and have also increased to reflect inflation.

“Overall pet spending is rising here and all over the globe – and that’s a good thing,” said Mark Bordo, the chief executive of pet telehealth marketplace Vetster. He’s seen everything from wearable pet tech to heated winter jackets to home delivery of gourmet pet food. And while the higher prices brought to us by inflation are admittedly not great, at least “we’re taking better care of our pets than ever before.”

Looking ahead, the cost of pet ownership is expected to keep climbing, which doesn’t surprise Mr. Bordo. “It wasn’t long ago that dogs slept in the backyard. Now they’re in our beds,” he said.

To him and millions of others, their expensive pets are worth it.

Are you a young Canadian with money on your mind? To set yourself up for success and steer clear of costly mistakes, listen to our award-winning Stress Test podcast.