To get a good idea of a nation’s economy, just take a look at its cats and dogs. While three-quarters of the world’s dogs are estimated to be strays and found in rapidly urbanizing areas without the resources to manage them, the other quarter lead more pampered lives as pets of a growing middle class. Pet ownership is a luxury most commonly enjoyed by populations with funds to spare. And as countries get richer, new classes of workers, including dog walkers and pet-sitters, spring up to accommodate the wealthy and their furry friends.

 

We spoke to vets and shops around the world for a global view on the costs of keeping pets in cities from New York to Barcelona.

Note: Costs are subjective and our costs are averages based on several competing brands or services, converted into US dollars. We generally went with the lowest costs we could find. Basic expenses for a dog include an average amount of food consumed per year and the annual vet check up. Basic expenses for cats also included cat litter. Flea medication, dog walking services, getting your pet neutered or spayed (once) and registration costs are not included, but are listed here for perspective. Spending on grooming, day care, snacks, clothes, accessories and extrecurricular pageantry were not calculated, as they vary significantly by owner.

on the cover

A Yorkie and her owner at the Doggies and Tiara pageant in New York City. Photo by Amy Lombard.

 

 

Buenos Aires

Argentina

 How much does it cost to own a pet in cities around the world?. Image 1.

   

Average basic annual expenses

Dog

$802

Cat

$479

$19.19/3.5 lb

Average cost of cat food

$8.54/7 lb

Average cost of cat litter

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$9.73/3.5lb

Average cost of dog food

$5.93

Average cost of dog walker

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$28.94

Average cost of flea medication

$18.82

Average cost of vet check up

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4)

$125.46

Average cost of getting pet neutered/spayed

N/A

Cost to register pet

Source: (1)

Dog walkers (passeaperros) are found everywhere on the streets of Buenos Aires. These urban animal wranglers walk up to a dozen canines at a time.

Note: We weren’t able to find wet cat food prices, so dry food prices are provided instead. Basic annual expenses accounts for daily calorie needs. Other cities use cat food prices. We realize this may be a point of contention for cat owners.

 

 

New York City

New York, USA

How much does it cost to own a pet in cities around the world?. Image 2.

   

Average basic annual expenses

Dog

$763

Cat

$729

$0.74/3oz

Average cost of cat food

$4.15/7lb

Average cost of cat litter

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$8.29/3.5lb

Average cost of dog food

$17.66/30mins

Average cost of dog walker

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$60.99/3ct

Average cost of flea medication

$96

Average cost of vet check up

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6))

$513.33

Average cost of getting pet neutered/spayed

$8.50/yr

Cost to register pet

Source: (1, 23, 4)

As befits this fast-paced metropolis, New York dog walkers offer some of the fastest walk slots in the world at only 15 minutes per pet. We priced out 30-minute walks to stay consistent with some of our other cities.

 

 

Los Angeles

California, USA

How much does it cost to own a pet in cities around the world?. Image 3.

   

Average basic annual expenses

Dog

$621

Cat

$690

$0.75/3oz

Average cost of cat food

$3.99/7lb

Average cost of cat litter

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$7.05/3.5lb

Average cost of dog food

$22.33/30mins

Average cost of dog walker

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$59.66/3ct

Average cost of flea medication

$53.33

Average cost of vet check up

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$389.33

Average cost of getting pet neutered/spayed

$20/yr

Cost to register pet

Source: (1, 2, 34)

Of the 3 million households in Los Angeles County, nearly 2 million keep a dog, cat, and/or bird. The high proportion of pets in the city have resulted in some unique opportunities for animal-lovers, including a North Hollywood apartment building that only rents to owners of shelter-adopted pets.

 

 

London

UK

 How much does it cost to own a pet in cities around the world?. Image 4.

   

Average basic annual expenses

Dog

$405

Cat

$706

$0.80/3oz

Average cost of cat food

$6.20/10L

Average cost of cat litter

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$4.47/3.5lb

Average cost of dog food

$23.70/1hr

Average cost of dog walker

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$12.87/3ct

Average cost of flea medication

$77.77

Average cost of vet check up

Source: (1, 2, 3, 45, 6)

$378.31

Average cost of getting pet neutered/spayed

N/A

Cost to register pet

Source: (1, 23)

In 1987, Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government made the controversial move to end dog licensing, as pet registration raised less money than it cost to enforce. The RSPCA pushed back with a poster of a heap of dead animals and the tagline: “When the government killed the dog licence, they left us to clean up their mess.” Next year will reverse the registration decision when a compulsory microchipping system comes into effect.

Note: cat litter measurements provided in volume, not mass.

 

 

Paris

France

 How much does it cost to own a pet in cities around the world?. Image 5.

   

Average basic annual expenses

Dog

$307

Cat

$630

$0.47/3oz

Average cost of cat food

$10.70/7lb

Average cost of cat litter

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$3.21

Average cost of dog food

$12.96/30mins

Average cost of dog walker

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$31.16

Average cost of flea medication

$49.28

Average cost of vet check up

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4 56)

$328.58

Average cost of getting pet neutered/spayed

$94.38

Cost to register pet

Source: (1234, 56)

For 20 years, Paris offered an unparalleled pooper-scooper service: its fleet of Caninettes. These small motorized vehicles patrolled the streets and sidewalks to vacuum up dog feces. The Caninettes, which were discontinued in 2002, were estimated to clean only 20% of the city’s poop at an annual cost of $4.6 million—but they looked stylish doing it.

 

 

Barcelona

Spain

How much does it cost to own a pet in cities around the world?. Image 6.

   

Average basic annual expenses

Dog

$302

Cat

$740

$0.74/3oz

Average cost of cat food

$6.93/7lb

Average cost of cat litter

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$3.19/3.5lb

Average cost of dog food

$11.76/1hr

Average cost of dog walker

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$15.42

Average cost of flea medication

$44.53

Average cost of vet check up

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4 5, 6)

$350

Average cost of getting pet neutered/spayed

$63.15

Average to register pet

Source: (1, 2, 3)

To improve “co-existence between residents and animals,” this Spanish city recently outlawed walking dogs off-leash, leaving cats home alone for more than three days, and feeding strays on the street. Fines for these crimes can reach $1,645.

 

 

Melbourne

Australia

 How much does it cost to own a pet in cities around the world?. Image 7.

   

Average basic annual expenses

Dog

$268

Cat

$795

$0.89/3oz

Average cost of cat food

$3.91/7lb

Average cost of cat litter

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$2.60/3.5lb

Average cost of dog food

$19.29/walk

Average cost of dog walker

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$19.04/3ct

Average cost of flea medication

$59.08

Average cost of vet check up

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

$87.83

Average cost of getting pet neutered/spayed

$35.73/yr

Cost to register pet

Source: (1, 2, 3, 4)

Melbourne boasts two “cat belts," or areas densely packed with small apartments where residents choose to keep cats rather than bigger animals like dogs. In the suburb of Brunswick, cats outnumber dogs six to five.

 

 

Additional research: Sophie Weiner and Kelsey Lawrance. ADDITIONAL SOURCES: CatsterDog Advisor