[Finances] What is the cost of owning a pet in Canada in 2021?

Alexandre Desoutter Alexandre Desoutter  updated on 2021-05-26


2,430$

…is the annual cost estimated by Hellosafe.ca represented by having a pet in Canada in 2021. This amount has been increasing since 2018. Discover in this exclusive study how much our 4-legged friends cost us per year.

The budget spent by Canadians on their pets has increased by 17.1% in 3 years

The Hellosafe.ca team has examined the various expenses related to having a pet at home in Canada. The results show that in 2021, the average budget of Canadians for their pet is 2,430$ per year (all animals combined, with cats and dogs predominating). This budget has increased by 17.11% in 3 years, as shown in the table below:

Year Average spending / year Evolution rate
2018 2,075$ /
2019 2,272$ 9.49%
20202,395$ 5.41%
20212,430$1.46%
Evolution of the average budget allocated to pets in Canada since 2018

The budget allocated per year to a pet varies greatly depending on the size of the animal. Thus, there’s a strong difference between the average budget allocated by Canadians depending on the animal in question. Hellosafe.ca was able to estimate the budget for the 3 most popular pets in the country:

2,912$ / year

This is the average annual budget allocated in Canada for a dog

2,150$ / year

This is the average annual budget allocated in Canada for a cat

995$ / year

This is the average annual budget allocated in Canada for a rabbit

Canada has approximately 16.5 million dogs and cats in its population. Thus, in 2018:
– 41% of households owned at least one dog in Canada
– 38% of households owned a cat in Canada.
(source: Kynetec Canada)

Pet budget study item by item: veterinary expenses on top of the list

In order to go more in depth into the costs represented by pets, we have listed in this table all the expenses related to a dog or a cat during one year. It can be observed that veterinary care is the most important expense item related to pets.

Essential expensesDog Cat
Category “Veterinary Care”960$711$
Category “Essential Expenses” : 357$406$
Bowls29$29$
Collar and leash42$10$
Litter and litter box 0$193$
Pet bed 66$32$
Crate 152$0$
Scratching box 0$47$
Toys 68$26$
Travel carrier0$69$
Category “Food” 769$571$
Category “Training, licenses and insurance” : 826$462$
Other courses and training270$0$
Insurance536$447$
Municipal license20$ 15$
Total 2,912$2,150$
Estimated average cost of annual expenses for a dog and a cat (Source: Hellosafe.ca estimates)

Puppy and kitten: a 30% to 50% increase in cost in the first year of your pet’s life

Taking in a pet in its first year of life represents an additional cost that can range from 30% to 50% depending on the animal – due to the additional expenses to be incurred (vaccines, licenses, equipment, etc.). Our estimates show that the annual budget allocated for a puppy is on average twice as high as for a kitten: 4,327$ per year vs 2,767$ for a cat (figures applying to the first year of life of these animals).

These figures may seem high at first glance, but they can be explained in light of the various expenses related to your pet in its first year. Here’s an estimate of the expenses for a puppy or kitten in its first year:

ExpensesPuppy Kitten
Veterinary expenses (including vaccines)1,458$ 1,340$
Essential expenses (including equipment)357$406$
Food952$515$
Training, licenses and insurance1,559$504$
Total cost per year4,327$2,767$
Estimated expenses for a young puppy or kitten the first year

In 2021, approximately 1% of Canadians have pet insurance

As mentioned above, veterinary costs are the main expense for our four-legged friends – and even more so when they’re old. That’s why, in the last few years, pet insurance plans have been developed by companies such as Desjardins, Trupanion, Pet Secure and The Personal.

As we can see, Canada is still far behind countries such as the United Kingdom or Sweden, with an insurance rate of around 1% among pet owners.

Country / ProvinceProportion of insured among pet owners
Canada1.2%
United Kingdom 31%
Sweden 48%
Cross-country comparison of the proportion of pet insurance holders (Source : The North American Pet Health Insurance Industry)

Thus, the proportion of Canadians who have pet insurance is almost zero – although it is increasing by more than 15% per year, as shown in the graph below:

Growth in the number of pet health insurance policies in Canada (Source: The North American Pet Health Insurance Industry)

This is not without question, since some owners sometimes have to give up treating their pets due to lack of funds. Here are the average prices in Canada for some of the most common veterinary consultations. In light of these figures, we can see the importance of taking out health insurance for your pet. We indicate below the average veterinary costs for your pet in Canada.

The average cost of veterinary services for an adult cat in Canada

You will find in the table below the average cost of veterinary services for an adult cat:

Veterinary services for an adult cat Cost indicator
Health exam 102$
Vaccines (excluding examination)59$
Prevention of external and internal parasites73$
Scaling / polishing and dental radiography702$
Prevention and screening based on medical needs221$
Average cost of veterinary services for an adult cat in Canada (Source: AMVQ)

The average cost of veterinary services for an adult dog in Canada

You will find in the table below the average cost of veterinary services for an adult dog:

Veterinary services for an adult dog Cost indicator
Medical consultation and health examination102$
Vaccines (excluding examination)115$
Prevention of external and internal parasites178$
Dental radiography219$
Scaling and polishing531$
Prevention and screening based on medical needs221$
Average cost of veterinary services for an adult dog in Canada (Source: AMVQ)

Our methodology

To collect all of this data, the Hellosafe.ca team relied on studies published by the North American Pet Health Insurance Industry – as well as the AMVQ. For insurance policy data, the 2018-2020 figures are Hellosafe.ca estimates based on our actuarial databases.

About Hellosafe.ca

Hellosafe.ca is a comparison platform which is shaking up the insurance market – giving you access to the best Canadian insurance deals in less than 30 seconds. Hellosafe.ca is supported and financed by Blue, an Insurtech Venture Capital firm. Blue already owns two leaders in the French insurance comparison market, Réassurez-moi and Coover. These platforms help more than 10 million people with their insurance every year. We have developed a unique comparison technology that gives access to cover details and quotes without customers having to give their phone number or email address. This engine is the result of four years of hard work.


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Alexandre Desoutter
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