NEW YORK - When Jessica Frisco got her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lady, last year, she knew it would be a lot of work and money. But just how much money, ended up being a shock.
"I did a lot of planning to figure out how much the dog herself would cost, how much I expected to spend on food and pet insurance was a big thing," she said. "But it definitely was more than I had budgeted for."
So much so, she detailed her expenses in an article for Business Insider, explaining how raising a puppy in Brooklyn cost her ten grand in just ten weeks.
That was largely because of emergency veterinary costs pet insurance didn't cover
"Lady unexpectedly swallowed a pair of underwear and some socks," Frisco said.
Several thousand dollars in emergency surgery and follow-up vet care later, Lady recovered. But even her non-medical costs added up.
"I spend about $350 a month for food, insurance, and walkers," Frisco estimated.
Factoring in other costs like a crate, a winter coat, and boots and toys, it adds to up to around $4,500 annually.
The expenses, Frisco says, are easily justified: "I don't plan to have kids anytime soon so she kind of takes the place of what a kid would."
That mindset, particularly common among Millenials, of the dog as a child, is one of the reasons pet spending has surged to some $70 billion dollars a year in the United States according to the American Pet Products Association.
Especially in New York City, there is plenty to spend money on.
At Biscuits & Bath, a dog "retreat" with 13 Manhattan locations, many owners bring their dogs in for twice-monthly groomings that can run $100 a pop.
"They want what's best for their dog, and that's where we come into play," said Triszha Espina, who manages Biscuits and Bath in Midtown East.
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Doggy daycare there can cost $50 a day, and that's not including pick-up and drop-off, which many customers opt for.
"People are taking the same things they do for themselves and applying that to their dog," said David Maher, the company's Manager of Customer Happiness.
The lifestyle website The Spruce Pets recently ran a breakdown of dog ownership costs, factoring in everything from food, to training, to routine vet care. Their estimate: between roughly $1,500 and $10,000 annually.
"We encourage people to think of their pets as living, breathing things they should treat with the utmost care, but it can add up really quickly," said Melanie Berliet, the General Manager of The Spruce.
At the high-end of The Spruce's calculations, that's about $120,000 over the lifespan of say, a 12-year-old dog. The figure is still a way's off from the U.S. Government's estimated $234,000 cost of raising a child through age 17, but it's one that is growing quickly.