VANCOUVER -- It's time to give your pet a well-deserved pat for all the work they've done helping you get through the pandemic. But that companionship comes with a price – and it may be more than you realized.

A new survey done by found that Canadians are spending more on their dogs because of the pandemic, especially millennials. Twenty-six per cent of millennials surveyed said they've increased their pet spending, compared to only 12 per cent of boomers. 

Certified professional dog trainer Nicole Ellis says she's not surprised by the increase– people are spending more time with their dogs because they're working from home, or trying to keep their distance from other people. 

"They're standing next to their dog all day and their joy right now is seeing their dog happy," she says.'s survey found the average cost of a dog ranges from $849 up to nearly $2,500 a year. But the company found a third of dog owners spend even more that that – 36 per cent said they spend $4,600 every year. For cats, it's much less. Annual expenses for felines run between $600 and $1,800.  

"A lot of people nowadays are getting dogs before children and those dogs are getting treated like their children," Ellis says. 

And puppies are particularly costly. Upfront costs range from $1,300 to $3,200 for spaying, neutering, vaccinations, adoption fees, a crate, toys, a bed, microchipping, flea and tick prevention, a license, food, grooming - and the list goes on. 

But despite the costs, 56 per cent of the people Rover spoke to said they don't have a designated budget for their dog at all, while 30 per cent said they budget only $100 or less. 

Then there are the surprise vet bills. Alan Skinner had to fork out $2,000 when his dog Barley got into some cannabis and needed emergency vet care. 

"He's OK now, he's fine," Skinner told Look McLaughlin On Your Side when we met him at the dog park. 

But when they look at you with those puppy dog eyes? 

"It's totally worth the money," Skinner added.