Dogs – Cats and Budgeting – Pet tip 242
Times are tough and many of us have less money coming in (income) but still have the same costs. This leaves most people with very little extra money to just ‘throw away’. This may cause some pet owners to become worried about how to provide for the health and well-being of their pets.
In this article we will try to help you structure your pet-related spending in a way that will keep both you and your pet in good shape. We will start by addressing the essential costs involved with keeping your pet healthy. Then we will mention some options that may help you afford these essential costs. Finally, we will look at what pet-related spending we can consider a luxury (non-essential).
The most important thing you can provide for your pet is health. Budgeting for an annual check-up and vaccinations is absolutely necessary. Bringing your pet to the veterinarian for an annual check-up and vaccinations is what is called ‘preventive medicine’. Preventing a disease is much less expensive than treating the disease. In the event of a non-preventable disease, catching the disease process early is also usually cheaper than waiting until your pet is very sick.
Another, less intuitive, essential feature of pet care that you need to budget for is food. Good food (name brand and proven) keeps your pet healthy. Poor quality food can predispose your pet to health problems, which may cost more than the amount of money you saved by buying a cheaper food. There is a reason why good pet food is more expensive; it is made of higher quality ingredients and has had testing done to prove that it is nutritious for your animal.
What can you do if you are having a hard time stretching your budget to accommodate the three critical costs- annual exam, vaccinations, and food? What about medical issues and accidents that cannot be prevented? There are a few options. One option is to make a ‘rainy day’ fund for your pet. Put aside a certain amount of money every month to build up a source of funds for any emergency situation your pet may have.
There is also pet insurance. Pet insurance comes with varying amounts of coverage, depending on how much of a premium you pay each year. This is very similar to any other type of insurance. The idea of pet insurance is to provide a safety net for owners in case something unpredictable happens to your pet.
Another option may be to sign up for a ‘vaccination program’, if your clinic offers one. Some veterinary clinics offer a set, discounted price if you pay for a certain number of services in a bundle. This is especially common with kittens and puppies.
All the other costs of owning a pet are non-essential. Sure, if your pet chews its leash in half, you will need to buy another one. But things like pet beds, treats, and toys are luxuries that use up money that is better spent elsewhere. Try doing the grooming yourself, or learn how to clip your pet’s nails. Make cat scratching posts out of old carpet and dog toys out of old socks.
As a caring pet owner, you want the best for your pet. But as a member of society, you have been put on a stricter budget by the economic downturn. It is important to be able to cut down on costs while still being able to provide for the health and happiness of your pet. Remember that the cheapest way to treat a disease is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Never hesitate to talk to your veterinarian about how to best provide care for your pet on a budget.