One of the most common reasons pet owners say they decided to relinquish their dog or cat is the extravagant cost of maintaining the animal’s health and wellness. While most people think about the initial cost of buying their pet, as well as their need for food, many don’t consider the other costs involved. From vet bills to boarding, necessary equipment to occasional cleaning supplies, pets can be pricey.
People often purchase or adopt on impulse, without giving much thought to where their lives will take them in the next 10 to 15 years. The American Humane Association states hundreds of thousands of pets are given up to shelters every year just because they’ve become an inconvenience or the owner didn’t consider the actual time and financial commitment required.
In addition to the obvious expenses, every would-be pet owner should never forget to budget for these additional costs:
Vet bills can add up quickly, even for healthy animals. The first-year expenses include spaying or neutering, which can run anywhere from $75 to $150, depending on the type of animal and its size. You also must pay for various doggie vaccinations. For small dogs, annual vet costs can be a minimum of $200, according to Forbes. Yearly vet bills for cats aren’t much lower, at about $160, including vaccinations, heartworm prevention and flea treatments, states Kiplinger.4 For big dogs, expenses can run up to $400.
Of course, these estimates increase if your pet has any health issues, or if he is injured and needs veterinary care. It’s been estimated by the American Pet Products Association that Americans are spending more and more for veterinary care, increasing from $8.2 billion in 2006, to $12 billion in 2011.
Can you afford to potentially pay hundreds of dollars if your pet becomes ill or is injured? Not many pet owners can, but for those types of unexpected expenses, there are options such as CashNetUSA, which offer online installment loans that may help possibly provide the necessary funds.
Pet insurance can sometimes help alleviate the worries of those surprise expenses, but you’ll need to budget for the monthly expense. It’s important to do your research and consult with your veterinarian before making a decision. Certain breeds of dogs are more susceptible to health problems, and hereditary conditions like hip dysplasia are often not covered, according to MSN Money.
Preventative care can go a long way in helping future savings, such as regular dental cleanings and dental treats. Unhealthy teeth can lead to serious health issues, such as kidney disease or even heart failure.
Unless you plan on staying at home throughout your pet’s life, or you happen to be lucky enough to have plenty of family members willing to care for your animal while you’re away, boarding expenses should also be considered.
Depending on how frequently you travel, boarding expenses can run upwards of several hundred dollars per year. For dogs or cats, it typically costs between $20 and $40 per night, or even much higher for especially luxurious digs. If spending big bucks on boarding or pet sitting is not an option, you might consider setting up a neighborhood pet exchange. If you help them out, they will be more willing to help you out. A dog walker can also be a less expensive alternative to boarding or pet sitting, as he or she just comes to your home for brief periods to feed and exercise your pet while you’re away.
In addition to making sure your pet is fed and watered, it’s a pet owner’s responsibility to make sure their animal has everything he or she needs to be safe and comfortable. For example, if you have an open yard yet you want to be able to let your dog outside, you’ll need to consider the cost of building a fence. Toys, crates, beds, leashes and collars are all necessary items that can add up quickly. A cat needs a scratching post if you hope to avoid the destruction of furniture, in addition to a litter box and a cat carrier for transportation purposes.
Lee Lamb: Lee loves lambs…and every other animal. That’s why he became a veterinarian.