You’ve seen enough devastatingly cute cat and dog videos and have now decided to get yourself your own furry friend or two. Pets are wonderful companions guaranteed to add life and love to your home. They are beneficial to mental and physical health and offer unconditional love to boot. It’s easy to assume the only costs will be food and perhaps litter but that would be wrong. Before you sign the dotted line, here are the hidden costs of owning pets.
Medical costs and decisions
Your pets likely come to you in good health. The bad news is that will not last. At one point, they will fall ill, or you will be concerned about their health and will need to visit a veterinarian. That means you have to seek out a veterinarian that you feel you can trust. Suppose you’re really lucky and your pets never fall ill, you may have to spay or castrate your pets which costs money. Beyond money, it is also incredibly emotionally taxing especially with female animals such as cats for whom spaying is a surgical procedure. In the event of trouble healing, you may need to have repeat visits to the vet.
Beyond illness, you need to factor in treatment for ticks, fleas, and worms which are common in pets. There are also annual costs such as vaccinations and for the more serious pet owner, annual health checks. You should factor in accidents and other sudden health emergencies or get pet insurance to cover such eventualities. Medical costs are also highly likely to increase as the pet ages.
You need to think about what will happen should your pet develop a medical condition that you cannot afford to pay to get fixed. It’s difficult but these are some of the emotional costs that we often fail to anticipate when we first get pets.
Accidents and damage
Accidents will happen. Things will be broken, chewed, stained, and destroyed. Your primary mission is to anticipate these accidents and get ahead of them. It turns out that homes with mixed pets, e.g., dogs and cats are four times more prone to accidents than homes with one or the other.
You are going to want to buy your pets toys and cute accessories, trust us on that. You’re going to be walking on a busy day, minding your business, and your eye will catch a cute leash or ball, and you will buy it. So, plan accordingly. You will likely need to purchase other more
Training, boarding, grooming, and pet sitters
Training is an essential part of owning a dog. Dogs have no concept of right and wrong and consistent training is essential to achieve the desired results. Dogs also need regular grooming and may require boarding when you are away. You may also need to hire someone to come check up on your pets while you are away or hire a pet sitter to stay with them the entire time. Those costs can add up.
Moving and travelling costs
When you’re travelling or moving, you need to factor in the complexities of travelling with a pet. You may need to purchase carriers for your pets. If you ever need to travel via flight, you have to figure out flight costs and make sure you are up to date with all the vaccinations and shots.
Exercise and attention needs
Pets need attention and in the case of dogs, exercise. You need to factor in time to walk the dog or plan to pay someone to do it.
Understandably, this isn’t something anyone wants to think about. You also need to factor in the lifespan of your pets as you make financial plans. Indoor cats can live up to 15 years, maybe more. Small dogs generally live longer than larger breeds. They can live up to 16 years or more while the lifespan of medium to large dogs is between 10 and 13 years. You’ll also need to find out the logistics of what happens to the body and any requirements you need to abide by. You need to factor that in and prepare as much as you can for the impending emotional havoc. Unless of course, you die first, in which case, you need to think about what happens to your pets in that case.
You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
One way to get ahead of the financial costs is to set up a pet fund and save a set amount each month for a rainy day.
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