Most of us have considered adopting a pet at least once in our lifetime. The urge is natural since pets are adorable and make great companions. Pet owners are also less likely to feel lonely or stressed, and children responsible for pets often stay alert and healthy.
Owning a pet seems appealing since it comes with significant advantages, but the decision to adopt one must not be made impulsively. One must be aware of the responsibilities and expenses of pet ownership to help you make the right choice for yourself and the animal you will possess.
Before making the adoption, it is crucial to keep in mind all initial and potential expenses during the pet's life. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the average pet owner spends $235 a year in medical costs for a dog and $160 caring for a cat. Illness and accidents add to this amount significantly. Some estimates say you may end up spending seven times more than you expect to spend on a pet when you first adopt it.
For example, my dog Persayis is 12 years old, and my cat Anela is 16 years old.
I have both in pet insurance, but aside from the routine care that the pet insurance covers, now I am dealing with other care costs.
My cat Anela has kidney problems, a common problem in cats. I have to do extra blood work to check on the kidney and also liver function.
To top it up, she also suffers from Hyperthyroid and needs to take medication for the rest of her life.
Persayis has liver problems and has issues with protein assimilation. She will also depend on medication, and I have to give her unique food options to prevent her liver from getting more damaged.
Recently, they discover that she has a heart murmur and are recommending an EKG. And they would like to do an ultrasound on her liver. So we are talking about 1k just for the study, without counting the treatments.
Here are five significant expenses every potential pet owner must consider before adopting a pet.
1) Adoption Cost
Nurturing a living thing comes with its due share of the expense. The first expense you will come across is the adoption cost. It varies from place to place and depends on whether you are adopting a shelter or a private rescue organization. Some unique and in-demand breeds may cost thousands of dollars, but there are plenty of amazing pets that need a loving home at a much more modest adoption rate. The cost of adoption ranges from a few to several hundred dollars.
The advantage of adopting through a shelter is that you can save money on medical checkups since they provide them. You can also save money on spaying, neutering, vaccines, and other benefits provided by a shelter. Adoption fees might seem expensive, but if these factors need to be taken care of individually, they will push up the cost by a lot.
Some organizations generate offers that allow you to adopt a pet for no fee. Please keep a lookout for such requests when they come so you can eliminate this expense. However, you will have to make sure to get your pets vaccinated and medically examined in this case.
2) Food And Supplies
Once you bring a pet home, his or her expenses will become part of your regular budget. Your weekly or monthly costs will go up initially as you tend to the pet's supplies, including a bed, crate, feeding bowls, leashes, harnesses, ID tag, etc. These are the essential utilities that all pets must be provided for the best experience.
Other pleasurable items like toys and games to play with are an added convenience to keep the pet happy and occupied. The supply cost varies from a few to several hundred dollars, depending on the quality and the number of products you are buying for your pet. Remember, you have brought home a loveable, living creature, so you must take care of it in the best way possible.
Another fundamental and ongoing expense that comes with pet adoption is providing your pet with good food. Here's a general rule: the more significant the pet, the more food it will consume. You might want to go for some cheaper options, but professional consultants and veterinarians warn that the pet's food is not something to experiment with. Poor nutrition leads to poor nourishment and threatening overall health - including digestion problems, skin issues, etc. You must feed your pet the best food you can to avoid harming the pet and spending money on avoidable trips to the vet.
3) Veterinarian Visits And Bills
Your pet deserves a healthy life, and routine visits to vets are essential for that. These are done frequently in the first year of adoption, and also if the pet is young. An older pet requires at least two visits to the vet per year to monitor its deteriorating health and secure an increased life span. A rough budget for a routine vet visit is about $150 for the average pet. The cost of regular visits ranges from a few hundred dollars, but any negligence can add up to several thousand dollars - owing to an emergency visit. Some of the complex illnesses can be as much as $5000, including medication, hospitalization, and emotional stress.
You might also want to get preventive care and vaccination for your pet to treat seasonal illnesses and infections that will certainly cost less than your pet's treatment after having caught the disease.
You should set aside a budget of $500 to deal with occasional and ongoing health-related issues. In addition to this, you might want to put aside $1000-2000 for any dire emergency. Most people who own pets come across such surprise emergencies, so it is better to prepare beforehand.
4) Pet Insurance
Vet emergencies can be anywhere around $1,500. If that's strenuous, it's advisable to get pet health insurance. The prime motivation for pet owners to purchase pet insurance is to avoid expensive vet bills from sudden pet visits. Pet insurance usually covers the cost for any illness, examination fees, medicine prescription, diagnosis, hospitalizations, surgeries, and more.
It is wise to research different insurance plans before getting one to select the best fit for your pet - which covers most of your expenditures. You will find some insurance plans do not cover existing medical conditions. Pet insurance is similar to human health insurance - a small amount has to be paid every month to have larger bills covered by the insurance.
You can also find insurance companies that offer customizable and reasonable policy options, beginning at just $10/month. Such companies cover medical checkups and tests. If the pet is experiencing any illness, it provides diagnosis, emergency care, and prescription.
Each insurance company deducts a different amount of money depending on their rates, and though it may seem like an added expense, it is vital for the health, wellness, and increased life span of your pet. It also helps you in managing your costs in the long-term.
5) Costs of Caring For Elderly Pets
While insurance will take care of most of your pet's needs, you will still need to prepare for extra expenses as your furry companion ages. If your pet hasn't had many health problems in the past, you can decide on a lower cutoff age for pet insurance if it's costing you too much. Most insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, so you will need to make your choice carefully.
In most cases, the amount of care that pets require changes considerably over time. Their bodies are changing, and they are more prone to diseases. You need to keep up with their demands and change some of their supplies to make them more comfortable. For example, orthopedic beds, non-slip socks, and other things assist them in their everyday lives. A high-quality diet is more important for older pets, and you can consider switching to home-made food so that it is more cost-effective.
Healthcare and medical costs can go through the roof for most elderly pets that require routine treatments for the rest of their lives. For emergencies, you should consider setting aside anything between $1000 and $2000. Your best bet is preventive care, where you make sure they are not exposed to environments that put them at risk.
It would help if you also prepared for the time your pet will pass away. Costs include euthanasia, burial, and funeral expenses that need to be planned.
6) Pet Sitting
A research carried out by Packaged Fact shows an estimated cost of $10.7 billion spent on "other services" for pets that include boarding, conditioning, behavioral training, pet sitting, walking, and all services other than veterinary treatments.
If you work a corporate job or thinking about going on a pet-free vacation, you would want to consider looking for a pet sitter to take care of your pet while you are away. In case you are unable to find a neighbor or an acquaintance to serve the purpose, you will have to consider pet daycare.
Pet sitting costs may vary from place to place and person to person. It is an additional cost that you will have to adjust to your budget for your pet's security and well-being.
You might consider taking your pet along with you on vacation; you must know the hefty amount charged by airlines and hotels for accommodation. Pets are an expensive partner to travel with.
It's nice to bond with pets, and you can do that by teaching them some basic manners, sports and generally improving their behavior by enrolling in training classes. Some shelters provide discounts, so you can always look out for such offers. Depending on your residence area, dog training classes generally cost from $100 to $300 for a six-week course.
The bottom line is, owning a pet comes with tremendous commitment and responsibility - both in terms of money and time. The companionship and love they provide are undoubtedly worth it, but you must not decide out of whim. When choosing a pet, you should keep in mind all the factors that will affect your budget and time once the pet has become a part of your life. This way, you will avoid regretting bringing your little friend home.
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