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Animal House: How to Budget for Your Family’s Pet

  July 8

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catIf you own a pet you likely treat them as a member of the family. The unconditional love and companionship that a pet offers is invaluable and we can’t imagine our lives without them.

The care and feeding of a pet is a vital part of any household budget, and unfortunately these expenses can add up, especially if an unforeseen emergency arises, or if you find yourself cutting costs due to a financial hardship. However, just as you wouldn’t scrimp on the care of your children, you certainly don’t want your pet to suffer because of a family budget crisis.

According to the ASPCA, there are approximately 80 million pet dogs and 96 million pet cats in households across the USA. If you’re one of these people with a furry member of your family, check out these tips on ways you can save money on everything from food to medical care, and beyond, without sacrificing your pet’s quality of life or overextending your finances.

The Facts About Food

Your pet needs to eat, so it’s likely that the purchase of his food is one of your largest and most regular expenses. With so many brands and types of dog and cat food on the market, it might be hard to choose. Do you go for the brand with the lowest price or the brand with the highest quality ingredients?

The best way to make this decision is by asking your veterinarian. He or she can tell you more about the particular dietary needs of your pet based on his age, health, and level of activity. While it’s likely that your vet’s office sells a variety of types of pet food, purchasing the food from the office might be expensive. Instead, look for coupons offered by the large pet supply retailers. You can often get a high quality food brand at a deeply discounted price.

Medical Care

Just as your children need their yearly checkups and vaccination, your pet requires the same care. Unfortunately, these visits to the vet can be expensive, especially if you haven’t previously set aside the money to pay for it.

In most cities the local animal shelters offer low cost vaccination services, as well as low cost or free spay and neuter clinics. In some cases you may be able to fill out some financial forms that demonstrate need and receive any or all of these services for free. Simply enquire at your local shelter for more information.

If your pet requires long term medication, try to purchase it at an online retailer. The prices are often much cheaper than they are at the vet’s office.

In Case of an Emergency

dogNo one likes to think about a serious illness or injury to their pet, but, unfortunately, these things can happen. Life-saving, urgent medical care for your pet can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, which could strain your family budget to the breaking point.

If you’re faced with an emergency situation regarding your pet, first talk with your veterinarian. Some veterinary practices will offer payment schedules, especially for long-term clients. If you live near to a university with a veterinary school, it’s wise to check to see if they offer low cost surgical procedures or treatment for illnesses for low income clients.

Pet Insurance

Just like health insurance for humans, insurance for your pet could prove invaluable in the case of an emergency. There are many providers of pet insurance, and you simply choose the type of coverage and the deductible amount that you want. Claims are typically paid by reimbursement after you submit the receipts from your veterinarian, and a pet insurance policy can save you a great deal of money.

Generally, pet insurance does not cover routine exams and vaccination. These insurance policies are specifically for accidents, injuries, and serious illnesses. Pre-existing conditions are usually decided on a case-by-case basis so be sure to read the fine print and ask questions of the insurance company that you’re considering.

Pets bring extraordinary joy to our lives and we as pet owners are obligated to provide them with a life that is as healthy and happy as it can possibly be. If you’re a pet person that needs to work within a strict household budget, be sure to consider some of these tips. You’ll save money and you can help your pet live a long and happy life at the same time.






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