No pet owner ever wants to be in a situation where they have to choose between debt or saving their pet’s life. But no matter how hard you try to estimate every year, pet costs still continue to rise. In 2017, spending on vet care in America reached $16.62 billion, and that doesn’t even include over-the-counter pet medications! But you don’t have to be paranoid about huge pet care bills. You can actually stretch your budget without sacrificing your pet’s health. Avoid letting high pet costs result in consumer debt by following these tips.
Managing Pet Costs Without Sacrificing Care
There are two main costs associated with owning a pet:
- Initial Cost – includes the adoption, training, vaccination, etc.
- General Cost – includes all that cover your pet’s lifetime such as toys, food, vet visits, etc.
When you combine these costs together, you’ll have a rough estimate of general pet costs. If you’re planning to get a pup, you should at least know whether you can afford a new pet. This way, you have a clearer picture of what you’re getting yourself into.
Owning a pet represents a huge financial and emotional commitment. The costs you’re experiencing now are just the beginning of the story. To lessen your financial burden, below are tips to guide you on managing pet costs without sacrificing care.
1. Consider pet insurance to reduce unexpected pet costs.
You won’t be able to predict when your pet will get ill or hurt. For these unexpected times, pet insurance is the best remedy. This can help prevent the cost of emergency vet visits from causing you financial strain.
It’s less expensive to get pet insurance when your pet is still young and healthy. Not all insurance plans are equal, so check policies that cover at least 80% of surgical procedures. You can also consider putting aside a certain amount every month for pet care as part of your savings. Your decision may also depend on what kind of pet you own and the overall cost of your pet. For example, it would more sense to get pet insurance for a dog than for your pet fish.
2. Take charge of your pet’s overall health.
Just because the vet clinic can do everything for pet care doesn’t mean you should let them. There are pet maintenance tasks that you can do on your own such as pet grooming to pay off debt faster. Instead of paying someone to take care of your pet, why not reduce pet costs and do it yourself?
- Personalize Pet Vaccines. Of course, you shouldn’t skip your pet’s exam every year. They’re mandatory. But while other vaccines are vital in disease prevention, there are others that are optional. Consider opting out from optional vaccines and try to compare fees between vet clinics to get the best value. As always, check with your vet before making any decisions regarding your pet’s care.
- Brush Pet’s Teeth. Neglecting your pet’s dental health can lead to kidney problems and costly procedures. Make sure to have a dental routine with your pet to keep his or her teeth and gums healthy. Don’t use a toothpaste made for humans; ask your vet for the right products to use on your pet.
- Be Your Pet’s Personal Stylist. Save yourself from those costly $15 store baths and $45 grooming appointments. Grab grooming scissors and trim your pet’s hair. You can also dilute their shampoo for baths, enough to create bubbles.
- Protect Your Pet from Parasites. Infestations from fleas and ticks can cause a host of expensive medical problems. This can start from minor skin irritations to major blood loss. Find a topical flea and tick solution to keep them at bay.
3. Choose high-quality pet food.
When it comes to your pet’s health, quality pet food is something you can’t compromise. As a rule of thumb, the lengthier the ingredient list, the greater the possibility of it containing inappropriate substances. For carnivorous pets such as dogs, they naturally thrive on meat. They have no need for carbohydrates such as grains. These are only added to pet food because they’re more affordable.
Look for all-natural ingredients that are vital to your pet’s diet. Remember to watch out for fillers and make sure to choose pet food with AAFCO certification. This will ensure that the pet food meets the essential requirements for vitamins and minerals.
Portion control is also important. During meal times, use a measuring cup to avoid overfeeding and ruining your pet food budget. Doing so can help maintain a healthy weight for your pet that eventually turns into fewer vet visits. If you don’t want to deal with other health conditions caused by poor nutrition and obesity, learn to control your pet’s food.
Ordering pet food online will also help you save on cost and prevent you from wasting fuel on pet shop visits. All you need to do is order online and it’ll arrive in your place without you breaking a sweat.
Owning a pet is not a decision you make on a whim. Be sure to take full responsibility, emotionally and financially, before taking home your new furry friend. And be sure to include pet costs in your get out of debt plan. It’s best to always have a safety net to ensure you have enough cash during pet emergencies.
Author Bio: Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a BSC in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Origen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear, and Rogz.