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The Finances You’ll Need to Own Man’s Best Friend

Feeling the urge to get a furry companion? A cat or dog can certainly enrich your life. They offer companionship and can reduce stress, so make sure you’re fully prepared to offer them the best possible home in return for their unconditional love. Below are some tips to help you dive into the responsibilities of pet ownership.

Regular Pet Expenses and How to Pay for Them

Pets give us so much, so be ready to give back lots of love and affection along with the regular care listed below to keep yours happy and healthy.


When working a pet into your budget, keep in mind that the bargain brand food may not do the trick. You wouldn’t want to eat only junk food, and Fluffy shouldn’t have to either. Plus, some pets can require special diets due to health issues.


You’ll definitely incur some expenses here, but it’s necessary to keep your pet healthy. Ask your veterinarian, however, if there are shots or vaccines your pet does not need. For instance, if your pet rarely interacts with other animals and doesn’t often venture outside, there may be some you can avoid.


On average, a good quality toy costs $12, especially if you’ve got an aggressive chewer. You may want a mix of good quality toys that last longer paired with a few less expensive toys thrown in for variety.


While you may want to spend every minute of the day with your kitten or puppy, it’s not exactly realistic (sorry!). While not every pet needs daycare when you head off to work, some may, especially if they’re high-spirited and need more interaction throughout the day. Doggie daycare can run about $40 per day, and dog walkers can cost about $25 per hour.


It may be forgivable when adorable puppies pee on the floor, but it won’t be when your dog – and its bladder – gets bigger. Pets require training. And some may need extra training, especially if they have behavioral issues. Jeremy E. Portnoff, a dog owner in Woodbridge, N.J., paid $1,000 for a two-week class to train his latest pet Maggie, who had been a bit unruly.

So how will you keep track of and afford your pet expenses? One option is to create a separate savings or checking account before acquiring a pet. This will help you set aside money while your animal is young, so you have money to spend as your pet ages.

How to Save on Pet Expenses

Sure you want the best for your little fluff ball, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save a bit here and there. In fact, there are many ways to save when it comes to your pet.


Decide whether you will adopt from an animal shelter or pay for one at a pet shop. By adopting from a local animal shelter, you can save hundreds of dollars. Of course, while saving the money is a big benefit, not much can beat the warm fuzzies you’ll get when you give a deserving pet a good home.


Some nonprofit organizations may provide low-cost vaccinations and spaying/neutering programs. Research local programs like these and you could save up to 50 percent on common vaccinations and operations.


Pet expenses grow when your pet is ill. Pet insurance is one way to minimize the cost of visiting a veterinarian. Most people don’t think about medical expenses before acquiring a pet and end up underestimating their financial risk. To cover his two Maltese dogs, Portnoff pays about $40 a month for each pet insurance policy, but says it has paid off.

“I’ve gotten money back for just about every claim until the maximum for the category was reached,” he said. “Reimbursements totaled about $5,684, some of which were rebates on medications.”

With good financial planning, you can get your dream pet without surprising expenses. Enjoy giving them all the care and attention they need – you’re sure to reap the rewards in spades (and kisses)!

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