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Financial planning for your pets

Updated on April 25, 2012

Most people have financial plans set in place for things like their homes, loans, retirement, and even for recreational activities. But what about your pets? Pets are an important part of many people's lives, but they can be very expensive (especially puppies!). How do you make sure you can continue to provide for your furry friends, even when times are tough? Are you prepared financially to deal with pet related emergencies? Whether or not we can afford to pay for our pets can sometimes literally mean the difference between life and death for our animals.

It can be heartbreaking having to watch a pet go through an illness or injury. Even more heartbreaking when an owner's financial situation prevents them from being able to afford their pet's life saving care, often times leading to animals that could have successfully been treated instead being euthanized or surrendered to shelters. Even when surrendered, sick or injured animals are unfortunately often times on the top of the euthanasia list. There are thousands of perfectly healthy pets sitting in shelters waiting for homes. Many of them, even the healthy ones and especially the sick ones, will never make it out of the shelter alive. That's why, as responsible pet owners, it's important to have some kind of plan in place for how to afford pet related costs, even when times are tough. Pet related costs can range from anything to providing the basic care, things like food and water, even during tough economic times, to things like potentially expensive medical bills when our pets become ill or injured. When you take in a pet, you make a commitment to that animal that you will care for them. That means providing for them even during hard times, when your furry friend becomes sick, injured, or old.

Some owners these days opt to use pet insurance to help cover pet related medical costs. Pet insurance has both pros and cons, and it's up to each owner to do their research and determine if insurance is right for each individual pet. Make sure, if you are considering pet insurance, that you understand what fees are associated with your insurance plan and that you know exactly what your plan covers to avoid any unexpected costs.

Even for owners who purchase an insurance plan for their pets, having a pet savings account can be a very helpful tool for pet financial planning. If you do an Internet search, you'll find that some banks even offer special pet savings accounts! But you don't need to open a pet account, just a regular savings account will do. Plan to save a certain amount of money a month for your pet(s), as much as you can afford without it causing you any financial hardship. Even small amounts of money saved per month can eventually add up! Plan to use your saved money for pet related costs, things like your pets medical bills. The great thing about having a savings account for your pet is that, during times of economic hardship, unlike pet insurance you can use the money in your savings account to purchase essentials like food for your pet.

For owners who are currently facing a large pet related bill but didn't think to plan ahead, there are luckily some associations that will help pet owners in an emergency situation. It's good to know that these associations exist, but don't plan to count on them in case of an emergency. Most of them rely on donations and so have limited funds, and as much as they'd probably like too they cannot help every animal in need. It can be helpful to have a credit card with a decent balance that you can use in case of an emergency, or family members or friends who would be willing to give you a loan. But hopefully most owners will plan ahead of time and be financially prepared to pay for their pets care, even in the event of an emergency.

Pets can be a big part of our lives, so it's important to make sure that we can afford to care for their continued care. Accidents can happen to even the healthiest pets, and all animals will eventually get old and most likely require some form of medical care. Being prepared financially to deal with whatever the future may hold for our pets can give pet owners peace of mind. It's nice to have money to fall back on to care for our pets during financial hardship, and to know that if something happens to our beloved pets, that we'll be able to make important decisions based on our hearts rather than on our wallets.


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    • daisynicolas profile image

      daisynicolas 5 years ago from Alaska

      Besides the VPI that I insured my dog for, thanks to you that I could set aside a savings plan for my baby.

    • Dragonrain profile image

      Dragonrain 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading :)

      I agree, it's very important to have some kind of plan in place in case of emergency. Whatever works best for each individual, just have some kind of plan. It would be heartbreaking for an owner to have to euthanize a pet just because they can't afford to pay for it's medical treatment.

    • sarcvet profile image

      sarcvet 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Excellent insights. We work in this industry and the key issue is _have a plan_. It may not be perfect, but it is better than no plan at all, and realistically none of us have thousands of dollars stashed away for the pet emergency we never really believe will happen to us. We are unabashed supporters of pet insurance, as when used properly, we've seen it save many lives where the only other option was euthanasia. Great article.

    • Dragonrain profile image

      Dragonrain 5 years ago

      Thanks for reading :)

      I think that planning for our pets financially is such an important part of owning a pet that for some reason a lot of people seem to over look. I'm so glad you found an insurance plan that works well for you and your dog!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I've had pet insurance for my beloved dog (now seven years old) for the past several years. Now that I'm retired with a reduced income, I do not want her to suffer if she needs expensive medical treatment. The pet insurance plan I selected also has a wellness feature, which I consider worthwhile. I plan her other expenses into my overall budget because, after all, she's an important part of my life.

      Very good article. Voted UP, USEFUL and INTERESTING.