While not for everything, having a dog or a cat – or any pet for that matter can add a lot of enjoyment to our lives. In fact, there are many great reasons for having a pet, the downside however is that they also come with a lot of expenses too. As a result, you may worry that getting a pet will place your finances at risk and welcoming a furry friend into your life might not be possible.
Therefore, if you do have debt and are in the midst of trying to improve your credit, yet you also really want to have a pet, then a good place to start is to take a good look at your finances. As well, you will also want to find out exactly how much owning and caring for a pet will ultimately cost you. This is an important course of action as you want to make sure getting a pet will not put you further into debt.
In order to figure out if owning a pet is in fact an option for you, let’s begin by weighing the benefits of owning a pet versus how much it is likely to cost you overall.
The Benefits of Owning a Pet
As mentioned, there are many potential benefits of owning a pet and as for some of these positive experiences, they can include, an improved mental health, as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Overall, owning a pet is also linked to a decrease in anxiety and stress levels.
Furthermore, since caring for a pet, such a dog requires that owners get out and walk them on a regular basis, this helps increase opportunities for further physical activity. Enjoyment of the outdoors, as well as social interaction with other pet owners can also be highly beneficial as pets can help to enhance the overall quality of the life of individuals who have a dog or a cat in their lives.
The Expenses of Owning a Pet:
Now, here is an overview of how much you may spend on a pet, more specifically to the needs of caring for a dog.
Estimated expenses of owning a dog include:
Cost of the Animal itself: this price can range, however for example you may be looking at paying several hundreds of dollars, even into the upper $1000’s, depending on the breed and the seller.
Food/water dishes: $20
Collar, leash: $40
Brush and comb: $15
Toys, miscellaneous: $40
Food and Treats: $100 – 200. Veterinary Fees: Yearly exam/vaccinations $80, Yearly heart worm testing $45, Yearly heart worm prevention $40
Doggy-day care: $150 – 300 (1 to 2 Weeks).
After taking in all of these expenses as a whole, you can see just how much you are likely to be spending towards your new pet. Using this very important piece of information, you can then move forward, examining your financial situation and in turn being realistic about whether you can afford to become at pet owner at this point in time.
What about pet insurance??
While some people may consider pet insurance a waste of their money, another way to look at it is that it can come in handy should your pet have or develop an underlying medical condition and/or require expensive surgical procedures down the line.
In the end, paying for insurance really is up to you, however either way you may also want to consider factoring pet insurance into your pet budget – as it may be something you decide to include in your expenses. Either way, you may for example expect to pay $100 or more per month towards these insurance premiums.
Is a pet, financially-right for you?
It is true that pets are likely to become more like family members than just another animal in our eyes, and therefore you may want to look at cutting back on certain expenses in order to have pet of your own. For example, perhaps you will opt to save in other areas, such as reducing your cable/internet/cell phone plans, reducing your vehicle expenses, holding off on your vacation plans, and so on.
This can be an effective way to afford your pet, yet allowing you to avoid creating more debt for yourself. In fact, you may be able to still live comfortably, yet not be spending beyond your means at the same time. Additionally, you may able find you are able to steadily pay down your existing debt without having to put your goal of being an animal owner on hold.
If, after examining you’re finances and calculating a potential budget for pet ownership – if you do find it is not possible to own a pet at this time – as your debt is just too high, this doesn’t mean you have to give up on owning a pet forever. Instead, look at setting a goal of paying off a portion of your debt and working towards pet ownership a few months – or a year down the road when your finances are a little more stable.
The Bottom Line:
Of course this is a personal decision that everyone must make for themselves – the bottom line is however, that you will need to weigh the benefits of pet ownership with the level of expenses it will bring in your life.
If you are able to find a balance between managing your finances and providing quality care to your new furry friend, then perhaps having a pet can be one of the most fulfilling choices you will ever make.