Sharing your life with a pet is an invaluable experience but many people are deterred from adopting a pet because of the costs. We’re still in a tough economy, but there are ways to bring pets into your life without going broke. If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, there are some real numbers you need to consider.
The cost for food, medical care and toys can add up–and medical emergencies are also a reality as well. During the first year, a medium-sized dog can cost a caregiver up to $1,500 and about $700 a year after. The cost for cats isn’t much different, with the first year running about $1,000 and $700 a year thereafter. (DeverPost.com, April 2, 2012.)
Some ways to save on the costs of a pet include carefully considering the type and age of pet; a goldfish is much more budget-friendly than a Golden Retriever (but much less cuddly). Adoption fees vary by shelter but often include services like vaccinations, spaying/neutering and microchipping. The fees for older pets are often less than that of puppies and kittens and these pets are likely potty-trained and beyond the chewing stage–so you’re not paying to have carpets cleaned and replacing your shoes every other week. If you’re set on a particular breed and there aren’t any in your local shelters, check for breed-specific rescue groups.
If you can”t find the pet you really want in a shelter or with a rescue group and decide to purchase a pet, make sure the breeder is responsible and the pets are treated humanely, are provided adequate food, room to roam, veterinary care and aren’t overbred. Breeders that don’t take care of these animals often sell puppies and kittens with health problems that can cost a lot of money and heartache to heal.
If you have special needs, the cost of adopting a pet may be covered by organizations that help seniors, individuals with disabilities and those with chronic illnesses.
One of the best ways to keep pet costs low is to provide good nutrition. While the pet food may cost more initially, quality nutrition can pay off in the long term with healthier pets. Another investment that saves over the long term is caring for pets’ teeth. Periodontal infections can cause a host of serious health problems for pets and can even lead to death.
Another way to save on pet medical care is pet insurance which can help manage the unexpected costs of emergencies.
Making your own pet treats can be much more budget-friendly and healthy for pets. Also, consider creating homemade toys out of things you already have around the home (as long as they’re safe). Old fabric scraps or clothing could make for catnip toys or pet beds.
If you’ve got the time and invest wisely in your pets, you can save money and provide a long, fun and happy life for your pets!