According to a 2018 survey, almost 70% of households in the US own a pet, and approximately a third of these will need an emergency trip to the veterinarian each year. This can be a major expense, with the average annual cost of this care ranging from $800 to $1,500 for cats and dogs. However, with careful planning, you can meet your pet’s health needs without depleting your savings account. Here are a few ideas…
Pet Insurance: According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, more than two million pets in North America are insured. This option is growing in popularity, with some employers now offering pet insurance in their benefits packages. Monthly premiums can range from $10-100 per month, but compare this with paying more than $5,000 out of pocket for your pet to receive cancer treatment. If possible, get pet insurance when your pet is young and healthy – pre-existing conditions are frequently excluded.
Family Budgeting: Adding a line item to your family’s monthly budget for your pets can cover the cost of pet insurance or provide a dedicated financial resource as issues arise (or both!). Including an allocation for your pet in the family emergency fund is a similar strategy for larger-scale concerns. This includes natural disasters, which could result in medical emergencies and other challenges for your pets.
Preventative Medicine: Annual check-ups for your pet can save you money by helping avoid pet emergencies or major medical bills altogether. Spaying or neutering your fluffy friend can also help prevent health problems, including some cancers. An inexpensive topical solution can help your pet avoid parasites such as fleas and ticks, which means avoiding life-threatening anemia, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Talk to Your Vet: If you already have a pet, your vet can educate you on which vaccines you can skip. While some prevent serious and costly diseases, others are for more mild conditions and aren’t always effective. If you’re thinking about getting a new pet, your vet can talk to you about genetic conditions common to certain breeds, which can help you plan early and more realistically for your new pet’s ongoing care.