5 costs to consider before adopting a pet

The dog’s blurry face and wagging tail. The kitten purrs constantly. You want to pick them up and take them home. Adopt from a crowded shelter is a good action – if you understand what you are getting into.

We are a nation of pet owners who happily open our wallets for them. According to the American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owners Survey, 66 percent of U.S. households, or a total of 86.9 million, own a pet. The association predicts that Americans will spend $143.6 billion this year on pets and their supplies.

Animals need basic necessities like good food, routine medical care, and other items. Sometimes the costs add up in unexpected waysand unfortunately, some people find that they cannot afford to purchase their pets.

Research conducted in June 2022 by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) shows that in the previous 12 months, when pet owners across the country abandoned a dog or cat , the main contributing reasons were housing changes, job changes…and the expenses involved. Inflation has hit the price of pet-related items hard, as is the case in other categories.

“When considering adding a new pet to your household, it is essential to consider the initial costs as well as the long-term financial obligations,” says Rena Lafaille, director of administration at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York. . . “People are often unaware of the ongoing costs of owning a pet, such as veterinary care, food, grooming, toys, training and supplies.” Fortunately, there are ways to reduce pet care expenses.

Experts urge you to review your budget to make sure it can support the added expenses before bringing a pet into your home. You need to keep your financial plan intact.

In a recent Lending Tree survey of 1,000 pet owners, 26% said they struggled to pay their pet’s fees, and 23% took on debt to cover them.

In a 2022 Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners, 63% said inflation had made it harder to pay a surprise vet bill; 44% said they used their credit card to pay their veterinary bills in the past year, 18% said they relied on savings, and 5% said they took out a loan.

At PAWS Atlanta, people left 166 pets at the shelter’s entrance last year. Joe Labriola, who runs the facility, told CNN that some of these abandoned animals had serious health problems. “The only thing we can guess is that people just can’t afford these expenses, and they’re hoping that by dropping (their pets) off at our facility, we can pick up the slack.” In Washington, D.C., Lisa LaFontaine, CEO of the Humane Rescue Alliance, said in an interview with PBS NewsHour that she has seen owners abandon dogs, cats and even rabbits.

Do the math first

Smart planning is key. According to another survey from the Pet Products Association, two-thirds of pet owners consider their pets when making their financial plans.

Chris Cybulski, a certified financial planner at Chisholm Trail Financial Group in Round Rock, Texas, has clients planning to retire in January. Their dogs are “family” that they will never abandon. One required $10,000 in medical care before dying this year. Another dog is very old and requires frequent visits to the veterinarian.


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