Five personal finance tips for pet owners
Pets have always been a source of comfort and companionship, and the lockdown linked to COVID-19 has encouraged more and more people to buy or adopt a dog or cat. Pets can be more expensive than expected, however.
Just like members of the human family, they get sick, fight, get injured, need exercise and care, and can be picky eaters.
With World Animal Day on October 4 and National Cat Day approaching October 29, the personal finance website, JustMoney.co.za examines the cost of keeping your furry child healthy and happy.
âIt’s natural to fall in love with an adorable kitten or puppy, but before deciding to bring a four-legged friend home, it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities and costs involved,â said Shafeeka Anthony, marketing manager of JustMoney. There is usually a high upfront expense when you bring your baby home, followed by a long-term financial commitment.
Anthony offers five tips for current and potential pet owners:
Do Your Homework: Buying a registered purebred animal, such as an English or French Bulldog, Pug or King Charles Spaniel, can cost up to R70,000. You could easily spend an additional R 10,000. during the first months in vaccinations, deworming, sterilization, microchipping, bed or kennel, animal feed and treatment against ticks and fleas. Some pets also need socialization lessons, as well as professional grooming and clipping.
In the case of a rescue animal, you will be assessed to make sure you can provide a good home and will likely pay an adoption fee of around R1,000. This normally includes sterilization, vaccination and deworming, so you will have less expense.
Create an Emergency Savings Fund: Your pet may be perfectly healthy, but a bone may get lodged in its throat or it may be attacked by another animal while out for a walk. An unexpected vet bill will be a stark reminder that emergencies don’t wait for you to have cash on hand. Big bills can happen at any time.
Financial experts suggest that you save three to six months of salary to meet unforeseen expenses. You want to avoid going into debt to cover your vet bills, which could put you under financial pressure for months or even years.
Think about pet insurance: it is advisable to check out pet insurance, which is underwritten by insurance companies. The age, species and breed of your animal, as well as where you live, will be taken into consideration. Compare multiple quotes so you can choose a package that meets your needs.
Read the fine print: People often make the mistake of assuming that pet insurance works the same way as human medical insurance. In fact, veterinary hospitals do not submit claims on behalf of your pet, nor are veterinary hospitals involved in the financial aspects of a claim.
Depending on your policy, you may have to pay an excess amount. If your animal is hospitalized, let your insurer know and check what they will cover, so that you are prepared to face any costs you may personally incur.
Get Supplemental Board: While it’s easy to bond with your pet while working from home, you can spend more time away from home as lockdown restrictions ease. More and more people are returning to the office and embarking on business and leisure trips. As a pet owner, you may need to factor in the cost of a doggy day care, sitter, or kennel when taking a break.
âParenting a pet might be one of the best decisions you’ll make, but it’s important to be aware of the expense involved. By educating yourself about the costs of owning a pet and putting a plan in place, you will avoid the heartache of being unable to afford veterinary treatment, or even having to give away a beloved pet. because you can’t afford to take care of it properly, âconcludes Antoine.