As a parent, you face many financial challenges while raising a family, from buying food on a budget to ensuring every member of the family has medical coverage. However, some challenges may be complicated, such fitting a four-legged friend into your household finances. Whether you choose to bring an animal into your home or you find yourself unexpectedly adopting a stray, the cost of pet care can add up. If you recently added a pet to your family, there are a few money-saving strategies you can use to ensure your finances do not spiral out of control.
1. Practice Prevention
Paying for preventative care for your pet can be much more cost effective than having to shell out money if it gets ill. Flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, as well as dental checkups, can all keep your pet healthy and free of potentially fatal diseases that are carried by mosquitos and ticks.
Preventative care can also reduce the risk of injury to your pets. Keeping cats indoors or in a screened-in patio keeps them safe from dog attacks and from fighting with other cats. Bites and scratches from sick or stray cats can transmit disease, so keeping your pet safely indoors can prevent this. Train your dog to wait at the door and always use a leash on walks to keep it out of the road, where it could be seriously injured by a passing car.
2. Buy Medications Online
If your pet needs medication due to a chronic illness, the expense can add up quickly. Depending on your pet’s breed and age, these types of dog and cat illnesses could present at any time. While some medications can be costlier than others, buying all of them online from a discount website can ease household budget strain. There is also the added convenience of at-home delivery, which eliminates the need for repeated trips to your vet.
3. Spay or Neuter Your Pet
There are several ways spaying or neutering your family pet can help save you money. First, the expense of the surgery is much more cost effective than it is to care for a pregnant animal and then a litter of puppies or kittens. Secondly, spaying and neutering can prevent the formation of cancer in the mammary glands and testes later in your pet’s life. The cost of treating cancer, as well as the emotional toll it can take, far outpaces the cost of a safe and simple surgery.
4. Start a Pet Care Account
When your pet becomes ill or injured, the resulting debt can be considerable. If it comes at a time when money is tight, this could spell disaster for your household budget. To keep pet care debt at bay, open a special savings account dedicated to health emergencies. Add money to it each payday, even if it is only ten or twenty dollars. This helps build a slush fund against unexpected pet illness to dip into when you need to.
Finding a low-interest credit card for pet emergencies can also help you avoid the high cost of pet insurance premiums. Even if you must use the card, a low interest rate will keep the debt manageable. When you learn more about how to handle debt, the more confidently you can handle your family’s budget, even when it comes to caring for your four-legged friends.
5. Avoid Expensive Toys and Treats
Your pet needs play time and interaction to be properly socialized. You should remember, though, that it can only play with one toy at a time. Keep a small cache of toys handy, but avoid overspending on trendy pet store items.
Raising a dog or cat can be an expensive venture. However, when you shop smart and invest in preventative care, your pet’s needs can fit into your household budget as easily as they fit into your family.