The Hidden Costs: What You Need to Know When Buying a Pet

By Renee Castro

Opening your home to a furry friend is an adventure. It’s an exciting time for you and your family and is often compared to preparing for a baby. But, before you start the search, you should consider how to financially prepare for a pet.

When you begin your search for a forever friend, consider adopting from a shelter. The fees for adopting can be lower (often by much) than purchasing from a breeder. Some shelters will even spay or neuter and microchip your pet and factor it into the cost. According to the Humane Society of North Central Florida, adoption fees are: Puppies (Under 5 Months) – $300, Medium & Large Breed Adult Dogs (Over 5 Months) – $150, Small Breed Adult Dogs (Over 5 Months; Under 25 Pounds) – $250. Kittens (Under 5 Months) -$125, Adult Cats – $75.

Before you are ready to pick up your new pet, here are some essentials that you should already have in your home and consider in your start-up costs, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. For your dog: a collar with an ID tag, a leash, a carrier, a crate and a training class. For your cat: a collar with an ID tag, a litter box and litter.

While working out the financials, there may be options to help you create a budget. Pet financing can be getting a personal loan for vet bills or purchasing pet insurance. OneMain Financial in Gainesville, FL has loan specialists who can help you find a solution to your needs, according to their website. They offer unsecured and secured personal loans from $1,500 – $8,000 with fixed interest rates and fixed monthly payments so you know what to expect, they said.

Pet insurance may be another option to cover their needs in case they fall ill or have an injury. According to Newberry Animal Hospital, pet insurance can help by offsetting some or most of the costs of diagnosing, treating and managing your pet’s illness or injury. It is important to know that most pet insurance plans are generally reimbursement plans so you will have to pay the bill up front and will then be reimbursed by the insurance provider, they said.

When taking out a loan and/or purchasing pet insurance, it is important to make sure to keep track of your budget. According to the ASPCA, the annual cost of a dog can range from $512 up to $1,040.31 a year, depending on their size. It is important to always keep track of when loan payments are due and that you have enough money on hand to pay your vet bills upfront. If you are having trouble taking care of your pet, be aware of your local resources and talk to those around you. The Humane Society of North Central Florida even offers pet food to families in need. Check out our pet budget plan to make one for yourself and your new pal.

As you embark on your forever friend journey, remember to enjoy every moment, every snuggle and every sloppy wet kiss.

PLAN YOUR PET BUDGET

Monthly Loan Payment

Write down the payment amount and the due date.

Food Cost

Track how much you spend monthly on your pet’s food and plan it in.

Other

Give yourself some room for toys and other expenses like treats or potty training.

Vet Cost

Factor in emergency vet visits, in addition to routine pet checkups.

Grooming

Depending on your pet, plan on visiting the groomer about once a month.

Training Classes

Add a spot in your budget for training classes if you expect to professionally train your pet.

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