Credit Health and Pets—What Can You Afford?

Whether you’re a dog person or a cat person, there’s no doubt that animals are a welcome addition to any home. While owning a furry companion may seem like a low-budget choice, it can quickly turn into an expensive responsibility. Consider the harrowing story I recently heard from a fellow pet owner.

Michael is the owner of a seven-year-old Chihuahua named Brooks. While out for a walk, Brooks was attacked and mauled by a neighbor’s greyhound, a former racer who was trained to pursue small animals. Brooks was rushed to an after-hours emergency vet where he underwent surgery to repair a torn leg and multiple cuts. He also had three teeth removed due to the trauma of the struggle. The incident cost Michael more than $2,700 in veterinary bills.

Owning a pet is usually budget-friendly, but as we learned from Michael and poor Brooks’s experience, accidents can be financially devastating.

Keep the following tips in mind to help you save on the path to pet ownership. They will help you care for your pet without exposing yourself to financial vulnerability.

Consider health insurance.

Health insurance for pets is relatively a new idea, but in Michael’s case, it would have been worth the investment. Many companies and organizations (including the ASPCA) provide low-cost, low deductible insurance for pets. If you have an indoor/outdoor or accident-prone companion, consider this option as a way to avoid costly vet bills.

Adopt a low-maintenance breed.

Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Like many investments, some are riskier than others. If you’re worried about the overall cost of getting a pet, look for a breed that has a low-maintenance reputation. For example, the cross-bred Munchkin cat is known for its joint problems, an issue you aren’t likely to find in an American Shorthair cat. Do some research before deciding on an animal. The results will help you narrow your search.

Calculate the extras.

All pets need food, water, and medical care, but what about the extras? The average pet will also need toys, a bed, possible grooming, and even daycare if they are prone to destructive boredom. Calculate these additional costs into your decision. More money for your pet equals less money for credit repair.

Shop around.

If credit repair is a priority, you should be no stranger to bargain shopping. Like any other expenses, there are plenty of opportunities to save. For example, if your cat needs to be declawed, don’t settle for the nearest vet. Shop around to find the best care at the best price. Redistribute your savings into an emergency fund or an extra credit card payment. Complacency has no place in credit repair, including pet care.

Don’t forget the bottom line.

Affordability is the keyword here. How will pet ownership affect your bottom line? Can you fit the cost of a pet into your budget, or will the strain put you at greater risk for credit repair? Don’t let your furry friend’s needs infringe on your financial safety. Do the math and look for ways to become an effective and frugal pet owner.