Whether it's a dog, a cat or something more exotic, it's easy to fall in love with a new four-legged friend. Maybe your child has been asking for a pet for years, and you think they're ready to take on some responsibility. However, before you bring someone new into your family, it's important to make sure that you have the budget to handle looking after them.
Preparing your budget for a new pet isn't as simple as just figuring out how much you're going to have to pay for their food each month. There are other expenses to consider too. Here are some tips to help you.
Think about the Adoption Fee
Most of the time, it costs to adopt a furry friend into your home. If you're getting your dog or cat from a breeder, then you're likely to pay a much higher price than you would if you looked for a pet at a rescue shelter. That's one of the reasons why it's such a good idea to look for your dream pet at a shelter before you go elsewhere.
Picking a pre-loved pet to bring home with you is a great way to give these animals a second shot at happiness while saving some money. Some shelters will include extras in your adoption fees, such as spaying, neutering, and vaccinations.
Speaking of things like spaying and neutering, you should always make room in your budget for vet bills. If you're lucky, many of the major expenses of adopting an animal will be handled for you by the shelter, but if not, you're going to have to put cash aside for everything from micro-chipping to licensing. Additionally, even if your pet has all their shots, they'll need to go to the vet from time to time, just like a human being needs to go to the doctor.
Remember that a visit to the vet can cost thousands of dollars depending on what kind of support your four-legged friend needs. With that in mind, many people find that it's a better idea to get insurance to help them handle bigger expenses.
For the most part, pet insurance is an "added extra" on the list of essential expenses that you'll need to address when getting your new furry friend. However, it's worth noting that it's often a lot better to pay twenty dollars a month for insurance than to shell out thousands if your cat suddenly comes down with an illness that needs treatment.
Remember, when you're looking for pet insurance, you should compare your options, just as you would with any investment. You wouldn't get a loan without looking for the cheapest interest rates, so don't get pet insurance without checking out your premium options.
Feeding your pet will be an ongoing expense that you need to think about when you're looking at your budget. Feeding a cat can be a lot cheaper than feeding a dog, but it will depend on the breed that you decide to get. Some specific kinds of cats and dogs require a very specific diet to keep them healthy, so make sure that you take this into account when you're deciding who to adopt.
It might also be worth thinking about treats and other "added" expenses that might go into your food budget too. Treats are particularly important if you plan on training your pet. For puppies in need of behavioral training, they're a must-have.
The supplies that you need to support your new pet will depend on the kind of animal that you get. Cats need nail clippers, beds, collars, litter boxes, and food bowls, while dogs need leads, leashes, and sometimes a crate too. There's also things like grooming supplies to think about too.
If you have any places in your home that you want to remain "off-limits" to your pets, then you will also need to invest in gates and locks to make sure they can't access that area.
Finally, a complete budget for your new pet also needs some consideration of toys and entertainment options too. Cats are easy to entertain with plenty of random things around your hats, including cardboard boxes and mats. However, it helps to get them a scratching post if you want to save your furniture.
Dogs often need a few more toys than cats to keep them busy when you're away from the house. Make sure that you stock up on things that they can safely bite and chew.