Orange on Green: Budgeting for a New Pet

Orange on Green: Budgeting for a New Pet

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One of the best ways to prevent buyer’s remorse is to think before you buy. You should never feel guilty about adding a four-legged friend to your family, so with spring is right around the corner, we asked Orangefinancial community member Evan Mulch to serve as a guest columnist to share his expertise on the hidden costs of owning a pet:


When my wife and I started out as a young couple, we decided that it was time to get a dog, and after countless hours researching and browsing the web for the perfect dog that would fit our needs, we purchased our now 6-year-old Shih-Tzu Ginger. We felt like we bought her for a very reasonable price that was well within our budget. Unfortunately, we never predicted the costs that were on their way.


Like most potential pet owners, we recognized that owning a dog would be more than just the purchase price. We also would need to pay for food, toys and the occasional vet visit for shots. But these are only the beginning of a long road of costs ahead.


At our first vet visit with Ginger, we found out that she had an umbilical hernia that would require surgery to fix. The cost was a few hundred dollars added to the cost of getting her spayed. A few months later we were back at the vet because Ginger unexpectedly ate grass, which caused a bacterial infection, and then a month after that, Ginger was back at the vet for a parasite infection she had contracted from drinking lake water on our vacation.


Within our first six months of getting our first puppy, we had spent more than a thousand dollars in vet costs on top of puppy training school, food, toys, leashes and treats. So if you are considering adding a dog to your family, here are a few tips to think about that might cause you less pain in the pocket and prevent some stress and worry:


1. Estimate all the costs. If you are on a tight budget and are worried about whether or not you can afford to pay $200 to $500 for a dog, you should probably reconsider. The first few hundred dollars you pay for a dog is really just the start, and it’s only fair to your dog that you can afford to take really good care of him or her.


2. Consider purchasing pet health insurance. We have been reimbursed for many expenses by our pet’s health insurance. It has also provides my wife and I with the peace of mind that if one of our dogs needs surgery or a cancer treatment they will get the care they need without costing us a good portion of our savings.


3. Research your dog and dog breeder. Make sure you do your research and find a dog that is the right fit and breed for your lifestyle. Do not get a dog that needs to go on a long run every day if you are only able to take your dog on a run once every Saturday. If you are getting a dog from a breeder, do research on the breeder as well and try to go and see the conditions where the dog is being kept before you decide to purchase. If you are adopting from a shelter, there is nothing more admirable a dog owner could do, but make sure that you are not buying on impulse before doing your homework.


4. Consider the time commitment needed. A new puppy requires a lot of time and attention, so make sure you have that kind of commitment to give. It is unfair for a puppy to sit around for hours waiting for your attention or for an opportunity to be walked. Doggie daycares can help in this area, and the average cost is about $15 to $20 per day and most will accommodate puppies.


Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS). Securities products/services and advisory services offered through PAS, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Lifetime Financial Growth, LLC is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Orange Financial, LLC and Lifetime Financial Growth Company are not affiliates or subsidiaries of PAS or Guardian.


PAS is a member FINRA/SIPC