You see that puppy or kitty at the dog shelter, and you decide to give it a home. The adoption fee is only $50 or $100, so you take a moment to decide. After all, it won't eat much, pet food is cheap, and it's a small price to pay in exchange for years of loving companionship and devotion. Right?
Yes, adopting a pet is definitely the right thing to do - as long as you can afford it. As laudable as pet adoption is, you've got to look at your finances carefully before you decide to take on the responsibility of owning a dog or a cat. It's not just about feeding it a dish of food once a day; it's about years of care and unknown expense that, rest assured, will add up to thousands of dollars.
According to the ASPCA, providing food, basic medical care, toys, licenses and insurance for a small dog will cost around $580 a year. The total increases to $695 for a medium dog and $875 for a large dog. The cost of owning a cat comes to around $670 a year. This may still seem relatively inexpensive; but as the infomercials say, wait - there's more.
If you own a dog or cat, you're going to have to budget for medical emergencies, even if you've purchased insurance. Pet insurance won't cover everything, and you'll still have to make a payment up front, for which you'll be reimbursed later. Regardless of the expense, pet insurance is absolutely necessary with today's high veterinary costs, so make sure you don't put it off - and try to get the best insurance you can afford. Pet insurance companies sometimes offer discounts to new customers, so it's a good idea to check online for these before you make your final selection.
You'll also want to take a trip once in a while, which means that your pet will need to be boarded. If you know a reliable pet sitter, going this route may help you avoid the high cost of kennel boarding. If you choose to take your feline or canine companion with you, be aware that you'll have to purchase a plane/train ticket for him, and you may be required to pay extra at your lodgings as well.
As for lodgings, if you live in an apartment, duplex or condo, be aware that your landlord may charge a pet deposit for your new friend. Pet deposits can run from $200-$300, depending on where you live. There's no way you can get around this, but some landlords will be willing to negotiate a lower rate, or may even waive the deposit altogether, if you can convince them that your pet is well-behaved.
Then, there are the extras to consider; beds and toys for your furry friend, as well as scratching posts and litter boxes for your kitty. Your fur buddy also loves treats on a regular basis, so you'll need to factor those costs in. The good news is, you can save money on toys and treats by shopping around and taking advantage of sales and coupons. By visiting www.cdCoupons.com, you'll find hundreds of coupon codes for online pet suppliers. Stores such as PetSmart and PetCo offer great discounts on pet food and grooming products. Another company, 1-800 PetMeds, offers substantial savings on pet medications, so you can save money on products you'll need regularly, such as heartworm pills and flea preparations.
After reading this, you might ask yourself, is it worth the years of expense and trouble just to come home to the welcome of a happy face and a wagging tail? As any pet owner will tell you, the answer is yes - a thousand times over. When you consider the incredible, life-changing benefits - not to mention the pure joy - of owning a loving dog or cat, you'll happily pay whatever you can afford to keep your pet comfortable, healthy and happy.