Your Dog Is Not Your Budget’s Best Friend

Money & Mimosas

Dogs are a human’s best friend. A lot of pet owners describe the bond they have with their furry friend as something special and unique. Studies have found that dogs make surprisingly good therapists as they can provide the companionship you crave in times of need. It’s no surprise that so many therapy animals are dogs; they can significantly improve mood swings. Additionally, the presence of a dog can be hugely reassuring and calming. Even introducing a dog into a hectic office environment has been shown to have tremendous effects on employees’ stress levels. For a lot of people playing with a dog, or taking their dog for a walk can dramatically reduce the impact of stress, helping you to manage your emotional wellbeing. Besides, something as simple as petting your furry friend has a psychologically beneficial effect as it helps to release oxytocin, the love hormone which is linked with increasing trust and reducing fear. In short, dog lovers know that there is nothing in the world that could replace the bond they have with their pet. The companionship is priceless.

However, while you can’t put a price on the phenomenal life changes you experience with a dog, it doesn’t mean to say it’s free. In fact, pet owners often discover too late how expensive dog ownership can be. Your dog might be your best friend, but the same can’t be said about your bank account. If you love your dog or are considering adopting a furry companion, you need to find the many ways in which Fido is going to affect your budget. 

Get in the right mindset 

While we always want to hope for the best, it is important to be prepared for the worst. For most folks, getting in a financial mindset where you are willing to prepare for emergency cash situations doesn’t involve planning for your dog. Most people will at some point in their life experience sudden unemployment, health issues or even dramatic home damages. When you decide to adopt a pet, you also need to plan savings to protect your dog as best as you can. For instance, veterinary bills can be expensive if you are not prepared for them – more about health costs later. Additionally, planning savings to tackle unemployment should also include planning for your dog’s food and health care. There are, however, many other ways in which a pet can affect your budget. 

Your neighbors could sue you 

Of course your dog will be friendly, but there is a chance that it could harm someone. Indeed, if your dog happened to bite a neighbor, you are likely to have to deal with a personal injury lawyer, hired to claim compensation on behalf of the victim. Typically, the victim will need to prove that the dog was acting dangerously. In other words, it is their role to collect evidence. However, you can protect your dog by considering the potential causes of the accident, such as your neighbor trespassing – which would have triggered a legitimate attack response from your dog – or exhibiting themselves violent behaviors. Nevertheless, even if your dog and yourself can be cleared of all charges, being sued can get expensive. 

Your dog needs expensive surgery

In a country where 70% of the population owns a pet, you’d think that we would be prepared for potential vet cost. Unfortunately, less than 40% of Americans have sufficient savings to cover a $1,000 emergency. According to Petplan, unexpected veterinary care can cost up to $1,500 for Fido. For a lot of pet owners, healthcare costs can be a leading cause of bankruptcy. There is no way around it. You need to be prepared for the cost of having a pet, which includes not only taking pet health insurance cover but also creating emergency funds. Every year, one in three pets requires emergency treatment.  

Your dog accidentally chewed your designer’s shoes 

You love Fido. And Fido loves you. But Fido also loves destroying your most prized possessions and furniture. Redditors have compared the expensive damages their pets have made at home. A dog owner reported that her Great Dane dug a foot-wide hole into the bed mattress, forcing her to buy a brand new mattress. A pup chewed his way through the alarm clock cord, cutting down the power in the house, forcing his owner to call an electrician for emergency repairs and checks. Some minor damages are also common, such as chewing your favorite pair of shoes – not that the dog knows it’s your preferred pair, but because they have the strongest scent. The list of unexpected destruction is long. As a dog owner, you need to be prepared for it. Even with the best training, your dog may cause some financial mayhem!

Your dog dug up the garden 

It doesn’t matter how much you tell your dog not to dig and play in the flower beds; you’re likely to find your beloved petunias scattered around the ground. For amateur gardeners, the costs can be reduced to the purchases of new flower seeds. But if you’ve hired a landscaper to do the job, you might find yourself having to change your water feature, decorative sculptures, and even some of your trees, which will be a completely different bill! 

You can’t leave your dog at home all day

Americans are aware that their dogs shouldn’t stay at home alone. As a result, many are tempted to leave their dog at a doggie day care while they’re at work. Doggie daycare, dog spa days and other luxurious experiences are becoming more popular with dog owners. These do start to add up, so be sure to plan for it ahead of time.

While you shouldn’t let any of these discourage you from adopting a dog, you need to prepare your finances for the challenges of pet ownership. Dogs can increase household costs in many ways. If you are going to make the most of your bond together and keep your dog safe and happy, you have to plan your budget accordingly. 

About Money & Mimosas: Money & Mimosas was started as a passion project by Danetha, a former NFL cheerleader turned entrepreneur and financial journalist. After a brunch conversation with girlfriends, Danetha was inspired to launch a blog to explore her journey of becoming rich, sexy and confident.

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