Fur-Babies & Their Expenses…

Des over at halfbanked has done quite a few posts about the costs of pets.  A while back, she posted about saving up an emergency fund for her dog (vs getting pet insurance), and at the time I thought, “yeah, I should probably have a pet emergency fund…” but I didn’t do anything about it…

We have two fur babies, also known as cats, that, on here, I’ve named “Big Cat” and “Little Cat”.  They are generally pretty healthy, and only have had to get bailed out of kitty jail a few times… but Big Cat is getting a bit older, and so my thought was that we should probably prepare for a few health issues coming up…

 

Big Cat: “I am so not impressed by all the picture taking…”

We have also been talking about getting a dog, so we made one of our savings goals a “dog fund” thinking that dogs are a bit more expensive than cats, so we should have a bit of a safety fund for taking care of the dog.  I had that at $1000.  And now I laugh at how small that amount is…

In January, Big Cat went to the vet for his annual check-up, and it was found that he had some issues with his teeth, that if left unresolved could cause him a lot of pain and issues… and they may already have been causing him pain… he had been especially cranky with Little Cat in the last while… Maybe because he had a constant toothache… (She can be a bit of a brat to him… but still…)

Little Cat wants to be as close to Big Cat as possible… All the time!

I discussed the cost of the procedure with the vet, they gave me a ball park estimate of about $1000, but were unable to give me an exact number because they wouldn’t know until they did the xray and got in there, how much work it would require. But without the procedure it might get so painful that poor Big Cat wouldn’t be able to eat… That’s not really an option… So, we scheduled his dental surgery for this past week.   Turns out it was almost $1500.  My rainy day fund for pets was sitting at about $150… And we haven’t saved the “dog fund” yet… so that money has had to come out of our emergency fund… whomp whomp…  My savings goal for that one has just increased by $1500 for the year…

 

Big Cat after surgery.  You can see the shaved spot on his arm where the IV went…

I guess that’s sort of what the emergency fund is there for… but it makes me think that we should have more of a pet fund, and that the $1000 for the dog fund is way too low… if a simple dental procedure for a cat is $1500, then I can’t imagine what it would cost for something with a dog…

Des has waffled back and forth about pet insurance, but from her most recent post on the subject, it sounds like she has gone back to having insurance for her pup.  Should I have pet insurance?  Part of me thinks yes… but then if we have 2 cats and a dog… the likelihood of them all getting injured or requiring a major procedure at the same time is pretty slim, so my thought process is this… rather than paying for three separate insurance policies, and splitting that money between them, I’m going to instead save up a shared pet emergency fund that will go to any of the animals if they need it.

What do you think?  Do you have pet insurance?  Or a pet emergency fund?

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8 thoughts on “Fur-Babies & Their Expenses…

  1. Cats are such beautiful animal and yours are no exception! I don’t have pets, but I do believe that one should weigh out carefully the pros and cons of owning a pet and whether or not they can truly afford to have on. As far as the emergency fund goes, I do believe that it’s the better way to go over buying pet insurance. Excellent post! 🙂

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    • Awe, thanks! I love my little fur-babies, but they can be expensive. I agree that it is a big decision with lots of angles to think of when deciding to get a pet. We have been discussing getting a dog for over a year now, so we are in the final stages of planning… Just have to get the pet fund up and then find the right dog.

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  2. We have 2 dogs, both of which have been under pet insurance since we adopted them. So far with 2-3x vet visits per year and any associated costs, we have saved money by having pet insurance. I was interested in seeing the overall cost for our dogs, so I did a quick trend report on mint.com, and saw our average pet cost/month since we got our 2nd dog in October 2012 is $178/month. I honestly thought it would be higher so personally I’m pleased with this number. That being said without incidentals or the doggie hotel we normally spend $130/month on food, preventative medicine (flea/tick/heartworm), and insurance. We could still rack up a big bill at the vet even with the insurance if a dog were to get really sick or injured. Since we consider the dogs part of the family, we would just take from our emergency fund to cover any large, unexpected pet costs.

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    • I totally think of my cats as part of the family too, so I don’t really mind taking from the emergency fund to pay for them, but I’d rather have a designated pet emergency fund that “should” cover most things.

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  3. While my husband and I grew up having dogs, we quickly found out how expensive an emergency can be after we adopted our dog. Just a week after we adopted him he got sick. It turned out he had pneumonia and since he was only a puppy, needed to stay at the animal hospital. He was there for a week or so and his final bill was almost $4,000! We are so thankful that we could afford to treat him, but we had to drain our travel savings to do so. He’s happy and healthy now, thankfully. We looked into pet insurance after that incident and decided it wasn’t what we wanted. We did end up purchasing a wellness plan that covers two checkups each year, flea/tick/heartworm medication, all vaccinations, other medications and two additional office visits per year. That has really cut down regular expenses but we’d still have to use our savings for any emergency or expensive procedure.

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    • The wellness plan does sound like a pretty good set-up. It’s like a middle ground between full pet insurance and keeping a pet emergency fund. I’m glad to hear that your dog is healthy now. But good to know that we might need to have $4000 instead of my $1000 when we adopt a puppy…

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  4. Pets are so much more expensive than we think. I adopted my pup from a rescue, and they had already spayed her and given her her first round of shots. Her adoption fee was just how much the rescue had spent on vet bills and she cost $550. That’s not including the vet appt I had to take her two after we got her for her second round of shots and check up, or her crate, accessories, dog bowls, flea and tick medication, or heart worm. The bills rack up fast. Definitely expand the dog fund. Fur babies are so worth it though!

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    • Yes, fur babies are definitely worth it. We missed our kitties while we were away, but did manage to find a few on our travels that we could pet for a while to get a bit of a kitty fix. Now that we are back home, I’m definitely going to try and boost our dog fund.

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