Budget for long-term expenses of pet
Question: My family is thinking of getting a pet, but cost needs to be taken into consideration. What is less expensive to maintain -- a cat or a dog?
Answer: The American Pet Product Manufacturers Association estimates basic annual expenses for a dog are $1,425 and are $990 for a cat. These amounts include veterinarian visits, food, grooming supplies, treats and toys. Even if you're able to eliminate indulgences such as doggie day care or organic pet treats, plan ahead for the 10- to 15-year commitment.
This is a good time for parents to introduce children to the financial aspect of pet care. Families can create a list of bare necessities needed to own a pet -- for example, veterinarian visits, grooming supplies, heartworm and flea preventative, and supplies for a seven-day emergency kit -- and children can help research the cost.
According to APPMA, an estimated $20,000 is spent caring for a cat or dog based on a pet's average life span. That's probably the last thing that comes to mind when thinking about adding a companion animal to the family.
Regardless, it's never too late to budget, to ensure that resources are there in times of emergency and to ensure the highest quality of life your pet can have.
Q: How can I budget for my pet's care?
A: Online research suggests dividing estimated annual pet-care costs by 12 and automatically setting aside that amount monthly. Start saving for your pet while he is young and healthy so you'll have the money needed when it's older and might require more care. Approximately 90 percent of health-care costs occur in the later half of a pet's life.
A few ideas:
» Give your pet proper preventive care, such as annual veterinary visits, as well as heartworm medication for dogs and flea and tick protection for cats and dogs.
» Exercise your dog or cat daily.
» Don't overfeed your pet.
» Select a veterinarian before you have an emergency.
The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
. Indicate "Pet Ohana" in the subject line. Or, write "Pet Ohana," Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.