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Biting off too much: Is your pet putting you in financial peril?

BITING OFF TOO MUCH: Is your pet putting your budget in a bind?

Before you decide to adopt a dog or buy that cute, little kitten staring back at your from behind that cold, hard glass, you may want to ask yourself an important question.
Are you really financially prepared to own a pet?

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That inquiry typically is quickly dismissed as silly or inane, and most potential pet owners hardly consider cost beyond food, snacks and the initial start up cost associated primarily with the two most popular pets: dogs and cats.
Truthfully, pets can be perceived as an impulse buy. You're walking past a pet store or decide on a whim on a Saturday afternoon while you're out and about to pop in and just look at the kittens or puppies on display over the weekend.
That window shopping can quickly transform into becoming a pet owner relatively quickly once you see that adorable, cuddly puppy or soft and sweet kitty begging you to take them home. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, as long as you know you're prepared for what lies ahead from a cost perspective.
Beyond just the food and treats, dogs and cats need regular check ups at the vet, and what about if something unexpected happens? Some adept pet owners aren't above paying for insurance for their dogs or cats, which is yet another cost you have to consider. If insurance for your pets isn't something you're contemplating, you had better have at least a few bucks stashed around the house in case your cat comes down with worms or your dog decides he wants to roll around in a tic infested field.
A vet bill can be in the hundreds of dollars, and that figure could easily reach well into the thousands during the life span of the average dog or cat. Cats particularly paw at your wallet given that some can live for 15 or 20 years. After two decades, your cat could cost you in upward of $5,000 just on trips to the vet alone.
One thing pet owners rarely consider is their time, and what that is worth to them, especially in the case of dogs. Cats are pretty self sufficient, but dogs require walks periodically throughout the day and a bath from time to time. If you're a 12 hour per day person, you may want to rethink man's best friend for fear that you simply won't have the time to take of them correctly.
If you value your time and don't have enough of it to take care of your own needs, why would a dog honestly be a good decision?
Buying a dog or cat certainly sounds endearing, heartfelt and rewarding in theory, and most of the time that sentiment rings true. But assuming that a pet is an all reward and no risk proposition is thinking that belongs in the dog house.

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