Pet Peeves and Pluses
Americans are in love with their pets. According to the 2009/2010 National Pet
Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 71.4 millions homes. That means more households have at least one dog, cat, fish, reptile or other companion animal than households without a furry or scaly beast.
Owning an animal is a responsibility that comes with costs and benefits. The recession has been particularly hard on companion animals, and many animal shelters are struggling to handle the influx of abandoned pets. Before you add a pet to your family, think through the pros and cons of pet ownership.
Consider Hard Costs
The cost of caring for a pet adds up. Expect to shell out around $500 or more for routine veterinary care and food for a dog and about $400 for a cat. Pad the bill if you plan to spend on grooming, vitamins, food treats and toys. Accidents and unforeseen medical conditions can create difficulty for families who don’t have the means to pay for unexpected visits to the vet.
There’s Work Involved
Kids may promise all day long that they’ll feed, walk and care for a pet, but if anecdotal evidence is worth anything, good old mom and dad usually end up doing the lion’s share of the work. Are you ready for the added workload?
Pets Want You Home
If you work long hours or like to travel, consider what that means for a home bound pet. Your pet prefers your company, and you could end up stressing your animal and dealing with behavior problems if you can’t spend much time at home.
Are You Allergic?
If you have asthma or allergies, don’t be surprised if you’re stuffy and sneezy all year long after Fluffy or Fido moves in. Granted, you can limit the extent of allergens with diligent cleaning, grooming and keeping your pet out of bedrooms, but that takes effort and money too.
Companionship Can Trump It All
There’s no doubt about it, pets can provide much love and joy when your family is prepared for the responsibility of their care. If you’re ready to assume the cost, inconvenience and dander in your home, then by all means, get a pet. Do your part to reduce homelessness in the pet population and visit your local pet shelter or Humane Society when you’re ready to acquire a pet.
James C. Hanna, CFP®, MBA, Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner. Advisor is licensed/registered to do business with U.S. residents only in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana.
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