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Wealth Weekly: Furry finances -- Affording a pet

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 11:17 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Dakota: We are joined again by Private Wealth Advisor Will Rogers to talk about owning a pet – the costs and other impacts if you’re thinking of bringing a new pet into your home. Will, pet ownership is going up. What’s driving that?

Will: You’re right, dog parks and cat cafes are likely to welcome many new furry friends in the coming months. As a way to combat loneliness and make the most of their additional time at home, many Americans have found this to be the opportune time to purchase or adopt a new companion.

Dakota: So to start with there’s the decision of buying or adopting – right?.

Will: Yes you will have to decide whether to adopt a pet from an animal shelter, which is often less expensive, or buy from a licensed breeder or pet shop. Keep in mind that shelters frequently spay or neuter animals prior to adoption, which eliminates a cost that can be upwards of several hundred dollars. To help reduce medical bills later on, you may want to choose a breed that is less prone to health or genetic problems. At a minimum, be sure to carefully research your options so you can make informed decisions.

Dakota. What about ongoing costs?

Will: Providing a comfortable lifestyle is a top priority for any animal owner. When thinking about your pet’s new environment, be sure to address any potential safety hazards. Preventing accidents may lessen unforeseen costs down the road, and more importantly, keep your pet out of harm’s way. At a minimum you should plan on food, toys, regular vet bills and more. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2018 alone Americans spent over $72 billion on TOYS alone for their pets.

Dakota. What about impacts to your home?

Will: If you are a renter, check with your landlord to see if you’ll need to pay more to have a pet. Homeowners should make sure they are compliant with city ordinances as some require fences for certain animals. You also simply need to be ready for your pet to do some damage to your furniture and home.

Dakota. What other expenses?

Will:

You’ll also want to consider whether a caretaker is needed for your pet during your workday. If you travel frequently or plan to in the future, you should be aware of the expenses associated with bringing your pet on vacation or having someone care for it while you’re gone. We are able to bring Baxter - our Maltese – on airplanes, but Airline tickets and the price of a hotel or rental property will likely be higher if your pet is along for the trip. Moose, our English Springer Spaniel is too big to fly so whenever we fly somewhere we need to arrange for a dog sitter to take care of him.

Dakota. What about preparing for emergencies?

Will: 7 years ago Moose fell off of the front of our boat and got hit by the prop, shattering his jaw. Fortunately my wife is a paramedic and we drove Moose in the “Vambulance” first to the local vet where he was stabilized, but then for another 2 hours to an animal hospital that had the ability to treat him. He stayed there for several days, and when he came home he could only have liquid food for 6 months and had to wear a cone for those 6 months as well. It costs us several thousand dollars in medical bills AND a massive change to our daily lives so we could take care of him while he recovered.

Dakota. So how do you plan for something like that?

Will: Be sure to have money set aside for these instances or think about purchasing pet insurance to help offset the potential financial burden. Finally, consider who will look after your pet if you become unable to care for it. Some owners decide to incorporate pets into their wills.

Dakota. Good advice - For more information, check out Will’s website at www.WRogers.info

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