by Andrew Petty

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.

While many people have experience with pet ownership, it’s easy for even a seasoned animal caregiver to overlook the costs involved. Although owning a pet likely won’t derail your financial future, it’s important to consider how the expenses can add up now and down the line. Here are a few financial aspects to consider if you’re thinking about getting, or have already gotten, a new furry friend to help you budget accordingly.

Decide to buy or adopt

First, 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.

Consider ongoing costs

When it comes to the recurring costs of owning a pet, expect to budget for food, treats, toys, training, day care or a dog walker. In addition, pet owners are encouraged by veterinarians to invest regularly in heartworm, flea and tick prevention. Some animals may also have food sensitivities or medical conditions that require special diets and medicine – both of which can be pricey.

Think about lifestyle

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. 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’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. Airline tickets and the price of a hotel or rental property will likely be higher if your pet is along for the trip.

Prepare for emergencies

Even with a tremendous amount of planning, accidents can happen. In an emergency, pets may need medical attention and costs can accumulate quickly. 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.

Pets can be one of life’s greatest sources of companionship and joy. While it may not be possible to put a price tag on the bond shared between owners and their animals, it’s important consider the financial aspects of pet ownership. Doing so will help you avoid surprises down the road and ensure you’re able to provide a happy and healthy life for you and your pet.

Andrew R. Petty, CRPC®, APMA®, CLTC®, is a Private Wealth Advisor with Nona Wealth Advisors, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. He offers fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 16 years. To contact him, please call 407-249-4006, visit his website at or stopover at his office at 10917 Dylan Loren Circle, Suite A, Orlando, FL 32825.

Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC., a registered investment adviser.

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