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Monday, September 29, 2008

Pet Peeve #1

I'm going to go ahead and get this off my chest as an early post. Please forgive me if I step on anyone's toes, but this is a big pet peeve of mine, and one I deal with almost daily. I never get to say this directly to my clients, so pardon me if I vent a bit.

If you have a pet, set aside the money to take care of it! Pet ownership is NOT a right. If you have a pet, you have a great responsibility to care for it. Yes, this costs money. Sorry, but that's the reality. If you take shortcuts (not getting vaccines, not using heartworm prevention, etc.), you are putting your pet's health at risk, and will possibly face some very expensive treatments. As a responsible pet owner, you need to set aside several hundred dollars per year for veterinary care, good quality food, and preventative medicines (flea and heartworm prevention). I also recommend to set up a separate fund of about $500 just for any emergencies.

Let me give you a couple of examples. Virtually every day I have a client come in just for a rabies vaccine. They do that because it's required by law, and grooming facilities require at least this one vaccine. Depending on your location, it's only about $10-20. However, the client will decline any other vaccines (for diseases that are MUCH more common than rabies), and will decline heartworm prevention. The excuse is usually that they don't have the money for it. Yet within a couple of days, they'll go to a groomer and spend $30-60 to have their dog bathed and trimmed.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe in proper hygine and care of pets, and think groomers overall do a great job. But if it's a choice between spending $40 to prevent a fatal disease and spending $40 to get rid of mats, which is the best choice for the pet?

Priorities, people!

Example #2. I'll often see a pet for an injury that may require radiographs (x-rays). That can cost $150-200. Some people have to decline it because they don't have the money. The pet is really the one who ends up suffering. That's why I recommend having a savings account just for situations like this.

So to summarize...If you're going to have a pet, please make the decision to actually take care of it. Work the costs of veterinary care into your budget. Be prepared for emergencies. Listen to your vet's recommendations and actually do them. And if you can't afford all of this, don't have a pet!

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, I'll make sure my next entry is a bit more helpful and upbeat.


  1. Hey Swordy, long time no see.

    And yeah i think this is something that just needs to be hammered home to people. Not sure if its the same in the US but these days in the UK pet Insurance schemes are pretty much indispensable. We just had to find over a £1000 as our 17 year old cat got Cancer and eventually passed away. we are lucky that my wife has awell paid job and we never had trouble paying the vets bills but we'll never have a pet without the insurance again .. just in case.

  2. Hiya, Spikey! Glad to hear from you again!!!

    Pet insurance hasn't made inroads in the US like it has in the UK and Europe. Currently less than 2% of American pets are insured. I wish that number would increase! You well know the benefit of having it.

  3. Hear hear! Completely agree with you. If you cannot financially commit to caring for a pet beyond bringing it home just DON'T.

    Have spent years as a vet assistant and rescue worker. That sweet puppy or kitten you bring home is wonderful and so enriching to have.

    Just please make sure you have the money to truly care for it for the many years you will have her/him.

  4. I am not sure about pet insurance and so far have not taken any policies out on my three dogs. I live in BC Canada.

    The fact that routine shots/exams/neutering/spaying costs are not included do not help.

    We have money in the bank and what may come is afforded easily and without question.

    Is it worth our while to pay insurance? Not sure..

    Reminds us of the extra insurance we took out on my Jeep 5 years ago. Cost us $2000. Did the Jeep need any repairs? Nope. And if it did sure we would have saved paying with cash.

    But really, do wonder if we should insure the little ones who I hope to have with us for some time to come..


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