Keep Pet Costs on a Tight Leash - NBC Chicago

Keep Pet Costs on a Tight Leash



    Warning: Man?s best friend could cost you a fortune. Pet owners are on track to spend $47.7 billion dollars on petcare this year. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011)

    Warning: Man’s best friend could cost you a fortune.

    Pet owners are on track to spend $47.7 billion dollars on pet care this year.  And while the amount of money spent on many four-legged family members has nearly doubled in the last decade, there are ways to keep costs on a tight leash.

    First, keep in mind that an ounce of prevention goes a long way to preventing costs down the road.

    "Don’t skimp on vet visits, preventive medicine or food quality," reminds Dr. Robyn Barbiers, the president of the Anti-Cruelty Society.

    Ignore that advice you could find yourself ultimately spending a lot more at the vet hospital for illnesses or stomach issues.

    However, Barbiers says cat owners might be able to be a little more lax and spread out yearly vaccinations, as cats will not be out roaming around and getting sick.

    "Work with your veterinarian and be up front and tell them your financial situation and then they can come up with a plan," said Barbiers.
    Pet insurance can help mitigate some costs, but Barbiers offers a warning.

    "You need to do your homework and read the fine print," she said.

    Some policies only cover wellness, others just emergencies. Other pet owners get stuck because they don’t realize that certain breeds are not insurable for certain health issues.

    Basic plans can cost $19 per month for dogs and $15 for cats.  A good resource to compare is  For meds, can help compare costs.

    And if you really can’t afford your pet anymore, there are resources for veterinary treatment if you qualify.  They include and a feline emergency assistance program,

    Most rescue shelters also have discounted spay and neutering programs.

    And finally, and it might sound silly, but keep in mind that a lot of toys are designed for owners, not animals. 

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