Budgeting for pets: How to prepare for ongoing and unexpected expenses

Sixty-seven percent of U.S. households own a pet, or about 85 million families, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA). This number is poised to increase because many households have added pets during the pandemic, helping aid in the physical and emotional well-being of families nationwide.

Caring for a pet requires time, love and a financial commitment. The problem is COVID-19 has also brought economic stress and financial uncertainty to many people, which may impact how they care for their pets. Fortunately, there are ways to be financially prepared to care for your pet’s needs, both planned and unexpected.

“A proactive approach helps you plan for your pet’s care as well as how to pay for it, from veterinary to nutrition and beyond,” says Boo Larsen, general manager, veterinary medicine for CareCredit. “While the cost of caring for a pet can add up to hundreds or thousands, there are many simple, budget-friendly options that help families manage the cost.”

Larsen shares tips for planning financially for pets:

Nutrition and supplies

Seek advice from your veterinarian on the pet nutrition that would be best for your pet. Obesity in pets is a growing concern and proper feeding can keep your pet at an ideal weight that supports overall health. Ask if store-brand and generic supplies may be a good option, as these come at a fraction of the cost of name brands. Additionally, consider monthly subscriptions with home delivery or curbside pickup that are convenient plus may provide discounts that can help you save.

Planned and unexpected veterinary care

A relationship with a veterinarian is essential to your pet’s health through every stage of life. There are simple, budget-friendly solutions families can use to build a financial safety net for both routine planned care as well as unexpected illness or injury:

Financing: CareCredit helps alleviate financial stress before an urgent pet issue. Research shows four out of five pets will experience a medical emergency in their lifetime. CareCredit is accepted at more than 85% of eligible veterinary care providers across the nation, and can be paid off fully or in monthly installments.

Pet insurance: A provider like Pets Best can help cover ongoing expenses like vet appointments, diagnostics, medications, dental treatments and more. You choose an insurance plan, pay a monthly premium and get reimbursed for covered veterinary expenses.

Wellness plans: Many veterinarians offer wellness plans that cover certain types of care for a monthly fee. Ask your veterinarian about suggestions for your pet’s unique needs and available options that fit within your budget.

Physical and mental care

Many pets require grooming, boarding, training and day care to stay physically and mentally well. If your pet has these needs, ask your friends with pets who they recommend and look at reviews of local service providers online. Many offer packages to help make care accessible. You can also shop around to try to stay within a certain price point.

“Pets provide a lifetime of love and they look to us to provide a lifetime of care,” says Larsen. “These simple steps will help you save money while providing your pet with everything they need.”

Pet insurance is administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC and is underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company, a New York insurance company. Please visit www.americanpetinsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance products. Pets Best is a CareCredit Solution.

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