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Managing Pet Care

Posted by Jill Boynton  July 24, 2009 10:25 AM

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If you are a dog owner, you feel the responsibility of caring for your pet as much as you do any other member of your family. In fact, as a society we spend quite a bit of money on our dogs.

The ASPCA estimates the average expenses in the first year of dog ownership at $1,260. This includes buying supplies, getting licenses, vet bills, spaying and neutering and pet health insurance (deduct about $200 if you don’t plan on buying insurance.) Business Week reports that Americans spend $41B dollars per year on pets! Many Americans consider their dog to be a treasured member of the family. Pets are often the last one to feel a recession; we might give up our latte’s before we stop buying Fluffy her favorite dog treat. In fact, in spite of the recession doggy day care businesses are busier than ever.

However many people are on tight budgets these days and are wondering how to maintain care for their pet. It’s most important to keep your dog healthy. This is not an area where you want to skimp. Annual check ups and shots will save a lot of money in the long run as your pet ages. Also keep him or her at a proper weight. Not only will this save on the cost of dog food but it will keep your pet healthier.

If your dog becomes ill however, medical bills can build up fast. Advancements in medical care are great in that our pets are living longer and healthier lives, but veterinary medical costs have been rising quickly - some reports indicate more quickly than human health care costs. The Humane Society of America recommends setting aside money for vet bills that are likely to come up for aging and ailing pets. You may also want to consider purchasing pet insurance. These plans pay for illnesses and injuries, (but often not for check ups and other annual maintenance). Look for a plan that covers hereditary conditions. Pet insurance is least expensive if a policy is taken out when the dog is a puppy.

Click here for advice from The Humane Society of America on what to do if you are having difficulty paying for veterinary care.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

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D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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