When it comes to responsibility, most people feel that pets fall somewhere between plants and children (even though children will eventually grow up and hopefully learn to care for themselves). In truth, your pets are dependent upon you for everything from food to exercise to attention. Ultimately it falls to you to feed them and ensure they get proper nutrition, to take them on walks and play with them so they stay fit and healthy, to provide them with the love and companionship they need to be happy, and to take them to the vet regularly for check-ups, as well as when they experience any pain or problems. In short, the little critters you invite into your life need you in order to survive, and by taking on the role of a pet owner, you agree to do so for the duration.
Unfortunately, many pet owners are not prepared for unexpected illnesses or accidents that can strike at any time. Whether your dog gets into a box of chocolates and needs his stomach pumped, your cat falls from a high perch and requires a splint, or your pet comes down with some kind of illness (cancer is not only more prevalent in people these days, but in animals, as well) you need to be prepared to care for them (and their medical bills) should the unthinkable occur. But unless you have pet insurance or a personal savings in place, you may be facing one of two undesirable outcomes; you’ll either have to take on debt to keep your best friend alive, or consign him to early expiration through euthanasia.
But it doesn’t have to turn out this way. By creating a pet fund to cover these potential problems with your pet’s health, you can put yourself in a place of financial preparedness that will pay off big should an accident, injury, or illness occur. This is a good idea even if you have pet insurance (which may not cover everything). You can set it up just like any other type of savings, by opening an account. Start by putting away whatever your budget will allow (even if it’s only ten or twenty dollars a week) until you’ve built up several thousand dollars. Of course, it will do no good if you touch it, so consider creating a fund specifically for your pet rather than simply lumping it in with your personal savings account. This way you know there will be dedicated funds available should anything unfortunate befall your animal companion.
At the very least, this fund could provide for a humane death and a nice funeral down the road should your pet maintain good health throughout his life (fingers crossed). And you can always allocate it for your next pet if it remains largely unused. But if something should happen that requires you to make a big payout to the veterinarian or emergency animal hospital, you can breathe a little easier knowing your friend will receive the care he needs and you won’t have to choose between him or financial ruin.
Shirley Simpson writes for Totally Money where you can find information on financial products and browse through life insurance over 50 to find the card that meets your needs.