Why You Should Set Up An Emergency Fund for Your Dogs in 2018
By Patty Moore, a newer blogger @WorkMomLife and http://workingmotherlife.com
Dogs are not only wonderful creatures; they are also good for your health. Numerous medical studies from around the world have revealed that dog owners benefit from reduced blood pressure, better weight maintenance, improved cardiovascular fitness, less stress, less depression and superior self-esteem, all of which leads to longer life spans. It’s no wonder dog owners are quick to return the favor by being every so vigilant about keeping their canine family members healthy. However, regardless of how prepared dog owners think they are to take care of Fido, they probably haven’t planned for the possibility of an emergency trip to the vet. As with any of life’s contingencies, it is important to have a financial plan in place.
What a Pet Emergency Could Cost You
Most dog owners are aware of the typical costs of caring for a dog and many can handle the cost of routine health care, such as vet exams, worming, flea prevention, teeth cleaning and vaccinations, which might amount to several hundred dollars a year. They plan for it and include it in their budgets. But, until it actually happens, few dog owners are aware of the cost of emergency pet care, which can set them back thousands of dollars. One of the more common emergency treatments is gastrointestinal foreign body surgery for when a dog swallows and diaper or a corn cob. That can cost upwards of $3,500. Worse, if your dog swallows a toxin, like poisonous mushrooms, the treatment could cost nearly $7,000. How about heatstroke, which happens frequently in certain parts of the country? Heatstroke treatment can run over $4,000. If your dog is suffering from chronic vomiting and diarrhea, it could have pancreatitis -- $3,000.
You get the point. All it takes is one unexpected injury or illness and it can throw off your financial ecosystem, requiring you to take money from savings or going into debt. You could be one of the lucky dog owners who never experience it; but, most aren’t so lucky. On the other hand, you could be financially prepared so all you have to worry about is your dog getting better.
Setting up an Emergency Fund for Your Dog
One of the fundamental personal finance principles is to plan for the unexpected. That’s why every financial planner will tell you to set up an emergency fund before you do anything else with your money. You put a few hundred dollars in a savings account until you have enough money to cover a year’s worth of living expenses for you and your family. While you might consider your dog apart of your family, the expenses involved in a health care emergency aren’t normally included in your living expenses. You need to keep your emergency fund intact and start one for your dog. It will be a lot cheaper than having to pay off a high interest credit card balance. If your monthly budget for dog care is $100 (including food, supplies, grooming, etc.), try doubling it and set aside $100 in a separate savings account. Within a
couple of years you could have nearly $2,500, which is probably enough to cover many medical emergencies.
Or You Could Get Pet Insurance
An increasing number of dog owners are turning to pet insurance to cover possible vet expenses. Pet insurance is designed to cover the cost of treatments for most injuries and illnesses, including surgeries, hospitalization and emergency treatments. Just like your own health insurance, there are exclusions with pet insurance so you need to be aware of what is covered and what isn’t covered with any particular policy. For instance, with many policies, pre-existing conditions are covered unless it has been completely cured.
Most standard policies don’t cover wellness or routine vet visits either. You can, however, you can buy policies that include it, but you’ll pay a higher premium. Most dog owners opt for basic illness and accident coverage to keep their premiums low and then pay for wellness visits out of pocket. The average monthly premium paid by dog owners was $43 in 2016 with policies starting as low as $10. But some policies can run as high as $100 a month depending on where you live, the type of coverage, and the breed and age of your dog. A policy for a three-year old mixed-breed dog might cost $27 a month, while the same policy for a pure bred, black Labrador might cost $49 a month.
Which Way Should You Go – Emergency Fund or Pet Insurance?
There is no right or wrong way to go for dog owners. A lot depends on your financial circumstance and the type of dog you have. The biggest risk you have when using an emergency fund is your dog gets sick or injured before you have had a chance to save up sufficient funds. The biggest risk you have with pet insurance is you end up paying more in premiums over the years than you actually need from the insurance. For many pet owners, the thought of never having to use their pet insurance is okay with them, just as they’re okay if they never have to use their auto insurance. For them, it is all about peace-of-mind, which is the main reason to own insurance of any kind.
Visit Patty's blog: http://workingmotherlife.com