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On a variety of levels, having an emotional support pet is comforting and helpful for those who need them. However, the companionship an emotional support pet provides isn’t a one-way street. Love and happiness come at a price which can be difficult to afford on a budget.
Difficult — but not impossible. With a well-thought-out plan in place, you can give your emotional support pet the best life possible while still living on a budget. By seeing your pet’s companionship as an investment and taking steps to save money when possible, you can support your support pet as much as it supports you.
Your Pet’s Companionship is an Investment
To ensure pet ownership success, it’s vital that you are both mentally and financially prepared to own a pet. A big part of this preparation is shifting your mindset to see your pet’s companionship as an investment. Think about the money you spend caring for your emotional support pet as an investment in your own mental health.
From providing proper nutrition to scheduling regular vet visits, caring for your pet will help keep your mental health intact. Knowing that a living creature is relying on you gives you a better sense of purpose. While it can undoubtedly be expensive at times, caring for a pet is one of the most fulfilling experiences a person can have.
The money you spend on ensuring your pet’s life is happy and healthy will also make you healthier and happier. On the flip side, failing to budget properly for pet-related expenses could negatively impact your mental health.
Ways to Budget with Your Pets Well-Being in Mind
In order to properly provide for your pet, you must organize your finances and create a monthly budget. Fortunately, thanks to data from the ASPCA, it’s easy to plan for average, annual pet costs. Exact costs will depend on the type of emotional support pet you have as well as the size of the animal.
With that information in mind, you should make a budget that includes the following annual expenses: food, vet care, heartworm prevention, flea/tick prevention, toys and treats, health insurance, and license. Other costs to consider are dog walking and grooming. Also keep in mind that as your pet ages, the cost of vet care could increase significantly if any medical conditions arise.
If you are living on minimum wage, making a budget can be difficult. It’s essential that you avoid overspending and save money whenever possible. The path to pet ownership on a budget isn’t always obvious.
For example, buying pet food in bulk is a good way to save money, but avoid purchasing based solely on price. Rather, opt for a quality brand with better ingredients. It might cost more upfront, but in the long run, you will save money on vet bills. Furthermore, it’s possible your pet can eat less while still having their nutritional needs met. Other investments that you should budget for because they will end up saving you money include training, preventative veterinary care, pet insurance, and toys. The toys will keep your dog or cat from engaging in destructive behavior.
Save Money & Support Your Pet Like It Supports You
While it’s imperative that you are financially prepared to invest as a pet owner, there are ways you can save money while still supporting your dog or cat. To start, be sure to adopt your pet from a reputable shelter. Some even offer low-cost or free spaying and neutering services. If you decide to get your dog or cat from a breeder, investigate their reputation to check if they have a history of healthy animals.
Pet-proofing your home is an easy way to save money and support your pet. Here are a few precautions you can take to make your house safe for your pet companion:
- Place chemicals and cleaners out of reach
- Move poisonous houseplants
- Secure electrical and phone wires
- Cover heating/air vents
As you’re pet-proofing your home, follow simple energy efficiency tips such as sealing cracks and changing light bulbs to help save on your utility bills. Put the money you save in a pet emergency fund for any unexpected costs that arise. You can also save money by learning how to do basic pet grooming tasks yourself. Self-service locations are a budget-friendly option for bathing your pet.
Similarly, instead of spending money on a pet sitting service, pay a friend to stay at your home while you’re away. When you’re out of town, it’s important that your pet still gets plenty of exercise. The friend you hire should be comfortable playing and exercising with your dog outdoors.
With these tips for saving money and ideas for how to make a budget, you now know how to provide a quality life for your emotional support pet without breaking the bank.