4 Ways To Financially Prepare For Sick Pets & Vet Bills
You might not be able to predict when things might go wrong with the health of your pet, but you can plan for when they do. Here are 4 ways to prepare financially for when something goes wrong and how to protect your bank account from costly vet bills.
When bringing home your pet for the first time, they are likely to be healthy and happy (and a little bit nervous seeing as this is their first introduction to their new home). Thinking about your pet’s risk of illness or injury isn’t something that is top of mind, let alone an issue you want to worry about. The problem is that many pet owners do not plan for the unexpected.
Responsible pet ownership comes with vet bills, there’s no way around that fact. From vaccinations, tick and flea control, check-ups and dental care, it can all cost a pretty penny. And then there are the costs associated with illness and accidents. These bills can start from a few thousand rands and quickly skyrockets in tens of thousands to try and save your pet’s life.
If you are able to better prepare yourself for these surprise costs, then you will be in a better position to provide your pet with the best possible care without having to worry about your bank account.
Here are some helpful tips to plan for the unpredictable:
1. Think about what kind of pet you want to adopt
Before you decide to bring home a new pet, you might want to give some thought into what kind of pet you want to adopt? For instance, cats typically have lower health risks compared to dogs and because of this, if you are wanting to get pet insurance, they cost less to insure.
Have a look at this blog on Oneplan Pet Insurance for cats and why this insurer charges their clients less to insure the health of cats.
Dogs, on the other hand, tend to get into tricky situations. They might escape your yard and get hit by a car or hurt themselves while playing at the park.
Puppies and kittens will require more vet visits and bills during their first few months of life as sterilisations and vaccinations will need to be conducted. Younger pets have weaker immune systems and are also prone to infections and illness.
Then there are the health risks that are associated with certain breeds of pets. Dogs such as pugs and other short-nosed breeds have a high risk of developing breathing problems which require expensive surgery to correct. Chat with your local vet about what breeds have fewer health risks, or better yet, check out the pets available for adoption at a shelter near you.
2. Create a budget
Take a look at this article to get an idea of the basics of the costs associated with pet ownership in South Africa.
The same way that you would create a budget for your household costs and monthly expenses, you need to consider creating one for your pet care costs.
For example, once-off costs might include adoption fees, initial vet check-up, litter box, bedding, microchipping and spaying/neutering.
Then there are the ongoing costs such as food, vet visits and check-ups (these are typically once a year or once every 6 months for adult pets without any health concerns), grooming, preventive care, medical issues and vaccinations.
Other costs include pet insurance, travel costs, pet sitter fees, backup savings for emergencies (if you decide against pet insurance, which is not advised) and other costs such as toys and additional extra spoils.
It’s important that you understand exactly what your pet will cost to give you a good understanding of what to expect.
3. Purchase a pet insurance plan
The moment you pet steps foot into your home, you need to sign up for a pet insurance plan.
Pet insurance is the most cost-effective way to prepare for both expected (vet visits and routine care) and unexpected (illness, accidents and emergencies) vet bills.
There are a number of choices available to you when it comes to choosing a plan. Some include cover for day-to-day care costs and others are more focused on fees associated with emergency pet healthcare.
My advice would be to find a pet healthcare plan that includes cover for the day-to-day care costs and accidents and illness.
4. Set up a pet savings plan
Some pet parents choose this option instead of purchasing a pet insurance plan. However, given the cover benefits of your chosen pet insurance plan. Oneplan Pet Insurance, for example, has an overall annual limit of R45 000 for a pet insurance plan that only costs R155 a month for a dog. It’s highly unlikely that you will be able to save up that much money in a year, let alone a few months should something have to go wrong in the near future.
This might help set the record straight: Why Do I Need Pet Insurance? Is It Not Better To Save Monthly Premiums & Use These Savings To Pay For Vet Bills?
Until next time,
The Pet Insurance Team