Dog-gone Poor: The High Costs of Owning a Pet

Your dog is a bigger expense than you might think.In today’s world where middle class American families need both parents working just to make ends meet, why are people spending so much money on their pets? Why has the cost of owning and caring for Fido skyrocketed over the past decade? Why must I choose between Fido getting his shots or saving for my daughter’s college education?

In the past month, I’ve spent over $800 dollars on my dog’s medical needs. This was money spent on vet bills, non-surgical medical procedures, shots, and the necessary prescriptions my vet insists my dog have to stay healthy. In the same month, I spent $40 on my daughter’s medical needs.

Does anyone else think this picture is out of whack?

I’ve owned dogs all my life. I adore my pet. But recently, even I, a dedicated animal lover, have given some thought to finding my dog a new home. Do I want to give him away? No, of course not. But when it comes down to either taking the dog to the vet or buying groceries for the humans in the household, then I choose the humans hands down.

So, while my financial situation recovers from the last visit, I let the flea and tick medicine slide. I skimp on the eye medicine the oldest dog needs. Until, at last, I have to face the music when my aging dog comes down with a medical problem. I no longer have a choice. I have to take him to the vet.

Please understand. I’m not bashing vets. Not at all. My vet loves my dog almost as much as I do. But is it too much to ask that my dog’s eye medication be less expensive than my daughter’s asthma medication? Is it possible for me to go to the vet without getting those “you’re a bad pet owner” looks because I tell them to give my dog only the shots he absolutely must have? I don’t think so.

Sure, there’s pet medical insurance and I’d love to buy it. But if I want to purchase the pet insurance, I’ll have to let the life insurance policy for my husband lapse. Or maybe forget about buying the medical insurance for my family. Do you get my point?

Even getting medication for my pet over the Internet doesn’t help much. According to my vet’s assistant, I’m taking chances with my pet’s well being when I buy heartworm medication from an on-line pet store. Never mind that Grandma gets her meds from Canada. It’s only the top-of-the-line meds for my dog!

Therefore, I’m taking a stand. I’ll continue to care for my dog the best way I can. Trust me, he will not suffer or become ill. But here’s how it’s going to go from now on. I’ll continue to buy his medication when I can afford to do so without making my family sacrifice their needs. Until the cost of vet bills comes down, I don’t have any other choice.

For me, the decision is clear. It’s time to put the dog back in his place at my feet, instead of the other way around. How about you?

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