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Can You Really Afford that Pet Can You Really Afford that Pet
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Can You Really Afford that Pet?

LearnVest •  September 18, 2015 | Home and Family

They’re our four legged-friends, our furry family members and our instant mood-boosters after a particularly stressful day.

We love our pets—so much that a recent COUNTRY Financial Security Index found that 78% of Americans consider their cat or dog to be another member of the family.

And they can be pretty expensive family members, at that.

According to the survey, nearly one in three pet owners said that their pet care expenses tallied to more than $1,000 over the past year—and another 10% responded that they had shelled out more than $2,000.

Those are some pretty pampered paws.

Unfortunately, a good chunk of pet parents (43%) admitted that the costs for taking care of their cat or dog were more than they anticipated. To make up for the steep prices, 37% of Americans would dip into savings, 33% would cut back on daily expenses, and 30% would use credit cards to foot Fido’s bill.

But these surprise costs can cause some major strains in your household budget.

“If you are looking to bring a pet into your household, planning should be a top priority,” said Joe Buhrmann, director of financial security for COUNTRY Financial, in a release. “Knowing the costs associated with your pet and being prepared for unexpected and emergency costs will help diminish the financial burden of your new furry friend.”

Owners can help avoid future financial mishap by doing their homework before bringing home a new cat or dog.

If you are planning on getting a specific breed, research the dog or cat’s known health issues, professional grooming needs, volume of food they consume and other costs that are likely to crop up. Then factor those potential bills into your monthly budget. Also, make sure you have emergency savings for unexpected pet medical bills.

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LearnVest, Inc. is owned by NM Planning, LLC, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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