Bringing home a new pet? 5 important steps


Adding a new member to the family is always a cause for celebration and planning.

Key points

  • Setting aside money for emergency pet expenses is a good thing before getting a new pet.
  • Set up a pet insurance policy as soon as you know the specifics of your new pet (species, breed, age).
  • Find a good vet (or let your current vet know about the new addition) and make sure your home is pet-proof.

If you have space in your heart and space in your home, you may be looking to fill it with a new pet. Pets come in all shapes, sizes, and species, from your ordinary cat or dog to exotic pets like tropical birds, saltwater fish, and scaly reptiles. Each of these animals has different requirements, and it will be up to you to fulfill them. The steps you take before your new pet comes home can help ensure their health and happiness, as well as keep your finances in good shape.

Yes, like so many other aspects of life, money also plays an important role in the success of owning a pet. You want to be able to give your beloved pet the best possible life while they are with you. According to PetMD, the average lifespan of a cat is 13 to 17 years and the average lifespan of a dog is 10 to 13 years. There are a lot of variables that go into these numbers; for example, a small dog will generally live longer than a large one, and an indoor cat will generally live longer than one that roams outdoors.

A Synchrony study found that the cost of care over a lifetime of 15 years for a dog ranges from $19,893 to $55,132, and for a cat, those same 15 years will cost $15,055 to $45,790.

Give your pet the best chance for a long, healthy life by taking the following steps before it arrives.

1. Save an emergency fund

Many people acquire a new pet on the spur of the moment (myself included; pro tip, if someone offers to let you hold a kitten, you can decline the offer if you don’t want to be tempted. ). This is actually not ideal, as you may not have had a chance to save up a solid emergency fund beforehand (or plan to spend some of your existing emergency fund on pet expenses. of company). Why do you need cash savings for a new pet?

Expenses can crop up out of the blue at any time, under any circumstances, and the last thing you want when buying a new pet is to go into debt due to a medical emergency or other significant cost. that you weren’t. waiting.

I last added a new pet to my household in 2021, when I adopted a kitten from an animal shelter. Everything was fine for him for the first few days, but then he got sick. Seymour needed a trip to an emergency vet clinic and expensive medication for a few weeks, and since I had no emergency funds at the time, I had to rely on my credit card. to cover the costs.

Pet insurance could have covered some of the costs for me (more on that below), but since it usually works on a reimbursement model, I would have had to pay for Seymour’s care up front and wait to be reimbursed. Do yourself (and your new pet) a favor and make sure you have some cash savings in a good high-yield savings account.


2. Get a pet insurance policy

If you’ve decided to get a new pet, find out about a pet insurance policy. If you adopt a dog or a cat, you will have the choice between several different insurers. For exotic pets, your choices will be more limited, but it’s still worth getting a policy. As noted by the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, many people are unprepared for the costs of exotic pets (including vet bills), and you can probably save money on veterinary care. with a pet insurance policy.

Research the best pet insurance companies and plug in your new pet’s data to get quotes. Typically, you’ll need the species, breed, and age, so you’ll probably want to wait until you know for sure what pet you’re going to get! It’s a good idea to shop around for coverage, as costs vary. You should also consider adding preventive care coverage to your policy; it costs more, but can help cover the cost of routine vet visits and health procedures your pet needs.

3. Find a good vet

Along with getting a pet insurance policy, you will also need the proper medical care for your new pet. If you already have pets at home, you probably have an existing relationship with a veterinarian. Call their office to let them know you have a new pet. Go ahead and see if you can arrange a quick check-up appointment to start a case on the new addition and make sure their health is in good shape from the start.

4. Protect your home against animals

Again, if you already have pets, chances are your home will be set up for their comfort and safety, but if you’re going from just adult pets to adding a puppy or kitten, you will definitely want to spend a little. pet proof time.

I already had two adult cats when I adopted Seymour, and although I did my best to make sure he didn’t have access to anything dangerous (like cleaning supplies or electrical cords) , kittens are cunning. Seymour turned out to be a jumper, which meant I also had to protect shelves and tables from kittens. It’s a good idea to watch your new pet carefully when you bring him home, and be prepared to do even more cleaning and organizing once you find out what kind of trouble he likes to get into!

5. Source your supplies

Pets cost money, every day and in many ways. And they need so many things, like a continuous supply of nutritious food, toys, and other gear. Before bringing Seymour home, I bought another litter box, more food and water dishes, extra toys, a new cat bed and a supply of kitten food because he was too young to eat the adult food that my other two cats ate.

You can also compare pet supplies, and it’s a great way to save money. Check prices at pet stores in your area (odds bet you have a big box pet store or two near you), as well as online retailers like Chewy and Amazon. Getting pet supplies delivered is extremely convenient, and even if you don’t pay less in dollars, saving time can also save you money.

I’m self-employed, and the less time I spend commuting to the store, shopping, and then hauling heavy bags of cat food and litter to my apartment, the better for my bottom line. You can also consider setting up regular deliveries of pet food and other supplies that you use often, once you’ve figured out how often you buy them. Buying in bulk can sometimes also save you money.

It’s wonderful to give a pet a new forever home, and to get to know and love it as it settles in. Follow the steps above before bringing your pet home and give them the best chance to live a happy life with you.

Leave a Reply