PetWill Radio

Thursday, September 15, 2011

There's no such thing as a free pet

From time to time (like almost daily, okay, weekly) someone asks me whether I'd be interested in a cat, dog, horse, bird, etc. for "free." Well I'm here to tell you there is no such thing as a free pet. The cost of acquisition may be free but that's where it ends. And now, the ASPCA has published a chart that confirms this point.

So now you may agree, even if you deduct the cost of pet health insurance, in the first year most dogs and cats will cost you more than $1,000. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from the joys of pet ownership - quite the opposite, I'm just suggesting that responsible pet owners understand the costs of pet ownership and they incur these costs willingly and with a commitment for the whole of the pet's lifetime.

If you have multiple pets, obviously the cost goes up accordingly. Understanding the costs of pet ownership is also helpful for planning purposes if you are including your pet as part of your estate plan - perhaps even creating a trust for their benefit.

So next time someone offers you a free pet, consider the costs but also the benefits.

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