Pet Owners In Denial On the High Cost of Ownership

The economy has directly hit millions of families across America, two-legged and four-legged members of the family.

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On November 26, 2010, the New York Times writes about pet owners who can't afford routine medical fees and other costs such as boarding, grooming and food for pets

The story asserts that problem is that the general information out there is not realistic.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates
the cost for a large dog at $875 a year for food, medical expenses, toys
and a few related expenses, and $560 for first-year setup costs. The
estimate for a cat is $670 a year, with first-year expenses of $365.

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The story's author Paul Sullivan said that this
month alone, the cost of keeping one Labrador Retriever was $600, paying for treatment for a
bladder infection, and another $300 on the other dog
for an injured paw. This did not include the food for the two of them
and does not include the family's Maine Coon cat, nor their monthly flea/tick and heartworm preventatives which add up to significant costs..

Sullivan says that pet owners don't admit to costs and apparently are in denial. That may or may not be true - what do you think?

Listen, there's no question the economy has 'hurt' pets. People are foreclosed upon with nowhere to go - and we've all read the horror stories of pets being left behind in foreclosed buildings to starve to death.

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No question, the economy has hit pets like everyone else, in some cases more....some shelters which have vacancies haven't been over-crowded in years are now struggling about what to do with pets given up because owners can no longer afford to keep them. Interestingly, other shelters have barely felt the pinch.

Relatively lucky ones are just let loose to fend for themselves, or given up to shelters. 

I don't know what it feels like to be foreclosed on...but the last thing you want to do when there are kids around is to "lose the pets" because the pets may be the only stability they have. What's more, the lesson you're offering is that when times are tough, well tough luck for the pets.

We are on the edge of something big...(continue reading)

We know pets are good for us, for our mental health, and if we
exercise with dogs for our physical health benefit.

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Soon, scientists
will have more answers. For example, how pets are able to be good for
us. I mean an explanation of the  exact mechanism that allows our blood
pressure to drop when we just pet a dog or a cat. It's possible that as
a result of the economy  pet spending and even pet ownership have hit
their glass ceilings, and could even decline. But soon, the idea of
having pets will change. After all, if people with pets are overall
healthier - government will want to have us all get pets (better for
them than paying medical bills). I envision a day when prescribing a pet
won't be a wacky exceptional idea, but instead very common.

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As far as those costs go, you could set up a slush fund emergency
account for your pets' care. But most of us don't have that sort of
discipline, or even enough cash to do it. For many, pet insurance is a
superb option. Yes, you'll pay our a month cost - but if something very
bad happens, and the cost of medical care for a pet hit by a car or
cancer treatment may be - say, $5,000. Well, with pet insurance, you
provider will pay around half or more than half.

As for the
costs of grooming...depending on the dog, you can learn to groom
yourself. So, it won't be show cut, does it really matter? As for food, use coupons - most
companies offer them, or find a less expensive food. You can really do
toys on the cheap, troll the tennis courts for used balls when they
close, and for cats a bottle toy or empty box will due fine. And many
communities do offer low cost veterinary care. Still the reality is that
pets do cost something, and if you are unable or unwilling to pay for
anything....then maybe, it is true, and a pet isn't for you.

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