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Pet Owners' Spending Doubles Over The Past Decade

Annual spending on pets by U.S. owners is expected to hit $52 billion per year in the next two years

According to recent studies by a British insurance company and the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the average U.K. dog owner typically spends as much as $35,000 over the lifetime of their pet -  a typical British cat owner spends about a third of that amount. All told, pet owners in the United Kingdom spend approximately $68 million on their pets annually – which pales in comparison to the estimated $41 Billion spent on pets by American owners!

Although some pet owners spend lavishly on their furry friends – just go to any pet store or search on line and your will find items such as $430 indoor dog-potties, $30-an-ounce perfume, and $225 trench coats aimed solely at four-footed feline and canine consumers. My personal favorite are “neuticles,” a patented prosthetic implant that is designed, says inventor Gregg Miller, to "let people restore their pets to anatomical preciseness" after neutering, “allowing them to retain their natural look and self-esteem.” They are a bargain at $919 a pair (not counting the cost of the surgery to attach them to your pet).

For those pet owners looking for ways to economize on the impact their pets have on their budget, here are some ways to save money.

  • Adopting a rescue animal can be a win-win deal. Not only will you be taking in an animal that needs a home and may face euthanasia, you will usually pay less for your new pet than if you go to a pet shop or a breeder. The rescue agency may have already spayed or neutered the animal, and some will even arrange subsidized vaccinations and neutering before you pick up your new best friend.
  • Pet insurance can be important to your pet's health. Shop around for the right policy and deductible. Insurance policies, premiums, deductibles and coverages are as varied as those for humans. Premiums are based on the type of pet you have, its age, where you live and other factors that will determine how likely it is to get lost or fall ill. As with other types of insurance, you can lower your premiums by taking on a higher deductible.
  • Choosing a mutt – instead of a purebred animal can cost you much less cash. Research suggests that purebred dogs for example, can cost as much as 34 more to care for over their lifetimes than do animals of mixed breed.
  • Visit your veterinarian when necessary. You probably don't take your child to the vet at the first sign of a cold, so why would you do so for your dog or cat? Don't skip on preventative shots – they can help your pet avoid costly illnesses.
  • Spend less on medication. Check out web sites like www.petmeds.com for cheaper alternatives for medications sold by the vet and at traditional pet stores.
  • Check out neutering programs run by your county animal control agency, the ASPCA or other animal-friendly organizations. Depending on your income level, you may be able to get financial assistance or even take advantage of free programs.
  • Buy your pet food in bulk. Generally speaking, the bigger the package of food you can buy the cheaper it will be.
Published Apr 29 2010, 02:17 AM by moneycoach
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