For most people, our pets are like family. They often sleep, cuddle, and take family photos with us throughout the year. Pet owners put in a ton of work to care for their furry friends and make sure they are eating healthy food and getting enough exercise to lead happy lives.
However, although many pet owners treat their animal companions like children, they’re often getting by like most Americans: paycheck to paycheck and unprepared for emergencies. But when you’re responsible for another creature, it’s important to prepare for unexpected life events and expenses to ensure that, in a worst-case scenario, you and your pets will come out on top.
Preparing for Emergencies
Preparing for emergencies often takes more forethought than a lot of people are able to dedicate to unforeseeable events, but the more prepared a person is to handle a natural disaster or emergency, the more likely they are to come out of it with the least amount of harm. Although some areas in the U.S. are unlikely to fall victim to natural disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding, volcano eruptions, or tornadoes, fires can often be man-made or caused by lighting, and their aftermath can quickly become disastrous.
In case a large fire or other disaster displaces you and your family, it’s important to have a plan of escape or a method in which you’d handle the emergency. Your family should have an escape route planned that involves gathering your family and pets safely to escape from the home so as to avoid forgetting about any person or pet. Pet taxis should be kept by the doors for easy access, because although kids are capable of following instructions, pets can be less predictable and may simply seek to hide from events, which could be dangerous. Losing pets in a natural disaster could lead them to seek shelter in abandoned structures that may be dangerous on their own, and if they’re lost for too long, they could become sick or injured by the time you find them.
If your pets gets lost, it could also lead them to become injured as part of the disaster, or they could get hit by a car or attacked by a frightened person that finds them dangerous. Approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and in a situation where your dog finds him or herself scared and confused, even the tamest pet could lash out in fear. Therefore, it’s best to simply keep them with you at all times to avoid this situation altogether.
If pet health insurance isn’t something you already have, it’s an investment you should think about making. Veterinarian bills can become costly quickly, especially if your pet is diagnosed with a long-term illness, and for only 10 to 12 dollars each month, you can provide your cat or dog with insurance, and also save money on your vet bills. In order to help you cat or dog as much as possible, it’s important to have insurance so you can afford to help them with check-ups and the potential costs of surgery and medication. This is especially important if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters simply because your risk for incidents is higher.
Challenging Life Events
Hopefully your pet lives a healthy life free of frequent vet visits, but even so, there are many life events that can be hard on a pet, including moving to a new home or a family split. If your family is moving to a new home, whether it be in a nearby neighborhood or across state lines, the event is easier for your pet if the move is as efficient as possible. Make a thorough plan about where your cat or dog will be staying while you move the furniture out of your home and into the new one, as seeing their home in disarray can be very stressful on pets.
Half of all marriages end in divorce, and if the cat or dog was adopted by both adults in the relationship, deciding who the pet will live with can be a complicated choice. Divorce can also cause a lot of financial stress, and depending on how prepared you are for it, the transition into living without your spouse can be difficult. An uncomplicated divorce costs about $500 on average, which can cause money to be tight for you and your pet. Therefore, it’s important to have a small savings of, ideally, at least a few hundred dollars in case something like this happens. Budgeting for emergencies and big life events can be tough, but it will give you peace of mind to know you’re prepared to take care of your furry family members if disaster strikes. By creating emergency plans, acquiring pet insurance, getting a reliable sitter, and budgeting to save money, you’ll be ready for anything that life throws at you and your animal companion.