Budgeting For Pets: 5 Pet Parents Share Tips, Their Experience & Much More

By Shrutika Vaishnavi | August 23, 2018

Pets can change your life for the better. If you’re planning to adopt one soon, here are the experiences along with some useful tips to manage your new pet straight from some pet parents.

Budgeting For Pets: 5 Pet Parents Share Tips, Their Experience & Much More

Interviews can be boring (we agree), but when it comes to interviewing some of our furry friends and their parents (of course), things automatically become interesting! If you love animals and are planning to get a little (or big) pet of your own, you’ll definitely find the information in the article useful.

Additional Reading: Are Your Pets Insured?

Thinking about adopting? (Please DON’T shop!)  You’ll surely want to know everything about the financial aspects of the same. Bringing a pet home is sometimes thought to be similar to bringing home a new-born baby. Pets demand (and need) the same kind of love, affection and attention that a child does. To make sure you’re perfectly ready to welcome a new furry baby into your home, you need to be fully prepared. To help you with that, we interviewed some of our friends who also happen to be proud parents of some gorgeous fur balls. Here’s what they had to say.

Say hello to (Sir) Plumperton and (Professor) Wigglesworth and their mom, Krithika Kumar!

Budgeting For Pets: 5 Pet Parents Share Tips, Their Experience & Much More

Let’s introduce you to them:

Krithika has two dogs, who are brothers, both rescues and have quite a bit of Labrador retriever characteristics in them. They are black as night and bright as sunshine. Given the Lab genes, they are intelligent, have high energy, and exhibit predatory instincts (though these instincts are not well-honed).

Costs involved in taking care of them:

Since they were rescues, the cost of acquiring them was not as high as acquiring pure-breds.

The annual cost varies. The fixed costs are food, yearly vaccines and physicals, and monthly preventative tick/flea and heart-worm medication. The variables are boarding costs (if needed- which can be exorbitant sometimes), unanticipated medical care, and occasional replacement of dog toys and beds.

Additional Reading: How To Build An Emergency Fund

The challenges involved:

Krithika says, “We live in a small apartment with no yard, so the biggest challenge is that they don’t have a lot of space to run around and play to burn their energy. The second challenge is to plan our schedules around them, particularly day-trips and vacations.”

Experience so far:

Krithika says, “It has been wonderful. There are days when we recognise that not having dogs might have been easier (like when one of them eats a bird feather on a hike and throws up all over the carpet), but those days are few and far between. Every day, even the tough ones, we are grateful for their companionship, their excited greetings, and their warm presence.”

Tips for people who are planning to adopt:

Krithika says, “It’s a huge responsibility to bring dogs into a home. They’re social and intelligent beings and must be treated as such. Their wellness must be a top priority – and that is not limited to food, medical care (vaccines and mediation) alone. It includes exercise, playtime, leadership, socialisation, and mental stimulation.

Almost every morning, my dogs get fed and walked before I can have even a cup of tea. Be prepared to put their needs first at times. It’s also our responsibility to train them to be well-behaved dogs, which means we need to train ourselves first. In my opinion, neighbours and the public must not be inconvenienced. Here’s what we mean by well-behaved dogs: the dogs don’t bite, they don’t bark at every sound and passer-by on the street, they are under the owner’s/parent’s control on walks, they interact well with other dogs at the dog park (if they don’t, don’t take them to the dog park), they do not take food out of people’s hands, they don’t pee and poop except in designated areas (and their poop is picked up by the pet owner/parent), and so on. Be prepared to learn to be a responsible pet owner/parent who understands that dogs are not humans and their emotions and communication don’t work like ours. That in and of itself is a huge commitment.”

Have you met Mr. Oreo and his dad, Lakshaya Bakshi?

Budgeting For Pets: 5 Pet Parents Share Tips, Their Experience & Much More

Let’s introduce you to him:

Lakshaya describes his baby boy Oreo as an enthusiastic Shih Tzu, who loves to meet new people and is always full of energy.

Costs involved in taking care of him:

Lakshaya says, “Since I have a Shih Tzu, his grooming costs are a little high. His fur has to be trimmed every two months and even his baths have to be done in a salon as he is always over excited and doesn’t let anybody give him a bath at home. His grooming alone costs around Rs. 1500- 2000 per month.”

The challenges involved:

Lakshaya says, “Oreo gets bored with his food very fast, so I have to change his food every month. His grooming also takes a lot of time and effort.”

Experience so far:

Lakshaya says, “Initially, it was a little difficult as I was new to all of it, but now I feel that bringing him home was the best decision I have ever made.”

Tips for people who are planning to adopt:

Lakshaya says, “It looks extremely easy but taking care of a pet is a full time job. Unless you’re a 100% sure that you’ll be fully committed towards your furry baby, it’s better to not adopt.”

Meet Miss Dolly and her mom, Saroma Skye!

Budgeting For Pets: 5 Pet Parents Share Tips, Their Experience & Much More

Let’s introduce you to her:

Dolly is a 9-year-old rescue and has been with Saroma for the past 2.5 years. She’s a small black Pomeranian. Personality wise, she’s extremely loving towards her family and anti-social when it comes to people and other animals. She loves food, is afraid of toys, likes to sleep and loves to be brushed.

Costs involved in taking care of her:

Saroma says, “Dolly is a relatively easy-going dog. I pay for her treats and food (chicken and egg). She’s currently on no medication (touchwood), but I did spend a little bit on getting her a master health check-up this year as I didn’t know much about her history and given her age, it was a must. Her major medical expenses are her vaccinations and her dental cleaning that happen once a year. I do like to spoil her with treats though and I buy high-quality treats that are slightly more expensive (Rs. 250-400) a bag, depending on the treat.”

The challenges involved:

Saroma says, “The only challenge I face is the fact that I cannot go out to socialise with friends on weekdays because I feel guilty leaving her alone the whole day while I’m at work. I also shifted my house so that I’m walking distance from work and can come home at lunch time to spend some time with her. The other challenge is planning my vacation around her. I usually drop her off at my mom’s place when I’m traveling, but this means that my mom has to be free at that time. I don’t trust kennels with her, but that’s a personal preference.”

Additional Reading: 10 Financial Tips For Soon-to-be Pet Parents!

Experience so far:

Saroma says, “This experience has been one of the most rewarding ones of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything and Dolly is the most important thing for me. I feel privileged and truly lucky to have her in my life!”

Tips for people who are planning to adopt:

Saroma says, “Always adopt. Ensure that your lifestyle can handle a dog. Give yourself two-three months to adjust to each other before making plans to travel, etc. There is nothing wrong with adopting a senior dog or an adult dog or cat. I’d suggest that you research the breed, the lifestyle, and talk to experts before bringing a furry one home. Also, please make sure that you set a routine with your pet from day one. Try and avoid all friends and family coming over immediately because this can overwhelm the animal. Give them a week to find their bearings before introducing them to the extended family.”

It’s time to meet Miss Mirchi and her mom, Shipra Singh!

Budgeting For Pets: 5 Pet Parents Share Tips, Their Experience & Much More

Let’s introduce you to her:

Mirchi is an 11-month-old female Indie dog. She was 2.5 months old when Shipra brought her home.

Costs involved in taking care of her:

Here’s a breakup of the costs involved:

Monthly recurring costs:

Food- Rs. 1,500.

Grooming and cleaning – Rs. 100 for home baths

Flea and tick treatment- Rs. 150

Toys and treats – Rs. 300 (approx.)

Vet visits – Rs. 300

Medication – Deworming (Rs. 150 (every 3 months)), rabies shots (Rs. 750 yearly)

Initial fixed costs:

Vaccination – Rs. 2,000 (most of her vaccines were done when I’d adopted her hence the lower cost)

Accessories (collar, leash, clothes etc.) – Rs. 1,500

Sterilisation – Rs. 5,000 (depends on the breed and gender)

Additional Reading: 6 Common Budgeting Blunders And How To Fix Them

The challenges involved:

Shipra says, “Being a puppy, she’s super energetic! Since she’s still in her teething phase, she destroys everything she can get hold of. She can’t be left unsupervised inside the house for too long as she chews things around her. She has destroyed over 5 pairs of shoes, 3 door mats, 2 TV remotes, sofa, cushions among other things. Hair shedding is a major problem. She has a dandruff problem which causes more than usual shedding. This requires regular combing and incurs the extra cost of a dandruff spa every month, which costs Rs. 800. These are no permanent problems, though. She’ll mellow down as she ages and the dandruff issue is aggravated only during monsoon.”

Experience so far:

Shipra says, “It has been nothing short of wonderful. The first one month was difficult as it is my first pet experience, but she’s inherently a well-mannered puppy so I didn’t have to work too much on her.” 

Tips for people who are planning to adopt:

Shipra says, “Getting a dog is like getting a baby for the next 11-12 years. To know what you are signing up for, it’s better to look at fostering a puppy for 15 days first before adopting one.

– Train them properly without letting your motherly instincts come in the way. Puppy activities are harmless but as they grow in size, the same actions can lead to a lot of damage and unruly behaviour. Professional training will cost around Rs. 20,000 or you can watch tutorials on YouTube and do it yourself.  

– Get a dog only if you have someone to accompany it at all times at home. They can slip into depression out of loneliness.

– In terms of money – a pedigree dog entails much higher costs than a native Indie. Foremost being the ‘buying’ cost. Compared to pedigree dogs, Indies are low-maintenance and adapt well to our weather. This means less grooming and even fewer visits to the vet. Go to a shelter and get a healthy Indie pup at no cost.”

Have you met Mr. Leo and his mom, Sarita Povaiah?

Budgeting For Pets: 5 Pet Parents Share Tips, Their Experience & Much More

Let’s introduce you to him:

Sarita says, “My dog is Leo, a 12+ year-old dachshund, which makes him “half a dog high and a dog-and-a-half long”. He’s wilful, conniving, utterly selfish, and convinced that all the world is scheming against him. As a result, he hates everything and everybody on the planet except for my family, my parents’ dog Bingo, and one adopted stray cat (as the latter two display complete and utter servility to him).”

Costs involved in taking care of him:

Sarita says, “I am an over-indulgent pet parent and would be the wrong person to ask about budgeting. Nonetheless, I’ll try and break it down.

Overall, recurring monthly costs for my pet pertain to basics such as wet food (which I cook at home) and Royal Canin mini adult dry food (bought from a pet store), his favourite biscuits and treats. This would all amount to about Rs. 6k to Rs. 7k per month.

Other less frequent costs pertain to grooming products (shampoos, dry shampoos, pet wipes, anti-flea treatments, brushes, etc.), basic medication, and lots of toys. I can’t attach a price tag to this. Also, some minimal fuel costs as he loves an occasional drive around the city to take in the sights and give the world the stink-eye.

More one-time costs involve two nanny cams to keep an eye on him while I’m at work (~Rs. 4,000), clothes (a dachshund likes to be warm and fashionable), a car seat (~Rs. 1,800), and some comfy home seating such as his own leather bean bag (~Rs. 1,500) from which he surveys his kingdom.

Then, there’s the cost of his annual vaccinations done by the same vet for the last 12 years, who makes home visits and handles Leo’s furious shenanigans patiently. This costs roughly Rs. 2,500 and my dignity.”

The challenges involved:

Sarita says, “Single parent problems. I worry when I leave him alone at home for a long time, I can’t travel on short notice as I need to make arrangements for a sitter acceptable to him (my mum). Then, there are the usual personality issues a dachshund poses. He will allow anyone only four inches on a king-size bed, does not think his pillows are soft enough, the climate always affronts his sensibilities, as does the sight of a closed door. Sleeping arrangements and sofa space are constantly open to debate. A decent night’s rest is a rarity given his urgent need to view the moon at 3AM.”

Experience so far:

Sarita says, “Queen Victoria very aptly said “Nothing will turn a man’s home into a castle more quickly and effectively than a dachshund.” Leo is the undisputed king of his castle and me, 12 years a slave. Jokes aside, I would not trade this experience for anything in the world. It’s been constant learning, adapting, and designing my life and daily schedules around my dog. The experience has provided me with tons of fun anecdotes and special moments filled with love and laughter. Nothing beats the feeling of returning home to an overjoyed welcome. A pet’s life is an opportunity to learn to love unconditionally, communicate beyond words, be more sensitive and considerate, more patient, and a kinder, caring human being.”

Tips for people who are planning to adopt:

Sarita says, “Adopt, don’t shop. Always do your research beforehand. Expect the unexpected. Know that a pet is a long-term commitment – for the duration of their lives. Be prepared. They’ll test your patience at times, make you question your decision, embarrass you, tire you out; but the amount of unconditional love you’ll receive in return is well worth it and more. When you become the centre of a pet’s universe, you’ll strive more to be the kind of person your pet thinks you are.”

Those were such aww-worthy answers! We know what you’re thinking, but don’t go ahead with the decision to bring home a pet unless you’re fully prepared mentally and financially. Remember, they are a responsibility and as pet parents, you need to be ready and willing to take that up.

To manage the finances involved in raising a pet, consider putting aside a little something in a Fixed or Recurring Deposit. You can even consider investing in Mutual Funds and as your investment grows, use the extra money to fund your pet’s expenses. You can also make use of a Credit Card when paying for their food, treats, toys, etc. and get cashback and rewards on your spends!

At the end of the day, what’s ultimately important is to ensure that your pet has a happy, healthy and long life!

Psst… want to open a Fixed Deposit, invest in Mutual Funds or check your eligibility for a Credit Card right away?

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