By Eve Kaplan
NEW YORK (AdviceIQ) -- Are you a good pet owner? Owning an animal means more than feeding it and loving it. Pets aren't cheap, so doing right by Fido or Tabby involves financial planning.
No question, we Americans love our pets. Many of us view our animal pals as family members, and we derive real physical and emotional benefits from owning them. We spend more than $60 billion per year on our pets and nearly two-thirds of our households have one or more pets.
Yet millions of unwanted pets are euthanized each year because pet owners did not make provisions for them when the owners became disabled, died or no longer could afford their animal companions.
With so much time, love and money invested in our pets, pet planning is prudent and responsible. Here are four areas to consider:
Pet ownership and your overall financial plan. You're already ahead of the game if you engaged a financial adviser to write a plan for you. Aside from your personal and family requirements, your plan also should refer to your pets. In addition to food, pets may need toys, training, grooming, boarding, standard and acute veterinary care and burial or cremation. All of these things cost time and money.
If you work or take trips, boarding costs or traveling with your pet can add up. If you own a dog and you work, dog-walking can be an added expense. Make sure your pet expenses don't harm other financial needs -- such as your own housing, food, medical, insurance, transport and family support. Most of all, pet expenses should not reduce the amount you save for retirement. Although these all sound obvious, millions of pets end up in shelters or are euthanized because their owners couldn't afford them.