(ARA) - If you've ever taken in a kitten found on the street or adopted a puppy from an unplanned litter a friends' dog had, you know there is no such thing as a "free" pet. No matter how you acquire your new best friend, pet ownership comes with significant start-up costs and ongoing maintenance expenses.
With regular and emergency health care, food and the occasional impulsive indulgence of a chew toy here or a scratching post there, you learn quickly that being a good pet parent requires more than love, treats and toys - it also requires financial planning.
Often, people and pets come together unexpectedly. Maybe you brought home a kitten that was hanging out in your office's parking lot, or took in an older dog for a friend who was moving and couldn't take the pooch with them. Sometimes, however, you do have the opportunity to plan ahead for pet ownership. When that opportunity occurs, keep these considerations in mind:
Having a pet can be a wonderful experience. Families bond around pets, children learn responsibility, individuals find companionship, and pets can even help improve your health by lowering your blood pressure and improving your mood. With some advanced planning, you can help ensure pet-related money problems don't detract from all the positives of owning a pet.
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