Recently, I came across the crazy world of pet financing.
From what I found, there are many, many pet stores out there that sell puppies and kittens that let you take out pet financing on them in order to “afford them.”
Monthly payments are usually a few hundred dollars, and because so many people can't say no to a cute little puppy or kitten, they bring their new furry friend home.
However, this is a disaster because, sadly enough, too many people do not read the fine print in the pet financing terms. Also, when you consider that people are actually taking out a loan means they most likely can't afford the pet.
I had no idea that people financed animals in order to be able to purchase them, but after thinking about it – of course they do! People finance everything in this loan-happy world that we live in.
However, this can be a very costly mistake.
Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely love animals.
I have two dogs of my own, and, while some may disagree, they are members of our family. We bring them everywhere we go, we love cuddling with them, we regularly (almost daily) go on long hikes with them, we take them to the vet annually, and more.
However, I also know that you don't need to buy a $3,000 dog in order to find the kind of happiness you get from having a pet. Plus, that $3,000 dog can easily turn into a $5,000+ purchase once interest and other fees have been added.
I did some further research to find what interest rate people are being charged, and I found anywhere from around 36% to 150% interest rates on pet financing.
Keep in mind, a credit card's interest rate may be around 15% to 24%, so this is much, much higher!
And, there are so many other options for owning a pet.
Adopting from a shelter versus buying from a pet store.
According to the ASPCA, about 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters each year, and most are eventually available for adoption. And, sadly, there are approximately 2,700,000 pets euthanized each year.
Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue does cost money, but it is significantly less than the purebred ones you find through breeders or pet stores. A rescue dog or cat costs anywhere from $100-$200 and includes spaying or neutering, any types of procedures or medications the animal needs to be healthy enough to adopt, sometimes microchipping, and more. On the other hand, a purebred dog will cost you somewhere in the thousands of dollars, and if you are financing your pet, it will cost you even more.
This isn’t going to be a post that tells you that you should adopt from rescues rather than breeders or pet stores. But, I will say that there is usually no need for a person to drop thousands of dollars through pet financing on an animal when there are plenty of great dogs, cats, and other pets in need of wonderful homes. Yes, some people may want a specific type of dog for a specific purpose or reason, but the average family most likely does not need a purebred dog or cat.
Related article: Every Dog/Cat Deserves a Home But Not Every Home Deserves A Pet
If you want a specific breed of dog, then go for it. Who am I to tell you what to do?
BUT, one of the most important factors in pet ownership is whether or not you can actually afford that cute dog or cat.
If you are financing a pet, there is a good chance that you can't actually afford it. Pet loans have notoriously high interest rates, like I mentioned above.
Plus, you may actually be leasing your pet.
Are you leasing your pet?
As you can tell, I am bothered by this subject. So, I did a ton of research. I called various pet loan companies, researched various pet stores that sold expensive pets with loans at crazy high interest rates, and read tons of articles and reviews from people who felt upset and agitated by the situation.
One recurring theme I found was that not only were people paying an exorbitant amount of money on pet financing, they also didn't know one very important thing – they were actually leasing their pet instead of owning it.
Yes, those pet financing papers may actually be for a lease!
It works like this:
- You find a pet and apply for financing.
- You sign up for a few years of monthly payments.
- What you may not know is that at the end, you may have to pay a lump sum in order to actually own your pet.
And, this is why the interest rate is so high.
Leasing and/or financing a pet can be a horrible idea for so many reasons. Yes, your new furry friend may be super adorable, but there are so many other ways to afford a new pet.
You don't need to pay thousands of dollars to purchase your new family member. There are countless shelters where you can find a cat, dog, or other pet.
Can you afford a dog or cat?
Dogs and cats are expensive, no matter how they come into your family.
Many people don’t understand the total cost of owning a dog or cat and only think about the cost of pet food.
Unfortunately, that’s all most people think about, and I am always shocked by that.
You will need to think about veterinarian visits, obedience classes, housing, and more.
The average cost of owning a dog or cat can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000+ annually.
That is a lot of money!
Also, if you travel, you will need to consider whether or not your pet can travel with you. If they can’t, boarding or paying a pet sitter is another additional expense.
If you do travel and are in need of a pet sitter or dog walker, I highly recommend Rover. This link offers Making Sense of Cents readers a $20 credit towards services through Rover.
The bottomline is this, if you cannot afford the costs of owning a pet, then you should wait to adopt one.
You need to make sure you and your family’s financial obligations are taken care of before taking on the cost of adopting a pet. Considering that the average person only saves around 5% or less of their salary each year, the cost of owning a pet ($500 to $2,000 a year) may severely impact your ability to save any money at all.
Plus, no pet deserves to be surrendered at an animal shelter. If you are upfront and realistic with your financial obligations, you can prevent another pet from being surrendered and losing their family.
What do you think of pet financing?
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