How I Afford 4 Senior Dogs with No Debt

Monday, February 17, 2020

People always say when they find out I have 4 SENIOR chihuahuas that I must be broke. Now, when I first had 4 chihuahuas I was definitely struggling but then it got to a point where I realized I needed to get my stuff together and set money aside for not just their regular vet expenses but also any emergencies. And when Rocky was diagnosed with his heart issue and I learned he’d need 2 cardiologist appointments a year, I started doing some specific things to save money overall. The things I’m about to list below are what have worked for me. They could work for you too but don’t be afraid to tailor my advice to better suit your specific needs.

I take my dogs for regular checkups no matter how healthy they look.

A yearly check up is important for me because it can mean the difference between catching something too early or too late. Heart issues, dental issues, and other “under the skin” things can often be diagnosed early if caught at the right time at an annual checkup. When Rocky developed his cough, I took him in right away and we determined that his heart issue was rather new since he had been at my regular vet just a couple months before and his heart was fine then. Luckily, Rocky is thriving on his heart medicine and there are no issues.

Another thing is that dental issues are directly related to heart issues, so it’s important to let your vet peep your dog’s teeth and recommend a cleaning if necessary, so that they don’t get heart disease from getting gum disease. Plaque is bad all the way around, for the teeth and the rest of the body.

People often say “well my dog looks fine I don’t need to go every year” but trust me, it’s worth it.

I have a vet savings fund so I never have to use my credit card.

Once I realized what kind of yearly costs I’d have from Rocky’s appointments, I added it up with a regular checkup cost for each dog, an emergency visit or two, and then I divided by 12 months. That was the amount I decided I’d need to save each month from each paycheck so that I have a fully funded vet fund. The second I get paid, that money gets transferred so I don’t even get a chance to miss it. Before you ask, yes I’ve researched pet insurance vs. a savings fund long and hard and it’s just not for me. With a savings fund, that money sits there until I need to use it. I can’t get denied use of it, and it’s ALWAYS THERE for me. With pet insurance there were too many things that aren’t covered plus, then I have that extra expense of a monthly payment for 4 dogs, and that monthly payment isn’t something I get back and it doesn’t sit in a pot of my own money. I could pay into it their whole lives but then get denied a claim, so no thanks. It may work great for some people but it’s just not for me.

Having this fund in place means that I NEVER have to put anything on my credit card because I’m always prepared for emergencies. As soon as money gets spent down in it, I do whatever it takes to build it back up. All of my blogging income goes there and I will sell things online if I have to just to get it funded again. If you want to create an envelope or savings fund for your pets, check out my cash envelope post.

I utilize herbal remedies.

Last year I purchased a few different books (here and here) on herbal medicine and pets. It’s amazing how many things I already had in my own garden or that I could buy for just a couple bucks at my regular grocery store. When rocky had an infection on his skin, I was originally using a warm compress soaked in Epsom salt. It didn’t seem to be doing much. I then looked up what else I could do and it said calendula flower water that compress soaks in would help it. I steeped the calendula flower buds from my garden into the warm water, soaked the compress, and held it on Rocky’s skin for 15 minutes. The new day I woke up and his skin issue was ready to explode which meant we could finally have the vet lance it. I couldn’t believe how well it worked. I also started giving my dogs herbal supplements in the form of dried herbs that get sprinkled on their food. I actually use Dr. Harvey brand supplements from Chewy. They have a golden years formula, an ortho-flex formula, a belly formula, and an immune booster formula. I highly recommend these because they are literally completely herbal and list ALL ingredients so you COULD technically even make it your sense if your garden has the right stuff. These things can really help save you money in the long run on medical expenses plus it’s way more rewarding to grow some of your own stuff in your garden. But just remember – do not replace your vet’s advice with this stuff. It’s meant to be used in addition to whatever you and your vet decide on and you should always run your herbal remedies by them as well.

I always take preventive measures for safety to avoid accidents.

When my dogs ride in the car, they’re strapped in. They aren’t allowed outside unattended in case they eat something. I never keep anything low enough in the house where they could reach it and eat it, and if I do drop a pill on the ground I scream and clear the area until it’s found. I have doggy steps all over my house so no one falls and breaks anything. I don’t take my dogs to day care or any group setting for the sole reason that I can’t afford for them to all get sick and catch something. I put their health as a high priority on my list of things in life just so that I don’t have any unexpected emergencies pop up. And it’s worked this far. The only emergencies have ever been a tummy bug, and a few topical things. You have to always think ahead. Make sure your home doesn’t have anything they can easily access and get into. I even have a security camera so I can check in on them if I’m ever worried about them.

These are the ways I’ve managed to go on over a decade now without going into debt over my dogs. They are ages 10,12,14, and 15 now so we are entering the senior time period where anything can happen but at least I can rest easy knowing I’m financially prepared.

How do you handle finances with your pets?


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