By Ms. Pommy Jain*

Bringing a new furry member into the family is a joyous occasion, but it also means making adjustments in your budget. To ensure a fulfilling pet ownership experience, it’s wise to establish a budget plan. 

Considering myself a devoted pet lover, I prefer the term ‘pet lover’ over ‘pet parent’. Once a pet enters your home, they become a cherished part of the family. However, they do require a considerable amount of care and attention, making it essential to have a monthly budget specifically tailored to their needs. While this may vary based on the breed, having a standardized system can simplify the planning process. 

Different breeds have varying requirements. For instance, a Shih Tzu, though small, can be relatively high-maintenance due to regular grooming needs, including haircuts costing between ₹800-₹1000 every 10-15 days. Labradors, being low-maintenance with short coats, only require occasional grooming.

On the other hand, Golden Retrievers, being larger, require regular grooming and summer cuts. In my case, owning a French Bulldog like Benny means less emphasis on grooming and the ability to bathe him at home due to his short coat. However, they may require more medical attention due to sensitivity and skin issues. Each breed presents unique considerations, influencing budgetary allocations. Regardless, health should always remain a top priority for every pet lover. 

  1. Four-Step System: Typically, monthly budgeting revolves around four main areas – food, toys, treats, and veterinary visits. Depending on personal preferences, some might add grooming to the list. In terms of food, options range from dry kibbles to home-cooked meals. Personally, Benny enjoys home-cooked food. Establishing a three-point system tailored to your priorities can guide your monthly budgeting. In my opinion, a pet lover should ideally allocate a budget of 3-5k per month.
  2. Monthly Priorities: Your circumstances and priorities play a crucial role, as not all aspects require monthly spending. Grooming, home-cooked meals, and toy purchases can all vary based on your pet’s specific needs. Busy months may necessitate additional purchases to keep your pet happy, engaged, and well-fed. Customizing your budget based on your lifestyle and your pet’s preferences is key to staying organised.
  3. Unexpected Expenses: Flexibility and a learning mindset are crucial. Pets, much like children, can sometimes lead to unforeseen expenses, particularly in terms of veterinary visits. Being prepared to allocate a little extra is important. You don’t have to get everything perfect, as long as your pet’s needs are met each month. Over time, experience as a pet lover will refine your budgeting instincts.
  4. Purchase Wisely: Flashy or trendy pet items may be tempting, but always prioritize your dog’s health and well-being. Avoid unnecessary purchases, especially when it comes to fancy treats or cakes. It’s essential to look into the ingredients and opt for items that are genuinely beneficial for your pet.
  5. Cherish Your Pet’s Happiness: The ultimate reward is knowing that your dog is healthy and content. This makes the entire budgeting experience worthwhile and motivates you to plan for their well-deserved comforts and needs. 

Remember, being a pet lover comes with its joys and responsibilities. With thoughtful planning and a loving approach, you can provide your furry companion with the best possible care and create lasting memories together.

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