How Much Should You Spend On Pets?

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Partial Transcript

[The following is a partial transcript of this episode of The Scott Alan Turner Show. Listen to the full episode to hear this story, listener questions, money hacks, and inspiring stories of people that are changing their financial lives. Subscribe to the free podcast on iTunes or Google Play]

In This Episode / Listener Questions

  • Is pet insurance worth it?
  • Should I plan on having my student loans forgiven (Chris, Savage, MN)
  • Are leveraged funds a good investment (Iain, Facebook)
  • How can I prepare for future health care costs (Beth, Michigan)
  • Should I cancel my whole life insurance policy (Eric)
  • After COBRA expires what health insurance should I get (Malinda)
  • Should parents help their children instead of save for retirement
  • Paypal has changed its transfer terms (Red Alert Warning)


It’s the third most controversial topics in society, right behind politics and religion – it’s cats vs. dogs vs. your money.

On the list of things to never discuss at Thanksgiving and Christmas, pets have moved up one spot from #4, to #3.  The third most controversial subject used to be is NFL quarterback Tom Brady the greatest of all time? Thankfully Tom – aka father time – finally put that one to rest. In your face Payton Manning!

Taylor wrote into The Scott Alan Turner show,

Our newest challenge is our dog. He has a heart disease. He is 12 years old and we have had him since he was a puppy. The Dr. told us he has about 6–18 months left to live. Could be more, could be less. He is on a new medicine that is somewhat costly but we have noticed it helps him breathe more comfortably and he is back to acting his normal self with minimal side effects.  We would do anything for him, even if it means going into more debt to keep him around longer.

Are we doing the right thing?  He isn’t suffering on his new medicine. Regardless of your opinion, I appreciate your input during this difficult time.

I get a lot of pet related questions. You know I am a friend to the animals. People who have a pet are going to run into a difficult financial decision at some point.

I owned a Himalayan cat when I was single. That’s where the Himalayan cat commercial comes from for my longtime listeners. Rooster was my cat’s name. Himalayan cats have long hair and need to be taken to the groomer once in a while, just like long haired dogs in the summer time.

Cats hate this. Rooster had bad kidneys. The stress of going to the groomer for a haircut, sent his little body in downward spiral. He was at the pet hospital. A total mess. They had Rooster in the barometric chamber to help him breath. I had no care how much it was going to cost to save him. And we spent thousands of dollars to try, but it was not meant to be.

Third time in my life I cried in front of my wife. When my dad died. When my cat died, and during a mental breakdown in 2009. When Tom Brady was robbed of yet another super bowl ring by the New York Giants in the final minutes of the Super Bowl. He’s the GOAT people!

I don’t have all the answers. Just the right ones. On this issue sometimes we’re just picking from a list of bad choices. It’s kinda driving 20 hours on vacation. It’s 8 p.m. at night. There is nothing on the highway. Everyone is tired and hangry. Should a person pull over and get the gas station hot dog that’s been spinning around for the past six weeks hoping to be saved from one more spin. Or eat a bag of Doritos and a Snickers bar for dinner. It’s hard.

We have the bionic dog. He got two knee surgeries just after we got him. It helped his mobility. When he starts running into walls I’ll get him some glasses.

Last year we had the $500 cat EKG for the cat stalker.

You’re all very smart listeners. You can figure out where the line is for your money. But it’s hard sometimes.

For some people the situation is choosing between keeping the lights on, making the car payment, feeding the kids. That situation is still hard. There are some options.

  • Start by contacting a food pantry. Often times they have pet food too.
  • If your situation is temporary, maybe a friend or family member can keep the pet until the things look up.
  • If there is a health situation, weighing the quality of life is certainly a consideration.

If a person or pet is suffering, the experts think there is little chance of recovery, for me I’m letting go. I made that choice with Rooster. Katie had to make that choice with her cat Gus. We had to make that choice with my father-in-law. It’s hard.

Nobody has successfully argued for or against pets in heaven. I like to believe they go to a better place when the time comes. I’m not sure who’s job it’s going to be clean the litter box or pick up the doo dog on the grass. Maybe the robots will, like in the Matrix.

I make no moral judgements on people who take on more debt, delay other goals, or use their emergency fund for their pets. I’ve listened to other financial pied pipers call people stupid for doing those things. Then they turn around and say ‘I love dogs’. I’m looking at these people, and it’s funny, because they are trying to play both sides. You can see through that nonsense.

As you work towards your financial goals.

  • You have to have savings for these emergencies. It’s why I want you to have an emergency fund. For the emergency trip to the vet.
  • You have to be able to feed your family and keep the lights on. It’s why I want you to be aware of sources that provide free pet food.
  • You have to be able to pay the car loan and get to work. It’s why I want people in that situation to consider having someone else help out.

Never regret the decision you make with your pets. You make the right decision, at the right time, based on your situation. And find peace in it. That’s the best you can hope for.

I believe, we can always make more money. We can always sell stuff. We can always find alternatives. But we don’t get time back. We don’t get opportunities back. We don’t get people or pets back.

The bottom line is spending a lot of money on pets has to be a serious conversation. Weigh your options and make the best choice you can.

Ask your pet owning friends today if they have a pet clause in their will. “Who’s taking care of the critters if you get abducted by aliens?”


How Much Should People Spend On Pets? How Much Should People Spend On Pets?

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