We're all experiencing the rising cost of living. Inflation is driving an increase in the price of everything from the food in our shopping trollies to the fuel we put in our cars.
And while there may be ways we can mitigate some of the price increases, one expense that can't easily be reduced is the cost of owning a pet.
Recently I met with Jake King, the President of K9 Rescue Group. He highlighted how challenging it is for an organisation such as K9 because of the increase in the number of pets being surrendered.
Figures from the Federal Government suggest that the cost of owning a cat is about $1000 a year, with dogs costing $1600, and that's before vet bills or medicine. There are other expenses associated with pet ownership that also need to be considered:
Pet owners can pay more to rent as many landlords have a blanket ban on animals, reducing choice and increasing prices. Then there are additional expenses if your pet needs training; and while your furry friend is learning to behave better you could be hit with costs for repairs to the damage done by overly enthusiastic pets.
Consequently, we've seen an increase in the number of pets being given up in our region. The rangers at the Shire of Murray report cases of distraught and anxious owners who can no longer afford to keep them, or who can't take them into rental accommodation.
Pets can bring huge amounts of joy and companionship, but they are often the first thing to go when things get tough. So what can we do? I'd encourage landlords to consider allowing pets on a case-by-case basis, perhaps via a separate pet bond.
Take a longer view regarding the true cost of a pet. Buying a puppy now is likely to cost you around $25,000 over its life and that will be even more in a period of high inflation.
If you are considering getting a pet, adopt one from a shelter. This reduces the burden on these wonderful organisations that are entirely staffed by volunteer animal lovers.
And finally, have you considered volunteering at an animal organisation like K9 Rescue Group? This can give you access to many of the benefits of owning a pet but without the financial commitment, plus you'll also be playing a part in helping those who can no longer afford to keep an animal.
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