Three Long Term Plans to Make for Your Pet

By Melissa Kauffmann 

In the eyes of the law, pets are seen as property. For some, making long-term plans and even wills for an animal may seem a bit far fetched. But, every single pet lover in the world would likely disagree. 

Unlike humans, pets cannot be left to their own devices if something happens to their human or in case of an emergency. That’s why it’s up to you, as a caretaker, to understand the possible inconveniences you and your pet may face if you haven’t planned things ahead.

Here are three important steps to think about in advance to make your pet’s life safer and more secure, so you can rest easy.

Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

Plan for veterinary costs and unexpected expenses

Accessories, toys, high-end food, dog crates, cages and carriers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pet-owning expenses. Most people do their research on annual medical care expenses and basic preventative care that is necessary for a healthy and happy pet. The majority of pet parents also look into how much their pet will cost them, (there’s a good resource for how much dogs cost here, and how much cats cost here). That being said, it’s the unexpected and unplanned that can throw you for a loop.

Accidents and unanticipated injuries can cost more than $1,000, depending on the type of ailment. A simple allergy test may go up to $300, just to identify the problem, let alone the treatment. Not to mention more serious illnesses, such as liver failure, digestive illnesses, and even cancer, which becomes an expense on its own to discover, in addition to a long-lasting, expensive treatment like chemotherapy.

One way is to plan ahead by making a savings account specifically for your pet, for both the basic annual care and the possible emergency situations. Even adding small amounts on a weekly basis can make a huge difference in critical situations. Sometimes health emergencies require you to make a decision in the course of a few minutes, so having a few extra thousand in your fund can make a life-changing difference.

Another great way to ensure your pet’s safety is to opt for pet insurance, which basically works the same as human life insurance. You chose the preferable policy and keep your pet covered with an annual or monthly fee. Hinsdale Humane Society recommends Companion Protect at this link:

Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

Give your pet the power to look out for themselves

Unless your pet is a Ball Python, they’re likely trainable. Don’t feel aversion towards training and teaching commands since they are a necessary part of the animal-human relationship. In fact, proper training can be beneficial for both the owner and the pet.

A smart long-term decision when getting a pet is to invest time, patience and dedication in properly training and teaching your furry friend at least some basic tricks. Dogs are very trainable by nature and can learn various commands that could come in handy in case of emergency. Getting your dog responsive to your voice can calm down the situation in case of fire, for example, or any other case when time is essential. Cats and birds can also be taught to go in their carrier, which again, in some life-threatening situations could be crucial.

If you just can’t make time or lack the ability to train your pet, there are affordable professional trainers who can assist you in teaching your pet how to properly react and behave in specific situations. HHS will have a modified, virtual training program coming soon so pet families don’t lose too much critical training time during social distancing restrictions. 

We recommend that you participate in the training process since you will be the one to guide your pet in the future, but professional trainers can certainly be of great help in teaching techniques and proper ways of connecting to your animal friend. Sure, it’s an additional expense, but it can make a huge difference in the long term.

Photo by Sheri Hooley on Unsplash

What happens when you’re gone? 

The vulnerability of our pets is mostly reflected in the fact that without us, their future is really uncertain. We all think we are surely going to outlive our pets, but the truth is you can’t control what the future holds. Even in cases when you’re temporarily away, it’s a good idea to plan ahead your pet’s homing.

You don’t need to have a detailed plan prepared, but it can be helpful if you talk to close people and just present the possible outcomes. Another possibility is to include your pet in estate planning. You can’t legally leave a will for your dog, but you can leave money to a trusted friend or a family member to spend it on your pet’s care.

If you don’t have that option, HHS is now offering the Lasting Love program that allows you to plan for your pets’ possible future, should you predecease them. It is for those individuals who have included HHS in their estate. Contact for details, or call 630-323-5630.

A great way of advance planning is making a pet trust (if existent in your country). It’s more legally binding than a will and it includes specific details you want for the trustee to enforce, such as the number of vet visits per year, the life standard, etc. It’s the safest way out there to ensure your pet is being truly taken care of when you are not around. 

Final thoughts

Being a pet owner comes with great pleasures and fulfillment, but also with great responsibility. Planning in advance is a small but important step to ensuring a safe and healthy future for your pet, just as he or she deserves.

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