Many families may have been blessed with a four legged addition during the holidays. A dog, cat, turtle, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, pony, calf, the possibilities are endless. These animals will make faithful companions for many years. The Dalmatian my future husband gave me for my nineteenth birthday became our first baby for sixteen years. She was an integral part of our family and welcomed our children in the latter years of her life. We were very lucky that she did not have significant health problems. The annual vet visits were a part of our budget as were her heart worm pills and later the glucosamine. Of course there were a few unplanned vet visits for emergencies; however, nothing major.

As you welcome your new animal to your family, consider and re-evaluate the amount of money that will be needed for their care. In addition to food, vet visits and preventive medicine; look into boarding or pet sitters if you travel. Start looking at boarding facilities or pet sitters now if you have travel plans in your future and make reservations early if it is a major holiday.

Also consider the amount of money you will spend to keep your animal healthy. We have spent hundreds of dollars to keep a rabbit alive. However, a family member recently paid $ 5,000.00 for a canine cervical laminectomy. A neighbor's dog has undergone multiple surgeries for orthopedic issues resulting in expenses between $10,000.00 to $12,000.00. A family friend spent thousands of dollars for a spinal fusion for their Daschund; the results could not be guaranteed. That was a couple of years ago and their beloved pup is now jumping on the couch with ease. Another friend gives their cat diabetic injections twice a day, while a neighbor's dog is undergoing allergy treatment with a veterinary specialist.

We would go to the extremes for our beloved animal companions and had a "rainy day" animal fund set aside for emergency care. Consider saving or looking into additional options for your new animal's care. They will give you a lick of approval, or a kitten swat of joy.

Pet Insurance might be a good option for you.