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Ask a vet: Pets come with calculated cost

POSTED: September 29, 2013 1:00 a.m.

With my inherent geekiness, I can’t resist learning things. I actively seek out learning of any kind: veterinary medicine, quantum theory and fantasy football.

But sometimes you stumble upon a fact and it just makes you question the world. By estimates of hunger relief organizations around the world, more money is spent in the United States and Europe each day to feed our pets than would be required to feed the hungry humans of the world.

You read that right. And I want us to feed our pets. My livelihood depends absolutely on people with pets.

People who care for their pets hopefully extend that care to obtaining safe and reliable nutrition for them.

But, at heart, pets are a luxury in many ways. No right to pet ownership exists, but having one, in my case at least, improves life. A zany, lolling tongue bouncing toward you at the end of the day can erase a lot of stress. A fuzzy kitty kneading your leg while you watch TV is as consoling as anything else from time to time.

But keeping everything in focus is important. Our pets are our companions of luxury, and if we’re lucky, we get to have them. But please, don’t overstretch your limits.

It’s very ironic to me, being a veterinarian, I might offer any economic advice to anyone. Veterinarians accrue a ludicrous amount of debt relative to income in order to call themselves “doctor.” And usually, getting into vet school is no easier than getting into medical school. Guess which pays better?

But I digress ... this is economic advice.

Have a pet if you can. But only have as much as you can bear. Don’t spend all your money on a purebred puppy and have nothing left to treat him if he becomes ill. In other words, don’t buy the Ferrari if you can’t afford the oil to keep it running.

Puppies are cute, but that leaves everyone in a situation of having a cute pet that can’t be cared for.

Cats are no different.

Next week, I’ll offer advice on how to save money on your pets, without sacrificing the quality of care, or missing out on your dream pet/breed.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.


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