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Should you use an emergency fund for your pets?

We spent a great weekend in the big city of Denver, but it was really wonderful to pull into the driveway today. Well, it was for the first five seconds until we noticed our dog, Mo, limping in the back yard. Our neighbors dog sit when we go out of town. We spoke to them the night before, and nothing was wrong, so what had she done? After inspection, two of her toes on her front paw were about twice the normal size. I am no veterinarian, but this couldn’t be good.

A bit of background on Mo; she was a dog we decided to foster when her owner had to surrender her. We discovered we are terrible foster parents because after two days, there was no way we were letting this dog go. She snores like a freight train (why is that cute if it’s your dog, but maddening if it’s your husband?) She has a face only a mother could love (Sharpei, Boxer, Rotweiller mix), and she is a girl named Mo, but the sweetest dog you can imagine. She also has a “cherry eye” which requires all kinds of drops. Since I am an eye doctor and have all kinds of drops, it was just meant to be.

Back to the present, it was five minutes to five, but the vet let me bring her in. Three x-rays later,  we learned she had a broken toe that requires an elaborate splint. Since it was already 5:30, I told the vet I could bring her back tomorrow, but she suggested that Mo stay the night (at no extra charge) so they could keep her quiet and would splint her in the morning. I expect she will need pain medicine and a follow up visit or two. I’m betting this will end up costing around $400.

We are lucky enough to have some cushion to absorb this cost, but technically, it comes out of savings, which is the emergency fund. Our dogs are like family, so we consider it a necessary expense and have no qualms about using it for vet emergencies . When you take on a pet, I believe you should have a plan for when they come up limping, eat a bowl of caramels, get poisoned by a toad,  rip off a toe nail, or have a stroke (yes, we have dealt with all those over the years).

Would you dip into your emergency fund for a pet?

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. I’m with you completely! They’re a family member, so they should be treated like it when they get hurt. Although there was one time it was going to cost $3k for our cat to have surgery. That tested the “family member” theory a little. For a moment he almost got voted off the island…. 😉

  2. Yes when you take on a pet you better be willing to cover any medical expenses. It is sad to hear about people giving up their pet just because they decide money is more important. I recently paid about $1100 for a surgery for my cat and would gladly pay that to keep my cats healthy.

    • I appreciate fellow pet lovers. I enjoy the pictures of your cats. We only have dogs right now, but cats certainly have that attitude that is just so great.

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