Pampering your pet can be expensive; be sure to plan...

Pampering your pet can be expensive; be sure to plan for the cost. Credit: Getty Images / iStock

Remember that song Patti Page sang, “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window”? Well, the one with the waggly tail, and other pets can cost more than you think.

Harris Poll surveyed more than 500 pet owners for the American Institute of CPAs and found that on average, American pet owners spend $1,560 per year on their pet’s routine care. More than half said such costs are impacting their finances.

But they are willing to sacrifice, including cutting money used for vacations and restaurants. Thirty-seven percent said they would reduce how much they put away for retirement and 27 percent said they were willing to put off paying credit card bills.

Nobody wants to tell you how far to go for Fido, that cat, or any furry friend, but balance love with practical planning.

Adopt smart: “Please rescue a dog by adopting from a shelter instead of buying from a breeder or pet store. Have your new companion spayed or neutered, too. Shelters and rescue groups often include vaccinations, microchipping, and spaying or neutering in the adoption fee,” says John Di Leonardo, president of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, in Malverne.

Estimate expenses: Know ahead of time the probable cost of care that is typical for your pet. Routine care varies, based on type of animal and breed. Review extra medical costs you could incur. Consider whether pet insurance is a good option for you.

Look for ways to cut costs: Says Kelly Hayes-Raitt, author of “How to Become a Housesitter,” “An oft-overlooked way to save on pet care is to hire a housesitter when traveling — rather than putting pets in expensive kennels or ‘doggie camps.’ ”

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