Open a savings account for your pet’s healthcare

Pet owners know that our furry (or slithery) friends have a way of becoming part of the family. We watch them grow, see their quirky personalities take shape, and before we know it, they fit right into our daily routines. But when they get sick or injured, those vet bills can really throw you a curveball, and suddenly you’re dealing with unexpected expenses.

Just like you should have an emergency savings account for life’s unpredictable expenses, it’s important to have a dedicated savings account to maintain the well-being of your cherished pets. There are also good pet medical aid options available, but these are insurance policies. They will cover only certain specified events and veterinary procedures, and you will also have to pay an excess on your claims. So, whether you have pet medical aid or not, adding a designated pet savings fund is still a good idea.


A savings account for pet expenses

Maintaining a savings account exclusively for your pet will ensure that the money remains off-limits for tempting splurges like a new pair of shoes or the latest sound system. Financial self-discipline can be tough, but you’ll thank yourself when an emergency arises.

Since you probably won’t be using these funds often, a savings account is ideal as it will also allow you to earn interest on your savings. While a 32Day Notice Account is a savvy choice to reduce unplanned spending, you do have a 32-day waiting period before you can withdraw any money – not ideal in urgent situations.

The Nedbank MyPocket, which is linked to your Nedbank current account, is perhaps a better option. You’ll earn 7.25% interest per year on balances of R9,999 or less and 6.25% on balances of R10,000 or more. You’ll also get instant access to your savings when you need them, which makes it great for emergencies. Unlike traditional savings accounts, MyPocket has no monthly fees. You can add up to 10 MyPockets to your account and personalise each of them, so you can label one ‘emergency pet fund’ for easy reference. You can also use the Goal Savings calculator for effective financial planning – all these unique features will help you stay on track with several different savings goals.


Budgeting for potential pet expenses

You’ll need to work out how much, on average, you’ll spend on vet visits and other pet expenses in a year. You’ll then know the minimum amount you need to keep in your emergency pet account. This will vary according to your pet’s age, health, size, breed and pre-existing conditions. If you have pet insurance as well, factor the expenses that will be covered by insurance into your calculations.

If your pet lives outdoors, make sure there’s adequate shelter to protect them from storms and extreme heat or cold

In addition to budgeting for regular vet visits and wellness expenses, it’s wise to add extra money for emergency visits. That way, you’ll have enough money set aside if accident or injury makes an unscheduled trip to the vet necessary. Consider automating monthly transfers into your pet emergency fund, so you don’t have to remember to make a transfer every month and you’ll always have enough available if your fur baby needs immediate treatment.


Tips to ensure that your pet remains as healthy as possible

With the right preventative care, your pet can enjoy a long and healthy life while you reduce the need for frequent vet visits.

Here are some tips:

Choose the right pet food

While cheaper store-brand pet foods might seem like a budget-friendly option, they often contain fillers and lack the necessary nutrients. Investing in vet-approved foods, although pricier, ensures the correct balance of proteins and vitamins, helping to prevent long-term issues like kidney disease and liver problems.

Regularly check for parasites

Depending on your pet type, be diligent about checking for fleas, ticks and other parasites. Tick and flea medications can prevent tickbite fever and skin rashes, while regular deworming keeps stomach parasites at bay.

Preventative care

Prevention is better than cure, and often cheaper. So, the sooner you tend to your pet’s health issues, the more likely it is to be sorted out before it escalates.

Stay updated on vaccines and check-ups

Schedule routine check-ups at least twice a year. Vets can catch weight changes, dehydration and other issues early on, preventing more serious illnesses.

Create a safe environment

Pets might not grasp the dangers around them. Keep toxic products out of reach and ensure there’s always fresh, clean water available.

Provide shelter

If your pet lives outdoors, make sure there’s adequate shelter to protect them from storms and extreme heat or cold. If possible, let your dogs sleep indoors in winter. It’s all about keeping them safe and comfortable.

Regular grooming

Regular grooming and routine care is important, including brushing to prevent matting, baths, proper nail trimming and ear cleaning. Prioritise dental health by brushing your pet’s teeth, offering dental treats and scheduling vet check-ups.

Apart from MyPocket and 32Day Notice accounts, Nedbank has a range of savings and investment accounts suitable for an emergency pet fund. They’ll help you cope with the costs of owning a pet and enable you to look after your furry friends’ well-being throughout their lives.