My Dog Loves His Pet Savings Account. Surprised?

Have you heard about a pet savings account? Are you always worried about the “what if” medical expense with your dog? As a good pet parent, when I adopted Henry, I immediately looked into pet insurance. However, I was a bit dismayed to find out that because of his unknown breed and age, his monthly premium was quoted at an astronomical rate no matter the pet insurance company. I couldn’t find a pet insurance plan that would work for us. There would be no dog insurance for Henry.

Have you experienced something similar? I thought at the time there must be a way to have a medical safety net for Henry without the stress of a high monthly premium.

This is not to say that I disregard pet health Insurance. Not at all. I think it can be very valuable. But sometimes it’s just not attainable for all pet owners. Besides, there’s always a gap between insurance and what’s still due. As a result, today, let’s dig in and learn why my dog loves his pet savings account. Okay, maybe it’s really me who loves it, but it’s still great.

*Update: September 1, 2023

a dog mom is happy to be able to protect her cute dog with a pet savings account
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

The great thing with a pet savings account is that it you're in complete control of it. Thus, it can only help you and your dog when you need to use it. That's a wonderful use of the account. And if you're like me, you love the idea of having control. It's a major win-win for you and your dog! 

What is a pet savings account?

A pet savings account is basically a savings account you open at a bank or credit union specifically for your pet’s needs. Generally, a pet health savings account can be open for as little as $100. You can even have it set up so that a specific amount is added to the account each month.

Depending on how much you add each month, it can really be very impactful relatively quickly. You use it as you see fit for your dog’s needs. However, at its core, the idea is a health reimbursement account. Or some will say it’s a “pet emergency fund”.

What are the benefits of a pet savings account for my dog?

There are six main benefits of a pet savings account. Of course, there is no particular order. And to be honest the order could vary depending on the day or need of your dog.

1. Dog expense safety net

Pet insurance might be too pricey for your dog because of the dog’s breed, age, or pre-existing health issues. Like it was for Henry and his medical care or even preventive care. This is where a pet savings account gives you peace of mind that you have a safety net for your dog’s health needs.

2. You’re in control

If you want to have a specific amount withdrawn, you can do that automatically or manually. Or if you need to skip a month you can do that as well. You contribute to your dog’s savings account as you see fit. You control it.

3. Flexible spending account

While most people will use a pet savings account for their dog’s medical expenses, it doesn’t need to be that limited. You can use it for anything related to your dog’s expenses such as food, doggie daycare, dog training, and even dog supplies.

4. No arguing over denials

When you have a pet savings account you have a certain amount of money set aside for your dog’s needs. Thus, you can use it as you see fit. So, if there’s an emergency and your dog is 17, you don’t have to argue with your pet insurance company. You can do what you and your vet feels is right. Or you can use it for annual checkups and preventive care.

Perhaps you even have exotic pets and you can’t find a pet insurance policy to cover them. Again, this is where a pet health savings account will allow you to have a bit of a safety net for these types of pets. The point is that you use it for your pet’s needs as you see fit. The money is there without any barriers or red tape.

5. Interest adds up

Although it’s not huge, over time interest in your pet savings account does add up. Thus, if your dog remains fairly healthy, you continue to add to the account monthly and have that safety net, with interest just in case. You don’t get interest with a pet insurance policy.

6. Rollover amounts

You may not think of this one, but at the end of the year, you don’t lose the funds in your dog’s savings account. It remains there and you can continue to add to it. For example, if you end the year with $2500 in your pet savings account that is where you begin building your dog account from in the new year. You never start from scratch. And you never lose what you put into it. Unlike with pet insurance, you pay premiums, but there’s generally no build-up of funds available. What’s there has to be approved. Thus, a pet savings account is very much like a human health savings account.

What are the drawbacks of a dog or pet savings account?

There are generally three negatives that will pop up with a pet health savings account. Again, there is no particular order to this list. But let us examine each a bit deeper.

1. No funds to contribute to a pet savings account

You might think you don’t have the extra money each month to contribute to a pet health savings account. Here’s something really interesting that Dave Ramsey and other financial experts will recommend, record your spending for a period of time in a journal. What you spend each day. That’s every cent.

Then at the end of that period, whatever that timeframe is (a week or a month) go back over your expenses and see where your money went during that time. Did you buy any wants over needs? Such as Starbucks coffee, wine night with the girls, or new pair of shoes when you have 30 perfectly fine shoes already in your closet?

I’m not suggesting you don’t have any fun. Or that wants are important. I’m just encouraging you to see what’s possible. What about changing a girls’ night out to a movie night in and putting that $50 into your dog savings account? Or instead of going out each week with your friends, go out every other week. To quote one of my favorite teachers, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

2. Worthless if not monthly

Perhaps you might think that if you don’t save routinely into the account it’s worthless. Not necessarily. If you contribute as you can it will add up over time. Although, naturally, the more you contribute, the more it could be of benefit in a time of need.

3. Funds aren’t restricted

It’s true there’s no limit on how the account is used. This can be a double-edged sword. But I prefer to think of it as a benefit. So, if life throws you a curveball and you need to dip into your dog’s savings account, you can. That’s not possible with pet insurance.

How much should I put in my pet savings account?

This will depend on how you will want to use your dog’s savings account. For example, you may want to use it to pay for all your dog’s expenses or just your dog’s medical expenses. Thus, the amount you contribute will vary.

Medical expenses

If you’re focused on covering your dog’s medical expenses then, I recommend a minimum of  $1500, which is the national average for a dog’s yearly veterinary care bills. However, you should keep in mind that dogs, much like their human parents and kids, have accidents, and the unexpected can pop up, especially as the years pass.

With this in mind, to be more comfortable with your dog savings account, aim for at least $6,000-9,500 to cover unforeseen vet emergencies. This should allow your dog’s savings account to cover the most expensive medical care that might occur. Remember you will most likely not use this amount each year. (I certainly hope not). But you can roll it over each year and continue to save into the account as you desire.

Moreover, for a more accurate estimate, you can plug in your zip code here for the cost of basic procedures in your area. However, it doesn’t pet emergency estimates, which is where the prices can escalate quickly.

Dog expenses

On the other hand, if you plan to use your dog’s savings account to pay for all your dog’s expenses, then first work your way through your dog budget and factor in your dog’s medical expenses.

Related posts:

Summary of why my dog loves his savings account

A dog’s savings account may just help save your dog’s life one day. It will at the very least give you peace of mind to know that your dog’s expenses are covered in an easy way. Thus, you can focus on your dog and not your dog’s expenses. Have fun with your dog. Enjoy life with your dog. And remove the stress of at least your dog’s medical expenses with a dog savings account. It’s simple and easy. Plus, you can use it as you desire for your dog and his or her medical needs.

a dog mom kisses her pup after learning about how a pet savings account could help her furry best friend

Do you have a pet savings account for your dog? Are you thinking about setting one up now? 

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

47 thoughts on “My Dog Loves His Pet Savings Account. Surprised?”

  1. Great tips and so important to have an emergency account for your dog plus as you said for yourself if something comes up. Layla is covered by a non profit organization where she has Medical Credit for what ever is needed vet wise so I do not have to worry, her bills are covered. Phew

    • That’s wonderful to hear that Layla’s medical care is covered. What a relief that must be for you and her, even if she may not totally get what a relief it is to have that coverage. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  2. I am familiar with the concept and always thought it was a great idea. We had one for our dog. However, once her health issues started piling up, the funds dried up quickly. All our savings were able to cover was a single CCL tear. I decided to go with insurance instead since.

    • You are absolutely correct. Depending on the medical issue, you really need to have more than you think you’ll need invested into your pet savings account. I’m really glad you were able to get pet insurance. Sometimes that’s not possible once an issue has occurred. That must’ve been a relief to have that safety net. The best of all worlds is to have pet insurance and a pet savings account. But sometimes that doesn’t work out in reality. It sounds like you did a great job finding pet insurance. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  3. I have a savings account for my dogs, but I also have insurance for them too. Vet bills are just getting more and more expensive, and, sadly, even thousands saved can go quicker than you would think. Plus I have two dogs, and I worried so much about what I would do if they ever both needed expensive medical care at, or around, the same time. I like the combo of having savings and insurance too. It gives me a lot of peace of mind that I’ll be able to handle whatever crazy bills come our way.

    • Yes, you have a great plan with the combo of pet insurance and pet savings. That’s the best option. In fact, that would be the option I’d prefer for my dog, Henry. But unfortunately, life doesn’t cooperate with desires. So, I pad his savings. I’ve even thought about other financial investments for him to compensate for the lack of pet insurance. The issue is being able to liquidity the assets quick enough if I should need them. You have me thinking about this option again though. I may research it a bit more and write on my findings. Thanks for sharing your experiences with pet savings accounts.

  4. I am sure a savings account would be useful but I can’t open nine (as of right now)!!!!!

    I can see why people would find them useful because you get the money and the interest. It is easy to forget that the cost of a vet can run into thousands so whatever you do, even a small contribution to a savings account once a month will be valuable over time.

    • Oh my, Margorie…9! That’s a pride! Or is it a litter? I’d be so worried about something happening. I suspect you have help from non-profit cat organizations in New Zealand. But if not, then I hope you have a backup safety net, just in case.

      You are correct. Even a small amount into a pet savings account will help overtime. Plus, what you don’t use, you can roll it over each year and begin saving for the next year. The pros outweigh the cons, at least for me.

  5. Such a wonderful idea! Having had a lot of surprises along the way with my five Huskies, (from epilepsy seizures, ER visits, blown CCLs on 4 two requiring immediate surgeries, the other two expensive braces), IBS, growth removal surgeries, etc.), plus the normal annual vet visits & testings and grooming, we estimate our care to be way over into the (cough-cough) hundreds of thousands…and exhausted our credit cards, but thankfully, we were a dual-income household, as I shudder to think with my retirement now due to disability, how would we have done it? And we most certainly would have for whatever they needed they got. But this – is a fantastic idea! People start a holiday or vacation account, why not a pet savings account?! Brilliant! And if it can be payroll-deducted, all the better! Will be Pinning this to share!

    • I knew this one would hit home for you, Dorothy. You have been such a great dog parent and an inspiration to so many. Just like most responsible pet parents, we turn to credit cards when the cash runs out. But a pet savings account provides a bit of a safety net. It’s not a complete catch-all. However, it’s better than a free fall without any protection. This is especially true if you can’t get pet insurance. One accident or diagnoise can cause a pet parent to go into debt quickly and rather unexpectedly.

      Thank you for your continued support. I greatly appreciate it.

  6. This is a great point! In our house, we opt for a balance of the two. We have insurance in place to cover a lot of the emergency expenses, but that doesn’t cover everything – there are deductibles, preventative care, etc. For that, we have a savings account that will take care of it for us. With 5 pets to care for, it’s SO important!

    • You’ve got a great idea with pet insurance for emergencies and pet savings for preventative and to pick up the rest of what’s not covered. That’s really the best way to look at pet savings accounts, especially if you have multiple pets like your family. However, if you can’t obtain pet insurance, then a pet savings account does provide a bit of a safety net, which will help. Thank you for sharing your valued experiences with pet savings accounts.

  7. An emergency savings account for your dog’s unexpected health emergencies is a great idea. I had no idea that a dog’s unknown breed or age could prevent you from getting pet insurance! That seems so absurd to me. There are so many “mutts”, and a dog’s age can be reliably estimated by examining their teeth.

    • I know, Cathy. It was almost a slap in the face. I was trying to do the responsible thing and you’d think I was asking to insure a male tiger. Every pet insurance company I spoke with couldn’t run fast enough or jack the price up high enough. At least I have a fall back plan.

      Thanks for the continued support!

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