Going to a shelter and picking out a cat or dog for your home might just be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. What you’re doing is setting yourself up for unconditional love. All they ask in return is to fed them, give them a space to do their business and frequent snuggling. There will be expenses for pet ownership. You’ll be paying for food and grooming but there might be other expenses that you’re not prepared for. Consider these ways to avoid surprise costs for owning a pet:

Get Pet Insurance

Just as your health insurance steps in to cover medical expenses for the family, there are pet insurance policies that can help with your pet’s medical emergencies and conditions. Policies can start as low as $25 per month and go as high as $50, depending on where you live and the age of the pet. Pet insurance can cover a wide range of costs and bring piece of mind… just like regular insurance.

Start a Pet Emergency Fund

Costs for pet medical care are nowhere near as expensive as with humans but they can still run up some bills quickly that get to be several thousand dollars. What would you do if you didn’t have the money for a treatment? Don’t put yourself in that position. Instead, start saving for a pet emergency fund. Build up that account and if you don’t use it, then great. But even getting close to $500 will help defray costs.

Make Your Home Safe

You baby-proof a home to make it safe for the newborns. Pets need the same kind of safety measures. That begins in the kitchen. Don’t leave food out on counters that can cause tummy problems like chocolate. If your pets go outside, then you want to make sure they have a secure yard to play in. That might be hard with an outdoor cat and that is something else to think about. Outdoor cats increase the risk of injuries. Will you be prepared for that?