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Doggone it

Doggone it

“Making sure you can afford to keep a pet should be seriously considered before getting one. Since COVID, with many people working from home, many people have asked to claim things like doggy day-care on their tax returns as they find it difficult to work with their pets around.

Taxation expert Debra Anderson. 

“No expenses relating to your family pet are claimable on tax regardless of how much to need your dog to be quiet during Zoom meetings or presentations.”

Anderson who is also the author of Taking Care of Small Business: Your guide to understanding and taking control of your business says working animals (who are not pets) do fall into a different category however, and you may be able to claim deductions for keeping a working animal without the AT0 sending you to the doghouse.

“Whether your animal is tax deductible comes down to actual circumstances and you should discuss your circumstances with your registered tax agent.

Not revenue neuter-al

And they can be expensive, says Greg Mattes, general manager of Potiki, when nothing but a simple ear infection for a hound dog can potentially set you back over $10,000 worth of scratch.

Greg Mattes, general manager of Potiki. Potiki

“Many potential pet owners who have not owned a pet before or may have been a pet owner a long time ago, often underestimate the cost of owning a dog or cat,” says Mattes.

“There are two components to pet ownership. The first one is the initial cost. This may include the adoption fee or cost of the pet plus any other items for a dog such as a dog bed, toys, a leash, and a collar among other things you need for your dog.

“For a cat you would be looking at the cost of a scratching post, litterbox, cat bed/basket, and toys. In both cases, microchipping and neutering also need to be considered.”

The second component is the ongoing costs such as the cost of treatment to prevent ticks and parasites, food, pet treats, training sessions, kennels, dog or cat sitter, grooming, health checks, vaccinations, pet insurance and unexpected vet bills dishing out more pain.

“Every pet brings different financial implications depending on its size, age, and health status. Veterinary care can be significant, even if it is a once off lump sum or the possibility of ongoing care due to a chronic condition.”

So how can we avoid bill shock when they’re crook or at least smooth out some of the pet ownership bite?

“Where available, I use instalments or pay-as-you-go options to pay costs. For example, pet insurance I pay on a fortnightly basis,” says tax expert Anderson.

Mattes says: “The best way to avoid bill shock is to be prepared for it.”

“This can be done in one of two ways. You can either decide to self-fund and put money in a savings account each month to prepare for an unexpected event or you could get a pet insurance policy. ”

“Self-funding can work out well provided the following two things occur; nothing goes wrong in the first few years of pet ownership since your savings may be too small to cover a lager bill and secondly You do not have two or more health scares that occur close to each other as your savings would have already been used to cover the first bill.

“Pet insurance does solve the above risks provided you are out the waiting period and as long as the condition you are claiming for is not a pre-existing one.”

Your ticker’s best friend

The best way to integrate pet costs into our lives is to become aware of what these costs are, he says.

“Research goes a long way and there is a considerable amount of online content relating to different dog and cat breeds, which go through breed specific conditions and common claims relating to certain breeds.

The Animal Medicines Australia Pets and the Pandemic research publication outlined that pet owners can expect to spend on average $1858 on dog food and $1493 on cat food a year.

“With $617 and $717 for dogs and cats respectively on vet bills and $411 to $356 on pet healthcare products (such as tick and flea treatments or deworming treatments) respectively. The total average spend per household for their dogs and cats was $4422 and $3356 per annum,” says Mattes.

So why go to all this trouble?

“According to many studies on pet owners and health outcomes, dog and cat owners were less likely than non-pet owners to experience congestive heart failure, obesity, and arthritis,” says Mattes, whose company provides protection, support and prevention at no additional cost with their offer.

“Dog owners who take daily walks with their dogs can enjoy the additional benefit of having a workout buddy.”

According to a DePaul University study, being a pet owner can encourage social interaction.

“This can be a huge benefit for single people, stay at home workers or those who are retired or simply spend a lot of time home alone.”

Potiki was founded by Australian insurance veteran Sanjeev Gupta and pharmaceutical veteran Mohit Gupta, and is run by pet insurance veteran Greg Mattes. Potiki is the 2022 Winner of Mozo’s Expert Rated Awards for Exceptional Value and Exceptional Quality Pet Insurance categories. Potiki’s policy offers $599 value back, at no additional cost, each year in essential wellness products like tick and flea treatment as part of your policy purchase.

Find out more about how Potiki can help you here.

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