How Fido Can Teach Your Kids About Finances

It’s been about a year and a half since our dog passed away. She gave us a lot of love for 12 good years. My wife still gets emotional talking about her even today.

So I finally broke down and got my family a new puppy. We all thought it was time.

Lucy 1

Meet Lucy. She’s a 10 week old Black Lab that is full of energy and personality! Puppies are a lot of work and a lot of fun. Getting a new pet can also be a great opportunity to teach children of all ages some timeless financial lessons.

Here are some ways a new pet can financially educate children:

Pets gotta eat. Shopping for dog food can be a great way to teach kids to comparison shop. It can be used as a lesson for buying in bulk versus small quantities. It’s a great way to show and explain how ingredients work too. So it can be a quality and price lesson as well. That way when your kids eventually do their own grocery shopping they’ll be better prepared.

Budgeting and expenses
I learned today that my first year vet bill will be $900! Yikes! All pets will need vaccinations, toys, food and water bowls and a place to stay when you are on vacation. All of this makes for great conversations about the true cost of owning a pet. Your children will learn that they have to spend more on rent, mortgages and insurance. They will learn that some things cost more than others.

We all make financial sacrifices in life for the things we want. A pet will be no different. Money for that night out may have to wait because little Lucy needs her third round of shots! Just because your children are too young to earn money doesn’t mean these financial lessons cannot be taught. Another great lesson about sacrifice might be that your kids have to babysit the pet instead of visiting with friends.

lucy 2Inflation
Our previous dog was diabetic, which is very unusual for a large breed. This added extra expense for medicine and vet check ups to monitor her health. Much like people, pets get sick and need more care as they age. So the cost of owning pet increases and inflates over time. And then there’s real inflation. The cost of care just increases over time anyway. These are real world examples that the cost of living does increase over time.

Return on investment
So what could be a possible return of investment with a pet? After dedicating time, love and energy into this new pet, your children will start to see the payoff of being responsible. They will see the benefit of taking care of something else. Show them that they receive a “return” of love, companionship, and yes, entertainment from this pet.

Final thoughts
I am not saying you rush out and buy a new pooch just to teach your children money lessons. A pet is a big responsibility and a lot of work. But if you planning on a new pet soon, these are some great money lessons to teach during the journey of pet ownership. The lessons they learn will help them save and spend money with greater education.

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