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Ask Dave

Separate emergency fund?

Is a separate emergency fund for pets a good idea?

QUESTION: Scott would like to get a dog after he becomes debt-free and has his emergency fund in place. He asks Dave if it’s a good idea to have a separate emergency fund for pets. Dave loves animals, but he doesn’t think this is necessary.

ANSWER: No, I think your regular emergency fund of three to six months of expenses will cover you and your pet.

My wife and I love animals. We’ve had a least one dog the whole time we’ve been married. You go through some expense as a pet owner, along with happy, wonderful times and heartbreaking things, too. We lost our golden retriever recently, and I can tell you that was really hard on everyone. You love them like they’re family, but you still have to use common sense sometimes, and remember that they’re animals and not human beings. Part of that includes spending reasonable amounts of money on them.

What is a reasonable amount? That depends on how stable you are financially. It’s really a ratio question of expense to means. But no, I wouldn’t recommend a second emergency fund just for pets.