I have had a dog for a decade, and I don't think I have ever once taken her into account when planning my budget. Oops. The 2011–2012 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey
found that dog owners paid roughly $407 and cat owners $425 last year for surgical vet visits per pet—and that's on top of routine visits, which ran on average $248 for dogs and $219 for cats. Pet expert Sandy Robins
has some advice on how to deal, since not even pet insurance covers everything. Robins told me, "Consider initiating a special savings plan for your pet at a bank of your choice and deposit a fixed amount every month." This way, you'll be prepared financially (even if not quite emotionally) when that awful unexpected vet cost slams you.