There is no doubt that owning a pet is a big commitment both in terms of finances and the time required to make sure you meet your pet’s welfare needs. It’s easy to get carried away with the idea of taking on a cute, fluffy puppy, especially if the kids are piling on the pressure to come up with the goods.
But before making the decision to trot down to your local dog rehoming centre or shell out a considerable amount on a pedigree puppy from a reputable breeder, read on to find out what the financial implications of pet ownership really are.
The initial outlay for your new dog includes food, bowls, bedding, toys and, of course, a collar and lead. A collar and ID tag for your pet is a legal requirement so make sure you invest in quality materials in the correct size. To save money on these items initially, start your shopping on ebay.co.uk as you’re bound to find accessories among the listings to suit your individual pet’s needs perfectly.
But you will also need to think a lot further ahead than just the immediate products: small dog breeds will live longest, and often reach more than 11 years of age. Larger and giant breeds, such as Great Danes, are considered elderly at 6-8 years of age, according to pets.webmd.com, but whichever you choose, neither comes cheap.
So, while you will enjoy the huge benefits pet ownership can bring – including reduced blood pressure, stress relief and social contact while out walking your faithful friend – lifetime commitment to a dog will set you back an estimated £17,000. This equates to more than £1,100 per year.
Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has a range of factsheets and information on its site to download, which act as a reminder of all the ‘extra’ costs that will come up during the lifetime of your canine companion.
While dogs are generally thought of as more of a drain on your monthly income, cats don’t weigh in as much cheaper. The estimated annual cost of a feline friend is suggested to be around £1,000. Cats, however, have a longer life expectancy than dogs – averaging 15 years and rising, pushing up the lifetime cost.
Our lovely old dog’s fancy heart meds and water tablets cost £90 a month!
Pet insurance is highly recommended for both dogs and cats – while it is a fixed monthly outgoing, you never know when your pet may become ill or injured, and vets’ bills do not come cheap. It also offers peace of mind in that, should your beloved companion fall ill, the majority of costs will be covered and you will not be bankrupt as a result.
Vaccinations and other routine preventive treatments – such as flea and worm medications – must be factored in on a regular basis to keep you and your home healthy, as well as the pet itself.
You may be able to keep on top of your dog’s grooming needs, but many people find it is better to visit an expert groomer to clip, wash and trim your dog’s coat and claws, which will need to be done every few months, depending on the type of dog and the time of year.
And don’t forget if you’re heading off on holiday you’ll need to either invest in a pet passport for pooch (and the associate visits to the vet for tests and treatments) or arrange for him to go into kennels.
Cats do not travel well on the whole, so a trip to the boarding cattery is often the best way of keeping them safe when you’re away. Personal experience has shown that to board 2 cats together for a fortnight costs around £180 – a significant chunk out of your spending money if you haven’t budgeted for this ‘little extra’!