According to a 2018 study called The Future of Pet Ownership’ by More Than, the lifetime cost of owning a cat starts at £12,000, but could be double, and the cost for dogs is anywhere from £6500 to £17000 depending on the size of the dog.
As the saying goes ‘a dog is for life, not just Christmas’ and as well as being a personal commitment, it is also a financial commitment. A pet really does become a part of the family needing care every single day as well as needing many things paid for.
The study goes on to show the average spend on a dog per month is £240 and on a cat is £100. This does include dog walking and grooming costs, which of course you may be able to do yourself, as well as treats and toys on a monthly basis which could also be reduced or removed altogether. Regardless, pets do come with a lot of expenses that you need to consider. They need food, entertainment and healthcare just as we do.
Pet ownership costs to consider
In this blog post I will share with you some of the costs involved when considering a pet such as a cat or a dog. You should always make sure you are in a financially sound situation before buying a new pet for your household.
Adoption or purchase price
The first cost to think about is the price of the pet itself. If you purchase a puppy or kitten from a breeder then you will most likely need to pay a price as they are running a business. Sometimes you can get a pet for free if a friend’s pet has had puppies or kittens and they simply want to rehome them to loving homes without looking for any profit. Another option is to adopt a pet that has been abandoned or can no longer be cared for by its original owners. You will usually pay a small fee to cover costs such as vaccinations and perhaps a donation to the animal shelter.
It’s definitely worthwhile taking out pet insurance so you are not lumbered with high vet bills if your pet gets seriously ill or is involved in an accident and needs medical attention. If your pet needs emergency treatment then this should be covered by your insurance policy. You should be able to arrange this via your vets and with your insurance to cover the costs. If your pet has a condition and needs ongoing medical attention then the costs will vary depending on the pet’s age and health condition at the start of the insurance policy.
You need to think about caring for your pets dental health, staying up-to-date with vaccinations and making sure you use worming and flea treatments regularly to prevent any health problems. Whilst some costs may be covered by your pet insurance provider, there are other more routine things that you’ll need to fund yourself.
There’s also the chance that your pet already has an existing medical condition or may develop one that requires special equipment to be purchased so you can care for them properly at home. If your pet develops an ongoing medical condition such as respiratory problems, for example, then you may need to provide pet oxygen therapy at home. Some of these costs could be covered by insurance, but you may need to buy some equipment such as oxygen masks, canisters and even an ICU cage, especially if you need to transport your pet whilst giving oxygen.
If your animal is in respiratory distress then you can use the portable oxygen therapy in your own home or in the car whilst taking your pet to the vet. Pet oxygen can be life-saving for your pet. Knowing you have such equipment to hand can also ease your anxiousness as a pet owner as you can provide assistance to your pet in an emergency. Your vet will show you exactly what to do and will prescribe the right amount of oxygen your pet needs. Oxygen therapy can enable your sick pet to recover quicker from illness or lead a more normal life even with their illness.
The above is just an example of a medical condition your pet could have. Taking care of your pets’ health is very important and of course there will be some costs involved, so consider this before committing to a pet.
If you don’t want your pets to be able to reproduce then you’ll need to arrange for them to be neutered which means to removal their reproductive organs.
Long hair and fluffy animals may require grooming from a specialist if you can’t manage it yourself. Short hair animals should be easier to look after. They’ll also need their nails trimmed which again, you may be able to do yourself. If you can’t groom your pet yourself then this could be a monthly expense to go to a parlour to stay on top of it.
Dog food can cost around £200 to £400 per year according to Money Advice Service, but it will depend on the quality of food you buy and the size of the dog. Buying a premium brand with more meat and nutrition will cost more, but is better for your dog. Cheaper dog foods are often bulked out with unnecessary fillers. There’s no doubt that you’ll want to buy your dog’s treats occasionally too! It's best to budget for high quality organic food and all-natural pet treats.
Dogs get bored, especially if they’re at home all day, so they’ll want toys to play with. Kittens and puppies are playful and have bounds of energy to burn, just like toddlers, so they’ll especially want entertaining with fun toys whilst young. These toys will need replacing once broken or chewed through!
Dog walking costs
If you’re at work all day then you’ll need to pay a dog walker to take your dog for their daily walks.
Holiday care costs
When you’re away on holiday and you can’t take your dog, or you have a different type of pet, then you’ll either need to pay for a pet sitter to visit your home and provide daily care, or you’ll need to pay for a kennels where your pets can stay.
Your dog will need a bed, a lead and perhaps even a carrier for transportation to kennels or vet appointments.
If your pet suffers with behavioural problems or if you’re new to owning a dog and have no idea how to train it, then you may consider some professional trainer sessions.
It’s now the law to have all dogs microchipped in the UK. This will cost around £20. If you don’t do it then you’ll risk a fine of up to £500.
If you want to take your pet on holiday with you, abroad, then you’ll need a pet passport, possible extra vaccinations and extra insurance cover.
And finally, unfortunately pets have much shorter lifespans than us and the time will come to say goodbye. If your pet gets really ill and/or old then you may decide (or have to) put them down. You may also wish to cremate your pet. These can be done at the vets, but you may need to pay for them unless your insurance specifically covers pet euthanasia, cremation and burial. You may be able to add this on to your pet insurance as an extra for when the time comes.
Phew! I think that covers just about everything. These are the costs to consider when thinking about getting a pet. A pet is an emotional, physical and financial commitment so it’s important to ensure you can afford a pet before committing.
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Photos are from Canva.