The true cost of owning a pet

Written by Payplan Ryan on 20 June 2012

By Rebecca Sowter Croll

When you first set eyes on that cute ball of fluff or multi-coloured reptile, long term cost may not be the first thing on your mind. It definitely was not the first thing I thought about when I bought my two poodles.

There are many factors to take in to consideration when picking the perfect pet, such as what type of animal you want, if you want to buy from a breeder or re-home from a rescue centre and lastly the breed, including the animal’s life span and size.

According to the ‘This is Money’ website, the true cost of owning a pet can be higher than you think, for example:

The average lifespan of a dog is 13 years and the typical expense adds up to £16,862

The average lifespan of a cat is 15 years and the typical expense adds up to £17,173

Figures on the Rabbit Rehome website show the average life span of a rabbit is 10 years and the typical expense is £5,180.

Given the level of expense involved in owning a pet it is worth making any savings you can. For example:

  • Try and buy food in bulk and when it is on offer.
  • When choosing collars, leads and bedding always look in the shops first to find what you want, then go online to see if you can get it cheaper.
  • Even though pet insurance is another monthly cost it is something to consider. If your pet became ill would you be able to cover the costs?
  • Reuse shredded paper from work for bedding for small pets such as hamsters or rats

Other things to consider:

Vet’s bills – think about the cost of annual injections as well as how you would face bigger bills

Do you have time to spend on basic training and regular walks if you get a dog?

Initial costs such as a bed, cage, food, injections, toys and insurance

If home furnishings get damaged be prepared to replace them on more than one occasion

Research where the nearest vet is that caters for any exotic pets

Will your pet require regular grooming or clipping?

When you go on holiday do you have a reliable friend or family member who can look after your pet? If not can you afford to pay boarding fees?

A pet will give you years of friendship and pleasure, but I hope this blog helps you to think about the cost before you lose your heart to one.

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This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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