How Much Does a Pet Cost?

How Much Does a Pet Cost?

10 January 2020

With an estimated 51 million pets in the UK in 2018, we really do appear to be a nation of pet lovers. Pets bring a lot of joy and companionship, from dogs and cats to fish and birds. And while you can't put a price on the happiness that comes with owning a pet, they do come at a cost.

Before you commit to getting a pet, take a look at some average costs for different animals throughout their lifetime, from food and vet's bills to toys and grooming, so you can decide on a pet that suits your lifestyle and budget. 

Pet Popularity

While 40% of UK households own a pet, obviously not everyone chooses the same type of pet. Right now, the most popular pet in the UK is the dog, with 25% of people having one. Cats are a close second, with 17% of people owning a feline companion. 

As different pets will have different costs throughout their lifetime, it is important to consider which pet will suit your lifestyle, as well as your budget.

How Much Does Your Pet Cost?

Depending on size, breed and lifespan, dog owners can expect to fork out as much as 1,200 per year on their canine pals with toys, food, veterinary care and routine medicine all things to consider. If you can afford the financial commitment, dogs can make fantastic pets. As well as having the money to devote to a pooch, you will also need to commit time and energy to devote to their exercise needs, with some dogs needing 30-120 minutes of physical activity a day.

Cat owners could be looking at over 1000 a year to care for their moggy. This includes routine health costs, food, litter, equipment, pet sitting and microchipping. And with some cats living until a ripe old age of 20 years, caring for a cat is a long-term financial commitment. On the plus side, cats are very independent animals so can make great companions for those who can?t commit to multiple walks a day, and you can usually leave them for a few hours while you go to work without feeling too guilty. 

Before you hop to it and welcome a pet bunny into your home, you may wish to know what the cute cottontails can cost on average 500 to 1000 per year to keep. While this might seem relatively inexpensive, rabbits are social creatures, so ideally need to be kept in pairs and they can live for around 8-12 years. So, you could end up forking out 24,000 in total for a pair of floppy-eared friends. 

If you're looking for a sweet and cuddly pet that's also fairly low maintenance, a hamster could be a good choice. Hamsters can cost as little as 250 per year to look after on average, including things like their food, bedding and toys. Hamsters can make great pets as they tend to take care of their own exercise needs, are super fun to play with and most importantly, they are seriously adorable! 

Cost Breakdown

Keeping a pet is a big commitment and there are several things to take into consideration before you leap headfirst into the world of pet ownership. Vet visits are one of them, which is why you may wish to consider taking out pet insurance. A pet insurance policy may cover some or all expenses incurred if a pet falls ill or has an accident depending on the type of policy and amount of cover chosen.

Other costs associated with pet ownership is food. Just like humans, pets need a balanced diet to stay healthy. Dogs, for example, require a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water in order to thrive. Big dogs require more food than smaller dogs, which may be another factor to consider when choosing your pet.

While size tends not to be a key factor with cats, they do also need a balanced diet and adequate nutrition. If your pet requires a special diet, your food bills may be higher. Other costs may include:

  • Price of pet (purchasing or rehoming fee)
  • Microchipping
  • Neutering
  • Vaccinations and booster vaccinations
  • Grooming
  • Accessories (like toys, leads, and collars)
  • Beds and cages
  • Training classes
  • Pet-sitting
  • Dog walking
  • Health (such as deworming and flea treatments

Should I Get Pet Insurance?

It may be hard to think about your precious pet getting ill or suffering an injury, but it can and does happen. The average pet insurance claim is 793, according to the ABI, but claims can run into the thousands of pounds if your pet develops an on-going condition. If you are wondering whether pet insurance is worth the cost, consider how you would deal with an unexpected vet bill. 

You need to weigh up the cost of the monthly premiums with how you will afford an unexpected vet bill. If you have an older pet or a breed susceptible to health complications, they may be more costly to insure but you are more likely to need to make a claim. 

To get an indication of how much it will cost to cover your cat or dog, why not compare pet insurance quotes today? In just a few minutes you can compare prices and benefits from a range of leading providers.


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