In the UK, pet ownership is incredibly common. Around a quarter of UK adults own a dog, and the same goes for cats, with these numbers remaining more or less stable for years.
Despite this, the true costs of bringing a small animal into your home might not be quite as clear. Many of the expenses aren’t widely discussed, even by those who are familiar with them. As such, it’s worth spelling out exactly which costs are involved, so that would-be pet owners can make the decision in full awareness of how much money they’re going to be spending.
Many animals will require frequent grooming. Some breeds of cat might be able to handle this themselves. Others might require human intervention, which can quickly get expensive.
Breeds with large, fluffy coats, like Samoyed dogs and Persian cats, are at risk of having nasty parasites settle in. Frequent washing and brushing is therefore critical. The same applies to claws, which can pose health risks if left untrimmed.
Whilst washing and brushing can be done at home by the owner, more intricate jobs may need to be taken on by a professional groomer. When choosing your groomer it’s important to properly research what’s available in your area and check the qualifications of any groomers you’re planning to visit. If your pet is particularly anxious around others it may be worthwhile looking into independent groomers rather than a chain as while it may be slightly more expensive, your pet is more likely to get a tailored individual experience which will help them stay relaxed and comfortable throughout the process.
To lead a full, enriching life, pets will need to be presented with a few key toys. In practice, a dog will happily chew through dozens of toys, if you’re not prepared to spend extra on something more substantial. Scratching posts can be a great option for cat owners who would prefer to keep their furniture free of claw marks.
This doesn’t mean pet toys have to cost you a huge amount, there are several home items you can repurpose safely into a fun activity, whether it be tennis balls for your dog or having a yard of string just for your car. You can also cut costs here by simply shopping around and keeping an eye on any promotions. If you’re eligible, an NHS Argos discount code could help you save on these purchases.
If you own a pet, then the hassle involved with going on holiday might be slightly more. You might arrange for a neighbour to drop by and feed an outdoor cat – but housebound cats and dogs will need to be taken to a kennel or cattery, or be looked after by a full-time sitter. This means spending a bit of money!
When choosing what holiday care best suits you, think not only about the price but the general disposition of your pet. Sociable, laidback animals might have a great time in a kennel where they’re able to interact with others whilst anxious or more particular pets may be better suited to a full-time sitter who can allow them to stick to their usual routine in the comfort of their own home. Whilst full-time sitters are usually more expensive due to the individualised nature of care, you do have the added bonus of knowing someone is also taking care of your home and you won’t be returning to any nasty surprises!
The cost of medicine can be considerable. Health insurance is advisable since an unexpectedly large medical bill can put you at risk of facing a heartbreaking decision. If you haven’t planned for the cost of your premiums, then you might be surprised at how much they come in at.
It’s advisable to take out pet insurance as soon as you get your pet, rather than waiting until a problem arises, as it often costs less the younger they are and having the insurance there ready to use can be a great anxiety relief. Different breeds are susceptible to different issues so it’s worth consulting with a vet about any extras it’s worthwhile opting in for, to make sure you’re completely covered should an accident occur.
Finally, we should mention the fact that pets need to be fed. The larger the pet, the greater its appetite will tend to be. Don’t invest in a Great Dane if you don’t have the funds to feed it a full, healthy diet. If you cut corners and feed your dog or cat a poor-quality diet, then you’re putting them at risk of health problems later on.